The America's Cup, the oldest trophy in international sport, has been contested over a period of 160 years and until recently, was always done so in monohull sailing yachts. Following a flirtation with larger multi-hull yachts over the past seven years, the Cup is returning to its roots for the 36th installment and we've just gotten our first look at what this next generation of monohull racers might look like.
Defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand got together with challenger Luna Rossa over a period of four months to look at a variety of monohull concepts for their upcoming tussle. The pair has revealed the AC75 concept this week, which outlines the class of boat to be sailed in the upcoming America's Cup, taking place in Auckland over 2020-2021.
The boat will use twin canting T-foils, one of which is lowered beneath the surface to lift the hull out of the water and the other sticking out sideways to keep it balanced and cut down on drag. That's in normal sailing mode, but during pre-starts, maneuvers and when negotiating rough sea conditions, both can be lowered for extra stability.
Emirates Team New Zealand says this will make for great match racing, but also better safety. Because the T-foils are ballasted, the boat is able to right itself in the event of a capsize and benefits from better roll stability at low speeds. In the shed and at the dock, both foils rest directly beneath the hull in a way that provides stability and enables the yacht to slot into a standard marina berth.
Looking beyond the America's Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are looking at ways this innovating foiling system can be adapted to other sailing classes and yachts. They also say that according to early simulations, the AC75 could outperform the AC50 catamarans featured in recent events.
"We are really proud to present the concept of the AC75 today," says Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand. "It has been a phenomenal effort by Dan and the guys together with Luna Rossa design team and there is a lot of excitement building around the boat in the development and getting to this point. Our analysis of the performance of the foiling monohulls tells us that once the boat is up and foiling, the boat has the potential to be faster than an AC50 both upwind and downwind. Auckland is in for a highly competitive summer of racing in 2020 / 2021."