Design supremo

The Daily Sail spoke to Alinghi's design co-ordinator and America's Cup veteran Grant Simmer about why SUI64 proved so fast
Grant Simmer was design co-ordinator for Alinghi, overseeing every aspect of the highly complex and refined process that it takes to create an America's Cup Class yacht. A 47 year old Australian, Simmer was part of the Australia II team in 1983 and has been integral to all Australia's AC challenges since Alan Bond's famous wing keeler and was with America True in 2000. Until signing on with Alinghi in 2000 he ran North Sails Australia. Alinghi was the fastest ACC yacht in Auckland and although getting the very secret specifics of why this was the case is impossible the mild mannered Australian provided The Daily Sail with some insight. Simmer says that for the 2000 Cup most boats were an evolution of Team New Zealand's San Diego winner NZL32, with differences in their beam and sectional shape. "Then Laurie Davidson made the double knuckle bow which is a way of making the boat look longer. This time round we were the first with the Laurie bow to push more volume into the front of the boat." They increased this further prior to the AC (see photos of the unveiling here) "Getting the optimum beam has been important," continues Simmer. "OneWorld and Team New Zealand were beamier than the other challengers, although we were close. Reduction of flair in the topsides is a trend that all designers have been following. When the boat heels, it sinks and gets longer with less flair in the topsides. So now the boats are extremely narrow with slab sides, quite ugly to look at, but very good boats upwind." Regarding NZL82, Simmer says the team were worried about it (in our interview with him , Rolf Vrolijk said that they had been testing hulas - Alinghi called them J-Los - on their second boat, SUI75). "The