The latest Alinghi unveiled at last


 
On Friday the Daily Sail got to see the new monster catamaran in her tent at Villeneuve
Finally the months of conjecture are mostly over. Yesterday we made it up to Villeneuve, Switzerland to get the long awaited first glimpse of Alinghi’s radical new AC33 defender. In very general terms the boat we saw is what we expected - a scaled-up D35. But while the D35 tries to be effectively a trimaran without a centre hull, the new Alinghi goes substantially further down this concept route with a catamaran that is 90ft long, but we suspect is 70-80ft wide (our colleagues think she is more or less square - we are uncertain having only had to opportunity to get a perspective from the bow). So why an ultra wide catamaran? How much sail a monohull can carry in a particular wind strength is determined by bulb weight, draft and to some extent by beam. For multihulls without keels, righting moment is achieved principally by the extent of the beam and this is one reason why in the past trimarans have typically been faster than catamarans - very simply, they are wider. With trimarans the main hull is structurally useful for supporting the cross beams, handling fore and aft rig loads and stepping the mast and being a convenient place to mount a daggerboard, however, when sailing, the hull itself represents unnecessary hydrodynamic drag and weight; two items fundamental in making a multihull go quick. So in theory if you could remove that centre hull, but keep the rest the same… The D35s are a half way house towards this goal, having a centre hull, more of a fore and aft strut, out of the water, but strong enough to enable the forestay to be cranked up – an idea, to give credit where credit is due, first tried on Nick Keig’s Derek Kelsall-designed VSD cat back in the

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