AC72 design

James Boyd Photography /
Emirates Team New Zealand Technical Director Nick Holroyd looks at the fearsome new Cup catamarans
One of the most illustrious posts in yachting is running the design team for Emirates Team New Zealand, a role previously filled by revered figures such as Tom Schnackenberg and Andy Claughton. Today Technical Director for the Kiwi team is Nick Holroyd, although he is far from being a new boy, having joined the team in 1997 in the build-up to the Team New Zealand’s successful 2000 defence, continuing with the team in their 2003 and 2007 America’s Cup campaigns before working on the all-conquering Emirates Team New Zealand TP52 and their less all-conquering Camper VO70. For their AC72, the Emirates Team New Zealand design team is something of an all-star cast including Guillaume Verdier and his team, Gino Morrelli and Pete Melvin in California and Canadian C-Class designer Steve Killing, along with the likes of VPP expert Dan Bernisconi formerly with Alinghi and Head of Vehicle Dynamics at McLaren F1. However since for the 34th America’s Cup is entering a new realm with wingsail catamarans, much new blood has been required. So the Kiwi design team now includes for example Hal Youngren who wrote aerodynamic prediction software for Skunkworks and was involved in the Stealth fighter program and now does a lot of wing section optimisation for the team. The new AC72 will be something. Holroyd says the weight of the platform of the Kiwi AC72 will be around 4.5 tonnes, but structurally it is complex with two hulls having to be joined by cross beams and presumably some sort of fore and aft structure running down the centreline including the bowsprit and to maintain fore and aft stiffness. “In terms of the really detailed composite engineering, there’s about three times as much composite work in the structure [compared to a V5 boat],” Holroyd says. “There are obviously two hulls instead of