Organisers of the 35th America's Cup have confirmed that the new class of yacht for that event will indeed be the AC62 foil-borne catamaran.
The AC62 is 10 feet shorter than its predecessor, the AC72, but is expected to be just as fast and challenging to race for the crews, and will produce the same heart-pounding action for spectators.
“This new boat is going to be significantly lighter and under much less load than what we raced last time, which makes for a big cost-saving when it comes to how it gets built,” said Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “At the same time, as designers, boat-builders, and sailors, we’re all starting to come to grips with how to get the most out of foiling, wing-sailed multihulls, so I think we’ll see similar, if not greater performance this time around.”
In the last America’s Cup, boat speeds approached 50 knots at times as the catamarans were lifted clean out of the water on their foils. This time the mandate was to get similar performance from a slightly smaller boat, but one that would be significantly less expensive to design, build and campaign. Initial calculations by the designers have the cost of the AC62 at about half that of the AC72.
Pete Melvin, a designer with Emirates Team New Zealand in the last America’s Cup, and his firm Morrelli and Melvin, were commissioned by Oracle Team USA (the Defender) and Team Australia (the Challenger of Record) to oversee the writing of the AC62 class rule.
“Writing this rule has been a very collaborative process, with designers associated with several teams helping out. We also had great assistance from Nick Nicholson, the Chief Measurer from the last America’s Cup,” Melvin said. “Since we circulated the draft rule, prospective teams have also given constructive comments that we’ve been able to take on board.”
The AC62s will be crewed by eight sailors (down from 11) and teams aren’t permitted to begin sailing in their AC62s until approximately five months before racing starts in the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017.
“I think it’s going to be hard to wait until then,” Spithill said. “It just looks like it’s going to be a great boat to race. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on it!”
Read the full AC62 rule here