A few questions
ACEA announced this week that all six America’s Cup teams have agreed to a project to modify the AC45 catamarans for foiling in the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS). When will racing in foilers begin? Will the foiling AC45’s be one design? What wind speed will be needed to foil an AC45? Will the Youth America’s Cup be raced in foiling AC45’s?
Not news: foiling AC45’s in America’s Cup World Series
The Protocol already provided for the possibility of changing the AC45 Class Rule and moving to foiling in 2016. At the 9 September press conference Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena expressed his wish to move to foiling for all AC World Series racing. Three teams, Luna Rossa, Artemis Racing and Oracle Team USA have already modified AC45’s for foiling. Each team has made the modifications differently. The trick is to keep the AC45 a one design class and avoid an arms race in AC45 development. This means the AC 45 Class Rule needs to be changed and the boats used for racing must all be modified by the builder, Core Composites. At least six AC45’s – one for each competitor – will need to be modified by Core Composites. The question is when – before any racing begins, or part way through the series?
News: agreement to continue the ACWS in 2018
The big news this week was getting all six teams to agree to continue the America’s Cup World Series in foiling AC45’s in 2018, regardless of who wins the America’s Cup. Read more.
AC45’s for racing and AC45’s for development
America’s Cup World Series racing will take place in one design AC45’s, with standard hulls, crossbeams, daggerboards, rudders, rigging and wings. Just as the AC45 already has a standard wing extension for light air, perhaps we will see two different daggerboard shapes – one for foiling conditions and another for displacement mode in light air, or for the Youth America’s Cup. Each team will need at least one “class legal” AC45 for racing and for their youth team.
For development, the teams will continue modifying other AC45’s to test ideas for their AC62. Until the AC62’s are launched around September 2016, we may see a lot of interesting AC45 development, as these photos show.
Keeping costs down??
The Protocol strictly limits the number of daggerboards and wings a team can build for their AC62, but allows an unlimited number of daggerboards and wings on their development AC45’s. In fact, as long as the lower part of the hulls is the same shape as an AC45, they can build anything they want to test – a boat with wider beam, aerodynamic crossbeams, cockpits and grinding stations, daggerboard and rudder rake controls, you name it.
Different boards for foiling and for displacement mode?
You can be sure all the teams will test a number of daggerboard shapes. Depending on which venue is chosen for the America’s Cup Match, teams may need different sets of daggerboards for their AC62 – one set for foiling in moderate to strong wind and another, lower drag set, for displacement mode in light air. Remember how time ran out on Emirates Team New Zealand in Race 13 last September? The wind was at times barely strong enough to fly a hull, let alone foil. Might they have finished within the time limit if they had used lower drag, non-foiling boards?
We’ll probably see daggerboards optimized for stable foiling on the one design AC45’s. But the teams will test a wide range of shapes on their development AC45’s.
If you like the details, keep reading…
The current AC45 Class Rule does not allow wind instrumentation, navigation electronics, hydraulic controls or anything else not on a standard AC45.
Photos and more info about AC45 test boats and surrogates here.
Questions? Ask Jack
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