Ben Ainslie Racing has launched their foiling AC45, tow testing it for the first time on Saturday, 18 October. This modified AC45 will be used to test design ideas for their race boat for the 2017 America’s Cup.
The Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup allows the teams to test anything they want using boats with the same lower hull shape as an AC45. A modified AC45 cannot be used for racing in the America’s Cup World Series, so BAR will buy a new “class legal” AC45 for that racing. The America’s Cup teams have agreed to change the AC45 Class Rule to enable foiling, but it is not yet known whether these changes will be implemented for the one design AC45’s that will race in the 2015 ACWS races, or whether the changes will only be made in 2016.
Current plans call for racing 62 foot long AC62 catamarans in the America’s Cup, but the competitors have been discussing the possibility of moving to smaller boats.