Within a week of launching their development AC45, America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA was foil gybing on San Francisco Bay and hitting speeds over 45 knots. Tom Slingsby has been on the helm while Jimmy Spithill recovers from elbow surgery. Slingsby reported enthusiastically, “Pretty awesome day steering this beast of a boat. Training with my mates in SF. Top speed of 45.8knots today…. In a 45ft cat…”
As I explained here and here, this boat will not race in the America’s Cup World Series – it is purely a development boat for testing design ideas for the AC62 catamaran that will race in the America’s Cup in 2017.
Thanks to John Navas for this video. Watch the foiling gybe at 0:15. See more of John’s videos here.
Designers Will Play Leapfrog in the Lead-up to the America’s Cup
Remember that Ben Ainslie Racing showed a foil gybe in this video, shot last November, on their sixth day sailing their test AC45. BAR and Luna Rossa have so far kept the standard AC45 hulls and crossbeams and tiller steering, while adding foiling packages. Oracle and Artemis Racing have launched almost completely new boats – scaled down AC62’s – with wider crossbeams, cockpits, grinding pedestals and wheel steering. Oracle has also installed dramatically more sophisticated control systems for the boards, rudders and the wing. We’ll see a lot more development between now and the launch of the AC62’s in September 2016 and the America’s Cup in June 2017.