Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour showcased a glimpse into the future of the America’s Cup with the debut of the wing-sailed AC45 catamaran. The forerunner to the next generation of America’s Cup boats, the AC45 made its maiden voyage, the first of many sea trials planned over the coming weeks.
“Thanks to the efficiency of the New Zealand boat building industry and a huge effort by our team, the first AC45 is now ready for sea trials just a mere four months after this exciting new multihull class was first conceptualized,” said Tim Smyth, co-construction manager for Core Builders Composites of Warkworth, New Zealand.
The AC45 will be the centerpiece of the 2011-2012 America’s Cup World Series, which will start mid-2011. The high-tech carbon fiber catamaran is the first in a fleet of the new 45-foot one-designs that will be tested by America’s Cup teams before racing on the America’s Cup World Series circuit.
The AC45 is an essential element of the vision for the 34th America’s Cup, which will feature 72-foot catamarans raced on San Francisco Bay in 2013. Focused on creating more on-the-water excitement for both the teams and the fans, the AC45 is designed for both speed and close racing. While capable of closing speeds of up to 30 knots, the AC45 was designed to remain nimble enough to handle the tight race courses planned by America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM).
“The biggest challenge with multihulls is learning how much to anticipate. With the AC45 being a big, powerful multihull capable of tripling the wind speed, your reactions and skills are accelerated. It’s all about being ahead of the cycle,” said ORACLE RACING skipper James Spithill. “I think the AC45 will enable all teams to advance to hard-core race mentality very quickly.”
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