By the end of the month, ORACLE TEAM USA expects to have tested and launched the first of its two AC72 wingsail catamarans planned for the defense of the 2013 America’s Cup. The extreme performance sailboat is the creation of ORACLE TEAM USA’s design, engineering and build teams. The team is currently busy preparing for the first event of the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series, scheduled Aug. 21-26 in San Francisco, but as soon as that event ends the focus shifts to the AC72. Weather conditions will set the agenda for the week Aug. 27. Day 1 will see boat in the water for structural load-testing and systems checks on design features such as the steering system, daggerboard and controls for the towering 130-foot (40-meter) tall wingsail – vital given the extreme power-to-weight ratio of the new AC72 class.
If all signed-off by the engineers and boatbuilders, Day 2 will be the yacht’s first scheduled sail on San Francisco Bay. It will become the first AC72 to sail on the waters of the host city. “I can’t wait to see the new boat in the water,” said team skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The boat looks pretty cool in the building shop. The first sail will be a very special moment for the entire team.”
“It’s been a challenge to get to this point because we’re dealing with a completely new design rule,” said Kramers, a multihull aficionado. “With the AC72, we’re exploring new boundaries in many regards.” The hulls of the new yacht were built at the team base at Pier 80, as per the America’s Cup rules. But many of the other components, such as the wingsail and crossbeams, were built at Core Builders Composites in New Zealand.
“Building a boat is not just about skill, it requires innovation and dedication to achieve new levels of precision and, therefore, boatspeed,” said Construction & Shore Manager Mark Turner. “Every one of the builders has invested a bit of their life into this boat.”
The AC72 Rule is a new design rule created specifically for the 34th America’s Cup next year. The rule sets tight limits on design parameters such as length, width, weight and sail area. It is the first new design rule for the America’s Cup since the America’s Cup Class Rule was created in the late 1980s.