America’s Cup: Upcoming reveal of AC40

When the AC37 Protocol was released, the authors noted how cost reduction was a key consideration. Among the efforts to achieve that goal was how teams were only permitted to build one new AC75, but a smaller yacht was to be developed by the defender for teams to use for testing, component development, and training.

“We didn’t hold back on the design,” explained Dan Bernasconi, Chief Designer of Emirates Team New Zealand. “We took the IP of Te Rehutai (the Cup winning boat from AC36) and translated it into the best 40-footer we could create.”

Mostly built at the McConaghy factory in China, the first foiling AC40 monohull is just weeks away from being shipped to defender’s base in Auckland for sea trials

“It’s a step on in terms of hull form from the Cup winning design of Te Rehutai,” said Richard Meacham, who has overseen the project. “(The AC40) adheres to all the fundamental rule changes implemented for the AC75s and we’re looking at performance estimates way in excess of our training boat, Te Kahu, or any of the other teams’ test mules that they ran in the lead up to AC36.”

While the AC40s are to be a testing platform for the teams, there are strict parameters and cost reduction measures with stipulation. This includes a maximum of four custom foil wings and four custom flaps, plus ten custom jibs and four mainsails are permitted to be built. Teams will also be allowed to build just one custom mast in addition to the two-piece supplied as standard.

Down below, the auto-pilot controls the ride height only and can be manipulated, holding the wing at a certain set point below the water. If the teams want to change the pitch angle or trim differently for conditions, then there needs to be manual intervention whilst all foil cant operations during the high-speed maneuvers are controlled by direct input from the crew.

“One of the guiding principles of both the AC40 and AC75 projects is that they must be sailed, trimmed and set by the crew,” noted Bernasconi. “Top speeds of the AC40’s will be well into the forty-knot mark plus they will be optimized to fly faster and sooner in light airs – the same as with the AC75s.”

With the first AC40 boat due to be sailing in the next few months and throughout the New Zealand summer, the subsequent AC40s will be rolling off the production line for the main teams in quick succession, the coming months.

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