AC72 Class Brief

AC72 class Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

Full 2013 order book for Southern Spars

May 23, 2013

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The 2013 order book of Southern Spars is full of projects, including four America’s Cup AC72 wing sails, up to ten Volvo 65’ One Design rigs, multiple superyacht rigs, as well as a new era of Grand Prix racing rigs. All of these demonstrate that Southern Spars is leading the way with design, technology and manufacturing of composite spars and rigging.

One of the 2013 Southern Spars projects - WallyCento superyacht Magic Carpet 3 - Photo by J. Renedo

One of the 2013 Southern Spars projects - WallyCento superyacht Magic Carpet 3 - Photo by J. Renedo

“This year we’ve been busy producing the AC72 wings for Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge,” says Richard Lott, Southern Spars’ managing director. “At present, the Volvo 65’ One Design rigs and numerous superyacht projects ranging from 30 to 90 metres are moving through our Custom Projects facility in Auckland, New Zealand.”

Lott and Southern Spars director and co-founder Mark Hauser believe the yachting sector appears to have pushed through the hump of the global financial crisis. “It’s great to see the marine industry slowly recovering,” says Lott. “With the America’s Cup ramping up with a new era of racing in the exceptional AC72 foiling catamarans and the Volvo Ocean Race taking a new turn into One Design, we’ve seen grand prix racing teams coming back in full force as they gear up for the 2013/14 busy regatta calendar. There are exciting times ahead for Southern Spars and clients around the world.”

Hauser adds: “Southern Spars was founded on the backbone of this Grand Prix yacht racing with one of our first major projects resulting in Sir Peter Blake’s Steinlager II winning all six legs of the Whitbread Round the World Race – that’s a record yet to be trumped. Since then the team at Southern Spars has pursued a passion for excellence, building and supplying the world’s finest carbon spars and rigging.”

Other significant projects delivered by Southern Spars in 2013 include the recently-launched WallyCento superyacht Magic Carpet 3 and the Mills 72’ yacht Alegre.

Hauser says: “Both Magic Carpet 3 and Alegre sport the latest high performance technology from Southern Spars, with high modulus Thin Ply Technology (TPT) throughout. Both masts have all the bells and whistles from internal tangs through to the latest Top-Lok (locking mainsail car for square top sails), racing booms with nomex honey cone cores and EC6 carbon continuous rigging.”

Developed by Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design with the exterior styling and interiors by Wally, sailing yacht Magic Carpet 3 fully exploits the WallyCento box-rule to create a fast, seaworthy cruiser-racer that benefits from the latest performance technology while respecting the Wally spirit. Magic Carpet 3 is the second WallyCento be launched to date; Southern Spars also supplied the rig package for the 30m WallyCento superyacht Hamilton which won the first Superyacht Cup Cowes regatta after just five days of sailing since her launching in July 2012.

A stunning performance also marked the debut for Magic Carpet 3 – just two weeks after her launch, she competed in Gaastra Palmavela regatta (Mallorca, 1-5 May) out-matching competitors in all races in real time and crossing the finish lines between five and 20 minutes ahead of the closest competitor.

Magic Carpet 3 yacht’s owner and helmsman Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones commented: “I’m highly satisfied with the outcome of this ground-breaking project. Magic Carpet 3 is precisely what I wanted and expected her to be, totally fulfilling my goals and briefs – fast, beautiful, comfortable, technologically-advanced, and easy to sail.”

Presently, Andy Soriano’s brand-new sailing yacht Alegre is getting ready for her busy regatta season in Valencia, Spain. With her Southern Spars rig package stepped and tuned, the 72-footer, designed by Mark Mills and built at Longitud Cero, has successfully completed her maiden sea trials.

Alegre yacht’s owner’s representative Dave Williams comments: “We are very happy with the new Southern Spars rig and rigging package. It is exactly what we expected and the Southern team have done an excellent job.”

Hauser adds: “For the team at Southern Spars, it was great to get back into the mini maxi game after a little downturn in this market. We’re delighted to hear we have yet another happy customer.

“We are also pleased to announce that we have recently received orders from three of the world’s most high profile racing teams: Ichiban (newly-designed Carkeek 65’), superyacht Wild Oats XI and Loyal (ex-Speedboat).

“This year’s Sydney to Hobart will be one to watch, with all three going head-to-head with their newly-stepped, fully-specified Southern Spars rig and rigging packages.

“The positive feedback we have from Americas Cup teams, grand prix race teams and superyacht owners about why they choose to work with Southern Spars means a great deal to everyone in the company. We continually strive to be at the forefront of the world’s mast and rigging industry in terms of design, technology, manufacture, safety and performance.”

The new sailing yacht AC72 to be launched by ORACLE TEAM USA this week

August 29, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

This week will see the launch of the first wingsail catamaran yacht AC 72 by ORACLE TEAM USA. A Media Day is scheduled for Friday 31 August, when the AC72 yacht is due to sail for the first time. She will play a central role in the San Francisco team’s bid to win the America’s Cup again next year.

AC72 yacht under construction

AC72 yacht under construction

Today, the giant 12 story high wing was lifted at Pier 80 in a successful test of the new ground handling systems.

“This was one tick in a very long check-list of essential steps before the boat can go into the water,” said Mark Turner, shore manager.
Upgrading from the identical one-design AC45s used during last week’s America’s Cup World Series event in San Francisco is going to be no small order; the AC72 is more complex, more powerful and entirely custom designed and built by ORACLE TEAM USA.

“Compared to the AC45, the AC72 is twice as long, five times as powerful and 100 times more complex,” explained Dirk Kramers, one of the 25 strong design team who has worked for two years on the team’s first boats. “It will also be 25% faster, capable of speeds over 40 knots (45 mph).”

Constructed entirely from carbon fiber, the AC72 hulls were built at the team’s base in Pier 80, San Francisco. The cross beams connecting the two hulls, wingsail, appendages (rudders and lifting daggerboards) and other key structures were made in New Zealand by Core Builders Composites.

“This is one of the most intricately detailed racing boats ever built,” commented Tim Smyth of CBC. “Not only this, but it is also one of the most dramatic looking.

The next step for the team is to lift and fit the 130-foot wingsail onto the hull. Once preliminary checks on shore are complete, the AC72 yacht then touches Bay water for the very first time. The myriad mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic systems that control the steering, wing and sails have to be tested, and before sailing is attempted a team of engineers and boatbuilders must sign off on the structure after a series of structural and data read-outs are approved.

The first sail is scheduled for Friday, subject to constant review.

The first ORACLE TEAM USA catamaran yacht AC72 to be launched by the end of August

August 16, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The first of the two ORACLE TEAM USA wingsail catamarans, sailing yacht AC72, is expected to be tested as well as launched by the end of August. Both AC72 yachts are planned for the defense of the 2013 America’s Cup.

ORACLE TEAM USA with their first AC72 yacht

ORACLE TEAM USA with their first AC72 yacht - Photo credit: ORACLE TEAM USA

The extreme performance yacht AC72 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 for August 21-26 in San Francisco, but as soon as that event ends the focus shifts to the AC72 yacht.

Weather conditions will set the agenda for the week August 27. Day 1 will see AC72 yacht 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 AC72 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 AC72 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.

ETNZ’s first AC72 catamaran yacht New Zealand wing by Southern Spars completed

August 03, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The newly-launched Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) AC72 yacht ‘New Zealand’ boasts the impressive 40m carbon fibre wing. This is made up of components supplied by carbon fibre specialists Southern Spars. Sailing yacht New Zealand is a spectacular new class of America’s Cup catamaran.

ETNZ's AC72 catamaran yacht New Zealand sailed for the first time in the Hauraki Gulf on 31st July

ETNZ's AC72 catamaran yacht New Zealand sailed for the first time in the Hauraki Gulf on 31st July

Southern Spars has been involved in producing much of the leading edge technology used in America’s Cup yachts since the company was formed in 1989, and as America’s Cup challengers prepare to compete in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, Southern Spars is involved once again.

As Southern Spars’ director Mark Hauser notes, the 34th edition of the America’s Cup is very different to previous events.

“Conventional carbon masts and rigging supporting high-tech sails have been replaced by 40m wing sails for the 2013 AC72 class yachts,” says Hauser. “Working with ETNZ designers, Southern Spars has manufactured 75 per cent of the wing sail components and around 35 per cent of the beam structures for the huge 72’ catamaran.”

ETNZ enlisted the assistance of another Auckland-based company, Cookson Boat Builders, to complete the catamaran.

ETNZ managing director Grant Dalton said at the AC72 New Zealand yacht’s launch party on 21 July that he “hopes the guys at Cookson’s and Southern Spars take the time to reflect on what an achievement they have made”.

The AC72 New Zealand yacht has completed her maiden sail without an issue.

Hauser says: “I was lucky enough to be out on the ETNZ tender during the AC72’s first sail. Although the weather didn’t play ball, it was extremely impressive to see the massive structure in action. It truly is a great testament to the quality of work produced by our team at Southern Spars Custom Projects in New Zealand and it is a very rewarding project to be involved with.”

ETNZ tactician Ray Davies sums up the first sail: “It was a bit of a relief to get out there and fly a hull on the first day. We were doing 20 knots in 10 knots of breeze.”

“With an extremely skilled production and manufacturing team, Southern Spars has successfully adapted to designing and manufacturing the new wing sails,” says Hauser. “Southern Spars is currently well-advanced with the wing sail production and are in the final stages of completing work on Luna Rossa Challenges first AC72 wing. We have the capability to build multiple AC72 wings in our Auckland facility. The wing masts are designed specifically for ease of shipment and New Zealand has direct shipping links to San Francisco where the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup will be sailed.”

With both ETNZ and Luna Rossa Challenge running two-wing programmes, Southern Spars will also be involved in the production of each team’s second AC72 yacht.

ETNZ campaign for the 34th America’s Cup reinforces NZ marine industry

July 31, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The Emirates Team New Zealand campaign for the 34th America’s Cup saw another huge step forward this week with the inaugural sailing of the world’s first AC72 catamaran yacht New Zealand. It will reinforce the export of New Zealand manufactured boats as well as equipment, as stated by NZ Marine executive director, Peter Busfield.

Newly launched AC72 catamaran yacht New Zealand - her first sailing in Auckland

Newly launched AC72 catamaran yacht New Zealand - her first sailing in Auckland Photo Credit: Chris Cameron 2012

“We know from past experience that high profile America’s Cup campaigns help attract lucrative new contracts and create new jobs in our industry,” he says. “We estimate that over $30 million worth of New Zealand boats and equipment has already been supplied in the build up to next year’s America’s Cup regatta.

“Every time ETNZ unveils an innovative new vessel, like New Zealand, or competes well in an international regatta, they help remind the world’s boating markets just how innovative and highly skilled New Zealand boat builders are.

“We are already enjoying a substantial increase in the number of visiting yachts and superyachts from the Northern Hemisphere. While they are choosing to explore a new destination, most of them are also choosing to have either maintenance work or a major refit completed by our skilled workforce.

“In addition, America’s Cup holders, Oracle, chose the New Zealand marine industry to build their technologically very challenging fleet of AC45 catamarans, because they knew we had both the expertise and the properly trained staff to complete the job.”

Peter Busfield says the New Zealand marine industry’s unique industry-based and industry-led training system is one of the key reasons why the industry is so successful and so internationally respected.

“Other countries look with envy at our training, which is universally acknowledged as the best marine trades’ training in the world.

“The Government sensibly recognises that the marine industry is best placed to know what type of training is needed to create and maintain a world-class industry – and that the industry is in the best position to deliver that training.”

Mr Busfield points out that the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation is one of the country’s most successful ITOs (Industry Training Organisations). “A very high percentage of NZ Marine ITO trainees and apprentices fully complete their training and go on to become productive members of the industry,” he says.

As innovative as the industry it serves, NZ Marine ITO makes use of the latest teaching techniques, such as E-learning; uses industry-experienced field officers to constantly monitor each individual trainees’ progress and, as an integral part of NZ Marine (the NZ Marine industry association), is able to respond very quickly to the industry’s changing needs.

“Add in NZ Marine’s proven mantra of using the combined expertise of Government agencies and tertiary institutions, in addition to its own abilities, and it is no wonder that NZ Marine ITO continues to provide common sense and practical outcomes for both employers and apprentices,” he says.

“During the launching of ETNZ’s New Zealand both the Prime Minister, John Key, and Auckland Mayor Len Brown acknowledged the important part played by New Zealand’s highly skilled and superbly trained marine industry for the good of New Zealand’s economy.

Mr Busfield says the large amount of international media coverage generated by New Zealand’s launch will continue over the coming months as the giant catamaran yacht sails against Luna Rossa in extensive testing on the Hauraki Gulf.

“That exposure is the equivalent of us taking a full page colour ad in all of the world’s major boating magazines,” he says. “It provides an enormous boost to our industry, which already generates exports of over $640 million.

“As the widely respected world expert in innovation management and strategy, Professor Goran Roos, pointed out recently, manufactured exports are some of the most valuable exports a country can produce; generating, for example, around four times as much value as the dollars earned in tourism.”

The New Zealand marine industry currently generates around $1.6 billion, around 40% of which is exported. It employs 8000 people and has 450 apprentices, whose training is overseen and guided by the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation.

Green Comm Racing joins in with the Region of Lombardy in its Challenge for the 34th America’s Cup

December 27, 2011

Written by Eva Belanyiova

Green Comm Racing, the youngest team to compete in the history of the America’s Cup, joins two of Europe’s most dynamic regions, Lombardy and Valencia, in its challenge for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco by promoting the values of sustainability.

Green Comm Racing - Photo Gilles Martin Raget - ACEA- 34th Americas Cup

Green Comm Racing - Photo Gilles Martin Raget - ACEA - 34th America's Cup

With the presence of the key Officers of the Lombardy Region, the President of the Real Club Nautico de Valencia, Manuel Pons, the President of Circolo Vela Gargnano, Lorenzo Rizzardi, Green Comm Racing and its Executive Chairman, Francesco De Leo, a major milestone was reached, by securing the institutional support of the Lombardy Region in promoting the first European Challenge for the 34th America’s Cup.

The Region of Lombardy, Italy’s industrial and technological heartland, and one of Europe’s most dynamic regions, has teamed up with Green Comm Racing to launch the first America’s Cup challenge which aims at tapping the innovation and research capabilities of two nations, Italy and Spain, by promoting a global sustainability agenda.

Green Comm Racing and the Real Club Nautico de Valencia (RCNV) have engaged with Circolo Vela Gargnano (CVG) to reinforce the ties between Italy and Spain, and promote the first European Challenge in the history of the America’s Cup.

Green Comm Racing yacht - 34th America's Cup San Diego - Photo ACEA - Gilles Martin-Raget

Green Comm Racing yacht - 34th America's Cup San Diego - Photo ACEA - Gilles Martin-Raget

With a budget of 54 million Euros for its 34th America’s Cup campaign, Green Comm Racing is now working on the development of the AC72 multihull, which will be launched on the waters of San Francisco at the beginning of 2013.

The new class of AC72 multi-hulls is a de-facto platform for innovation, a combination of state of the art technology, science and research. The Region of Lombardy is one of the leading innovation hubs in the world, with a tradition of technological excellence and entrepreneurship, which spans across a number of scientific domains which are keys to building up a successful America’s Cup campaign. Among them:

1. Advanced materials

2. Yacht design and construction

3. Electronic and sensors

4. E-health

5. Sustainability and renewable energy

Sailing Team Green Comm Racing - Photo ACEA Gilles Martin Raget - San Diego 2011 - 34 Americas Cup

Sailing Team Green Comm Racing - Photo ACEA Gilles Martin Raget - San Diego 2011 - 34 Americas Cup

Green Comm Racing is building up the youngest team ever to compete in the America’s Cup, engaging a new generation of European athletes, selected from Olympic sailing trials, tapping a new wave of young European entrepreneurs, which are bringing together breakthroughs in technology and innovation to promote sustainability across the World.

Commenting on the launch of the first ever European Challenge, which aims at tapping the best young talents in sports and technology, Francesco De Leo, Executive Chairman of Green Comm Racing, said: “We are delighted and proud to have been chosen by one of Europe’s most dynamic regions to tap and enhance the entrepreneurial spirit, the technological prowess and the athletic excellence of a new generation of Europeans.

Promoting the values of sustainability is not an issue relegated to one single country or region of the world. We are not just Italian, Spanish, or French.

We are first and foremost Europeans and we need to inspire and engage the new generation to take charge in addressing one of the most critical challenges of our times: climate change and sustainability.

The America’s Cup with its innovative format and its focus on pushing the edge of technology and innovation is the best platform and test ground for new talents and opens up the opportunity to engage a young and dynamic global audience by sharing the journey towards a more sustainable planet.

San Francisco and the Bay Area are the most iconic venues for a world class event, such as the New America’s Cup: California is The Hub for innovation in green tech and the ties to Lombardy, Valencia and Europe will be greatly enhanced by reaching out to a new generation of young entrepreneurs which are feeling at home across both sides of the Atlantic.

In the end, the New America’s Cup is not just a next generation, top class sport event: this time, more than ever, it will inspire and ignite a new wave of innovation, with an enduring impact on our progress towards a more sustainable world.

It’s time for Europe to come together to address the challenge of building on each  other’s strengths, and rebuilding trust across diverse constituencies: sport can play a role, and the America’s Cup provides a great opportunity to reach out to a new generation of young Europeans”.

34th Americas Cup: AC72 Class Rule finalized and published

October 18, 2010

Written by Chelsea Smith

The new Wingsailed 72ft catamaran will transform America’s Cup racing. From concept to completed Class Rule in less than four months, full details of the new high-performance wingsailed catamaran were published on Saturday.

The new Wingsailed 72ft catamaran will transform America's Cup racing - Credit Americas Cup

The new Wingsailed 72ft catamaran will transform America's Cup racing - Credit Americas Cup

The spectacular AC72 catamaran ensures that the 34th America’s Cup will feature the best sailors in the world on the fastest boats.

The AC72 Class Rule moves America’s Cup racing to catamarans with a speed potential of three times the wind speed, putting the venerable competition back at the forefront of technology.

The finalized class rule represents a tireless effort by Pete Melvin and his team at Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering Inc to create a new boat on behalf of the America’s Cup community.

On July 2, to ensure the rule was created independently, the defending Golden Gate Yacht Club and its sailing team BMW ORACLE Racing presented a two page concept paper to US SAILING and Morrelli & Melvin and asked them to turn it into a fully- formed multihull design rule.

Throughout the AC72’s gestation, the fundamental requirements have remained unchanged:

•    Ensure fast, exciting racing
•    Challenge sailors and designers
•    Capture fans’ imagination
•    Be versatile across the wind range, to minimize race delays
•    Be capable of competitive racing in light and strong winds
•    Incorporate wide-ranging cost-reduction features

“The AC72s will look amazing, will be very fast, and will take the America’s Cup into a new dimension,” said Melvin, himself a multihull champion.

“There will be nothing else like them, which perfectly matches the allure and appeal of the America’s Cup,” Melvin added. “We are grateful for the input of many, many designers, sailors and other experts.”

On September 16 a draft was circulated to potential teams and the sailing community at large. Since then over 500 comments were received and assimilated by Melvin’s team. Many have been incorporated into the final rule, including significant cost-reduction initiatives compared to the 32nd America’s Cup:

•    11-person crews (reduced from 17 on ACC class monohulls)
•    Boat lengths reduced to 72 feet from 82 feet
•    No-sailing periods enforced
•    Simple crane lift in/lift out – no special hoists or docks required
•    Shipping and centralized logistics paid for by event
•    Liberalized design rules encouraging non-exclusive design
•    Consolidated competitor facilities at World Series: sail lofts, workshop etc
•    World Series negates need for permanent team fixed-bases
•    Centralized meteorological service and ban on weather boats

Teams may design and build a maximum of two AC72 catamarans. The AC72s will be raced from the 2012 season onwards in America’s Cup World Series events that will lead to the Selection Series and the America’s Cup Match in 2013.

In 2011, teams will compete in identical AC45’s, “the little sister with attitude.” This one-design catamaran will provide teams with state-of-the-art wingsail technology and fast-track their multihull racing skills.

America’s Cup: New AC45 catamaran class takes shape in Auckland

October 13, 2010

Written by Chelsea Smith

America’s Cup Regatta Director Iain Murray today inspected production of the new AC45 catamaran class. The AC45 is the little sister with attitude to the AC72. Both classes are fundamental parts of the transformation of the America’s Cup.

Updated graphic AC45 (the transom sections will detach just after of the after crossbeam)

Updated graphic AC45 (the transom sections will detach just after of the after crossbeam)

A one-design wingsail catamaran of 45 feet, the AC45 has been created to fulfil three roles:

•    Fast-track teams for the 34th America’s Cup to a common level of catamaran sailing and wingsail technology at the outset of their campaigns.

•    Provide a class of boat for the 2011 season of the new America’s Cup World Series.

•    Provide a class of boat for the Youth America’s Cup commencing in 2012.

Iain Murray

Iain Murray  - Photo credit Americas Cup

Iain Murray - Photo credit Americas Cup

The first catamaran is slated for launching before Christmas in Auckland, New Zealand. Sea trials are planned immediately afterwards with representatives from potential challengers to the 34th America’s Cup invited to participate.

“The America’s Cup is now starting from a completely clean sheet of paper,” said Murray during his visit.

The rights to the design and administration of the build, sales, service and competition are vested in America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM), the independent race management authority for the 34th America’s Cup.

“The change to catamarans will see competitors racing round the track at 20 to 40 knots. It is going to be very fast and exciting. The event needed big changes and now it is happening,” added Murray.


The AC45 was designed and engineered by BMW ORACLE Racing on behalf of the America’s Cup community. Manolo Ruiz de Elvira led the hull design development, Scott Ferguson the wingsail development, and Dirk Kramers the structures team.

Mark Turner and Tim Symth of Core Builders, Warkworth, created production tooling for the hull platform and wingsail, and will produce the initial batch of boats in collaboration with other New Zealand marine industry specialists including Cookson Boats and Hall Spars NZL. Steering and daggerboard assemblies have been sub-contracted to C-Tech Carbon Technology and Craig Stirling Composites Engineering.

The AC45 is a versatile, one-design class with controlled costs and ease-of-maintenance a priority. The hulls and cross-beams are designed for simple and fast assembly to accommodate the active racing schedule.

The one-design wingsail consists of two elements. It is a scaled down concept of the 223-foot tall wing that powered BMW ORACLE Racing’s trimaran USA to victory in the 33rd America’s Cup Match.

Construction of the first AC45 catamaran is underway in New Zealand - Photo credit Americas Cup

Construction of the first AC45 catamaran is underway in New Zealand - Photo credit Americas Cup

Construction of the first AC45 catamaran is underway in New Zealand

The wing will have simple, manual control systems. There will be two headsail options, a gennaker and jib, but no Code 0 headsail.

“The AC45 is small enough that it doesn’t need hydraulics. The loads drop quickly when you get down to a boat of this size,” said Ian Burns, design team coordinator for BMW ORACLE Racing. “There aren’t even grinder pedestals. The winches will be powered by top-handle grinding.”

Keeping with the simplification theme, the AC45 will have straight daggerboards. No articulation beyond raising and lowering is permitted.

Crews are likely to number five at an average weight of 85 kilograms (approximately 187 pounds) to fit the AC45’s future role in the Youth America’s Cup.


Cookson Boats and other key suppliers have been engaged to work with Core Builders to ensure swift production of the first batch of boats at a rate of two a month. Another designated boatbuilder in the USA or Europe is envisaged.

Boats will be delivered in sequence of ordering.

After use next year in the ACWS, the AC45 will be used for the Youth America’s Cup, a series to be run in 2012 in conjunction with the ACWS.

34th America’s Cup: New AC72 class, the fast, spectacular, wingsail catamaran unveiled

September 20, 2010

Written by Chelsea Smith

Encapsulating the 34th America’s Cup – the best sailors in the world on the fastest boats – the AC72 will be a physically demanding boat capable of top speeds twice the windspeed.

The new AC72 class is the first-ever wingsail catamaran class for the America’s Cup and the fastest-ever class in the iconic 159-year-old competition. It replaces the ACC monohull class, which was created in 1988 and first raced in 1992 Cup.

The new AC72 catamaran which will be used in the 34th America's Cup. Credit - 34th America's Cup

The new AC72 catamaran which will be used in the 34th America's Cup. Credit - 34th America's Cup

The new AC72 class catamarans will make their racing debut in the 2012 season for the America’s Cup World Series ahead of the 34th Match in 2013.

A catamaran was selected as one element to transform and enliven the America’s Cup for the future. A multihull is the ideal dynamic class, capable of being raced hard in winds from 5 to 30 knots to minimize racing delays due to winds too light or too strong.

AC72 design parameters:

LOA 22.0 meters (72 feet)
Beam 14.0 meters (46 feet)
Displacement 5,700 kilograms (12,500 pounds)
All-up weight 7,000 kilograms (15,500 pounds)
Wingsail area 260 square meters (2,800 square feet)
Wingsail height 40 meters (130 feet)
Wingsail chord 8.5 meters (28 feet)
Sail trimming Manual grinders
Configuration Twin-hulled catamaran
Crew 11
Sail trimming No mechanically powered systems
Sail area reduction Removable top sections/leech elements
Appendages Maximum of 2 rudders, 2 daggerboards
Construction Minimum 600 grams per square meter outer-skin;
High-modulus carbon-fiber permitted in wingsail spar

The AC72 Class Rule was drafted by a distinguished group of consultants, chaired by Pete Melvin, on behalf of US SAILING.

Melvin, formerly a designer of aircraft for the McDonnell Douglas Corp. is a champion multihull sailor, having twice won the A Class Catamaran World Championship. Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering, Inc., also designed the record-setting maxi catamaran PlayStation.

Organizers of the 34th America’s Cup believed it was essential that the first new class of boat to be introduced since 1992 should be developed independent of any of the teams competing. A Concept Brief was published in June setting out the performance and operational requirements.

The AC72 is a “box rule.” This narrows down the design parameters so that while teams have freedom to create their own boats, they will be similar in dimensions in order to ensure close racing.

Hulls and beams will have to be assembled in two days and disassembled in one to allow America’s Cup teams to move efficiently between venues. Replaceable “crumple zone” bow and stern cones will allow for quick repair in the in the cut-and-thrust of racing.

To fast-track all teams to a common level of technology, a new, smaller class of identical wingsail catamaran, the AC45, will be used for the 2011 ACWS season while teams create their new high-performance catamaran.

To ensure the fairest possible competition for the 34th America’s Cup, the draft of the AC72 rule is being made available to teams for feedback before it is finalized. A similar process was used to create the Protocol for the 34th America’s Cup.

Not only does this give all teams a voice in the rule creation process, but they will have all competition rules finalized before entering the competition – another first in the America’s Cup.

Once finalized, the AC72 Class Rule will be administered by the newly created independent organization, America’s Cup Race Management.