AC72 Wingsail Catamaran Brief

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Full 2013 order book for Southern Spars

May 23, 2013

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.”

ORACLE TEAM USA capsizes its catamaran yacht AC72 on San Francisco Bay

October 17, 2012

The impressive catamaran yacht AC72 has been capsized by ORACLE TEAM USA, the defender of the 34th America’s Cup, on San Francisco Bay during a training session. None of the crew were injured.

ORACLE TEAM USA yacht AC72 capsized on San Francisco Bay

The capsize of the ORACLE TEAM USA yacht AC72 on San Francisco Bay © Guilain GRENIER/ ORACLE TEAM USA

The capsize took place during the team’s eighth day on the water. Conditions were fresh, with building winds whipping up waves against one of the strongest ebb currents of the year. As the team turned the AC72 yacht downwind, the front of the boat nosedived and the boat pitch-poled.

“When the nose went down, the wing hit and a few guys went in the water,” said tactician Tom Slingsby. “We were unsure if the wing would snap, so we all climbed off the boat.”

With the AC72 yacht on her side, the sea conditions quickly inflicted damage on the wing. The boat was pulled out to sea by the strong current, and as darkness fell, the team was still working to secure the catamaran platform and bring it back to base. The wing is destroyed.

“There’s no question this is a setback. This will be a big test for our team,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “But I’ve seen these guys in a similar situation in the past campaign before we won the America’s Cup. A strong team will bounce back from it. This won’t stop us from winning the America’s Cup.”

Each team competing in the 34th America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup (the America’s Cup Challenger Series) can build two AC72 yachts. This was the first of two boats to be built and launched by ORACLE TEAM USA. The second is due to be launched early in the new year.

Event organizers say the setback to the American team won’t impact the 2013 racing calendar.

“This is a challenge for ORACLE TEAM USA,” said Stephen Barclay, the CEO of the 34th America’s Cup. “The team will assess how to fix the damage caused by the capsize to this boat and will adjust its program as necessary. We expect them to be ready to defend the Cup as planned.”

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

August 29, 2012

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

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

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

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

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 America’s Cup to be held in 2013

September 14, 2010

Organizers for the 34th America’s Cup have announced that the 34th Match will take place in 2013 using a new and exciting class of boat, the AC72 wingsail catamaran.

AC45 and AC72 - The new Americas Cup boats Image from 34th Americas Cup

To build interest and audiences ahead of the 34th Match in 2013 is a new annual World Series, commencing in 2011. A clear vision for the future led to analysis of the best practices in other major sports. Six months of dialogue with potential teams and stakeholders followed, resulting in the transformed competition details that were released yesterday.

Highlights include:
New, exciting class of boat, the AC72 wingsail catamaran
New annual World Series starting in 2011
New Youth America’s Cup from 2012
Transformed media for television broadcast and online
Shorter, action-packed race format
Race delays minimized – new boat and venues with reliable wind
Independent race management and fully empowered International Jury to avoid show-stopping disputes
Effective cost-cutting measures
Branding freedom for teams
One global website for all team and racing content

13th Sept 2010 Valencia - 34th Americas Cup - press conference - Vincenzo Onorato - Russell Coutts

The annual America’s Cup World Series has been designed to create exposure and commercial sustainability for teams and their sponsors. The series featuring the cutting-edge catamaran will deliver exciting racing to new audiences ahead of the America’s Cup Match in 2013.

The AC72 class will be raced from 2012, and a second new boat will be used in next year’s competition for the America’s Cup World Series. Also powered by a wingsail, the AC45 is a scaled down one-design version of the AC72, and will provide a fast-track for competitors in wingsail technology.

We believe this new format and new boat will put the America’s Cup back at the pinnacle of our sport. These changes will give equal opportunity to competitors and long-term economic stability to all teams and all commercial partners. We promised fairness and innovation and this is what we’ve delivered,” said Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing.

The Regatta Director of the independent organization America’s Cup Race Management, ACRM, will be appointed jointly by the Challenger and Defender board members. A financial model for the next Defender to maintain this vision of independent race management allows teams and partners to plan long-term involvement.

“I think that we need to acknowledge that the Defender has kept its word. The America’s Cup is going to have fair rules and a truly independent management of the racing,” said Vincenzo Onorato, President of Mascalzone Latino. “This change should’ve happened years ago in my opinion. I can see why this important development could last for many years in the future,” Onorato said.

Limits on the number of boats, sails, equipment and support boats, as well as the introduction of no-sail periods will bring significant cost savings for all competitors. Crew sizes will be reduced to 11 members from 17.

For the first time onboard cameramen will be part of the innovative media model that is designed to significantly enhance the television broadcasts and internet content in an effort to grow audiences and bring added value to teams and partners.

In releasing the Protocol, the Defender has forfeited some of the rights traditionally enjoyed by the holder of the trophy in the interest of making the competition more balanced and fair. Majority approval of the competitors is required to amend the Protocol.

“During our six months of planning we spoke to the teams, to commercial partners, to media and to the fans. A clear and compelling vision emerged – that to capture and communicate the excitement our sport can produce, we need the best sailors racing the fastest boat in the world,” Coutts said.

In an effort to develop the next generation of best sailors, the new AC45 will be used for the Youth America’s Cup beginning in 2012, a new initiative to provide young sailors a pathway to the America’s Cup.

With today’s release of the Protocol, class of boat and year in which the match will be held, three of the four cornerstones for the 34th Match are in place. The final piece, the venue, is scheduled to be announced by the end of the year.