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François Chevalier & Jacques Taglang continue to produce interesting comparisons between existing wing designs and platforms and the future AC72 set up:

©François Chevalier

For quite some time now, the size of the AC72 is subject of recurrent criticisms: huge size, maneuverability delicate if not dangerous, tremendous costs, and so on. Though we would prefer to avoid argument on terminology, few clarifications should be made:
The AC72 (catamaran of 72’ LOA) is only 2 feet longer than the MOD70 (MultiOneDesign 70 – trimaran of 70’ LOA). We must note that to date 7 teams have announced they will race the 2012 season.

Of course, the air draught of the AC72 is 131.23’ high to be compared to the 95.15’ of the MOD70. But this has nothing to do with the excessiveness of Oracle USA-17, the 2010 winner of the Cup, its very top emerging at 223’, that means 91.86’ beyond the one of the future AC72.

But let’s go back to the air draught of the AC72. So we have to look at the evidence: the race course of the America’s Cup is close to the coast, in front of a race committee deciding at its sole discretion if the race can be sailed or not. On the opposite the sail plan of the MOD70 has been adapted in order to provide more safety when ocean sailing. For more safety it has been reduced by 5% regarding the trimaran ORMA60 (100’ of air draught)! (Have a look on the yellow doted lines on the drawing of the Gitana XII sail plan and the drawing of Artemis wingsail in the news dated of last March 30th and April 1st).

The America’s Cup has always been a competition for yachtsmen’s elite. The eleven crew members aboard the AC72 will have a lot to do! However the wingsail trim – technically demanding – should be kept out of their reach as soon as they will have mastered it (on that point the AC45 is more than a gadget!)

With the help of the economic crisis – in the thirties the America’s Cup was affected by the economic crisis (that didn’t prevent the advent of the J Class) then, it was also the case in the post war times (the advent of the 12 Meter in 1958) – all the teams will look for a constant cost control. The agreement between Oracle (USA) and Energy Team (FRA) is an excellent example.


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  1. This is an excellent, objective article. That makes it a breath of fresh air amid press releases and jaded non-news.