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AC40 boat one reaches final stages of construction in China ahead of Auckland sea trials
The first ever AC40 one-design foiling monohull is reported to be just weeks away from being delivered to America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand
The first ever AC40 one-design foiling monohull is reported to be just weeks away from being delivered to America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand for commissioning and sea trials on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.
The team has released images of the first boat in the final stages of construction at the McConaghy Yachts build facility in China.
The AC40 design is based on ETNZ’s 36th America’s Cup winning AC75 Te Rehutai but according to the syndicate’s chief designer Dan Bernasconi the AC40 represents a step on from that boat.
“We didn’t hold back on the design,” Bernasconi says. “We took the IP (intellectual property) of Te Rehutai and translated it into the best 40-footer we could create.”
The AC40 will be used in one-design mode for both the Women’s and Youth America’s Cup events in 2024 as well as providing a testbed for the expected up to five America’s Cup teams.
The project has been managed by the Emirates Team New Zealand Technology & Design Department, with the build of the yachts overseen by long-standing ETNZ team-member Richard Meacham, alongside project manager Jamie Thompson who run a dedicated team of builders and craftsmen working shifts around the clock at the China facility to bring the AC40 concept to fruition.
“It’s a step on in terms of hull form from the Cup winning design of Te Rehutai,” agreed Meacham, “It adheres to all the fundamental rule changes implemented for the AC75’s 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.”
Although the boats are being manufactured in China Meacham believes the key to the project is the New Zealand design and technology influence throughout the process.
The design of the hull, foil arms, rudders, mechatronics, hydraulics, and programmable logic controllers have all come from ETNZ’s design teams and the construction of the foil arms and rudders taking place at the term’s build facility on Auckland’s North Shore.
Meanwhile, the AC40’s sail plan – which incorporates a boomless double-skinned mainsail – has been designed in collaboration with North Sails, and the fleet’s two-piece masts are being crafted by Southern Spars in Avondale, Auckland.
There will likely be considerable interest in the testing phase for the first ever AC40 – not least amongst the other America’s Cup teams who, once the Kiwis sign off on the first boat, will start to receive their AC40s according to a delivery schedule based on the order of accepted challenges for AC37.
Challenger of Record Ineos Britannia are scheduled to be the second team to receive their AC40.
Cup Insider understands that in addition to the official America’s Cup shared reconnaissance team in Auckland representatives of the registered teams will also be invited to attend the launch and sea trials of the ETNZ AC40.