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AC40 – Designed to travel
The AC40 has been making waves with its performance on the water, but its design is just as impressive on the all-important logistical side of things also.
In recent days, Emirates Team New Zealand have been preparing and packing their AC40 `Te Kakahi’ for shipping to Barcelona. Now neatly packed onto its single shipping flat rack which includes the full hull, the rig, the foil arms and foil wings intricately designed to be as efficient to transport as possible.
Back when the AC40 was being designed, it wasn’t just the boat that was considered, a macro view of the class concept included the easy and cost effective logistics also.
“When we were designing the AC40, we had to take into consideration how we were going to ship the boat around the world.” Explained long time Emirates Team New Zealand Mechanical Engineer Martin McElwee.
“So we came up with this custom flat rack arrangement which keeps the boat within a 40 foot container gauge except for the height. It's designed so when it's on a low loader trailer to be no higher than 4.8 meters, which is pretty much the maximum trucking height that you can truck around the world without too many issues with permits.”
Previous America’s Cup class boats like the AC45 & AC50 catamarans with solid wing mainsails, take a significant volume of the shipping containers to transport all elements, and the costs quickly mount up. So part of the design process of the AC40s and the logistics are needed to be significantly reduced when considering the overall cost of campaigning a new class of boat for America’s Cup teams and future owners.
“Keeping the yacht all in one package, it just reduces the costs from shipping around the world. And it's a lot easier to get it space on a ship if it's not break bulk cargo.”
And this philosophy included from the moment it left the manufacturers.
“Every boat comes with the flat rack when it ships from McConaghy. Each AC40 turns up in one package, everything's together and you don't have to have other containers when you're shipping things around. It has turned out pretty well in the end.” said McElwee, the man affectionately known as ‘Toon’.
Back to business, Boat Captain Spencer Loxton is overseeing the final parts of the AC40 flat rack being secured ready to roll out the door.
“We’re in the final stages of getting our last boat shipped out to Europe and we'll have it on a ship early next week and go up and meet the AC75 in Barcelona.”