WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Britain’s INEOS Team UK had made such a mess of their first boat that they had no choice but to completely overhaul the design for their second-generation America’s Cup yacht, a former Team New Zealand sailor has told Reuters.
All three challengers launched their second-generation AC75 foiling monohulls in Auckland over the last week, just two months out from their first competitive outing in a December regatta that will also include defenders Team New Zealand.
Both the British yacht, named ‘Britannia’, and American Magic’s ‘Patriot’ showed significant design modifications from their first-generation yachts, while Italy’s Luna Rossa highlighted just subtle outward changes.
“The Americans and the British have basically thrown out what they did before and started again,” Mark Orams, a former professional sailor who was in Team New Zealand and won the Round the World race in 1990 on Steinlager 2, told Reuters.
“Of the three new boats that have been launched, the British one is the most radical. I suppose you could say that about their first boat too, but that was probably too radical in the wrong direction, I think.
“The general consensus is that they got their first boat so wrong, it was such a pig.”
Yachting commentators made much of Britannia’s hull, which showed a radical longitudinal bustle keel running virtually the entire length of the boat.
The bustle helps lift the boat out of the water and reduces wind turbulence between the hull and surface of the water, said Orams, who is now the dean of graduate research at Auckland University of Technology.
“It takes many months to get used to it (the boat), and get the potential out of it,” he added. “So they’re still playing catchup ... but in the end the fastest boat will win.
“If you have two boats that are close then the sailing team becomes more important and the Brits have got a very good sailing team.
“If they have a competitive boat they have a good shot at winning it.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford
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