Nine months. It’s the time elapsed between June 26th 2017, when Emirates Team New Zealand won the 8th race in Bermuda and became champion of the America’s Cup for the third time, and March 29th 2018, when Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Circolo della Vela Sicilia, together with their respective teams Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record – Luna Rossa, published the AC75 Class Rule for the 36th America’s Cup.
AC75 is precisely the yacht that will compete in the America’s Cup, a special foil-equipped monohull yacht that wants to promote the development of sailing towards innovation and technology. Highlights of the AC75 Class Rule include the introduction of one-design (see page 121) components built by a unique supplier chosen by Defender and Challenger of Record, with special focus on foil rigging, electronic and hydraulic systems. This solution inevitably translates into a considerable saving of money for the teams, which therefore do not have the need to invest in research and development to build the components of their AC75 yachts. Additional one-design elements, however, can be built by every single team, in compliance with particular specs.
The Class Rule also includes some restrictions on the physical and mechanical features of building materials, as well as their recyclability. As a result, for example, at least 10 % of the carbon fiber used to strengthen the boat mould must come from recycled sources. Other restrictions concern aspects such as research, prohibiting tests in the naval tank or in the wind tunnel, or the number of elements that can be built. So, for example, teams can build only two hulls, with the possibility to change up to 25% of one of them, or the number of sails, masts, rudders and foils.
All the rules have led the various design teams to do the best to build a truly performing yacht and keep America’s Cup as the world’s most important sailing competition”. Furthermore, there is provision for a “guest racer” who can weigh in at 100kg maximum.