Swedish AC team exploits loophole and is the first to launch a full size wing for the next generation Cup boat
Artemis launched and sailed with its first AC72 wing today (Thur 15 Mar) from their training base in Segunto in Spain. Towering above the equivalent on their AC45, the first shots of the first of a new generation of rigs is certainly impressive yet the move will doubtless prove to be as controversial as it is impressive.
Officially, the earliest that teams entering the 34th America’s Cup for the San Francisco event in 2013 can launch their AC72 cats is 1 July 2012. Even then, teams can only sail their boats for a maximum of 30 days during the period 1July 2012 to 31 January.
There are also strict rules regarding the building of surrogate boats or sharing data between teams, rules that have been put in place to prevent well heeled or mutually cooperative teams gaining an edge.
But Paul Cayard’s Artemis Racing appears to have found a way around the restrictions by stepping the 40m (131ft), 260m2 (2800ft2) wing mast weighing just over 1 tonne aboard an ORMA 60 trimaran, which apparently doesn’t count as a surrogate boat.
Of the other teams that have their sights set on 2013, testing on smaller 33ft cats that squeeze in as the biggest that the rules allow, has been the preferred approach.
“We chose the full scale strategy. Our decision was more time consuming, but it allows us to learn how to handle this powerful wing. Before performance, there is the safety of our team. San Francisco Bay in July and August is an unforgiving place,” said CEO Paul Cayard.
With the Cup just 18 months away, there is precious little time to learn about a brand new style of multihull with it’s supercharged sail plan and as always, time on the water will count for a great deal.