While Oracle Team USA is building new daggerboards for their AC72 in San Francisco, Emirates Team New Zealand is showcasing their foiling AC72 in Auckland, NZ; TV crews were invited in the chase boats earlier this week and, in a fresh breeze on Hauraki Gulf, the team didn't miss the opportunity to get both hulls clear off the water for the rolling cameras. ETNZ can achieve this on their L-shaped foiling daggerboards when, with sufficient boat speed, the entire vessel is lifted out of the water with its entire weight supported by the short horizontal appendage at the bottom of the leeward hull daggerboards. One doesn't need an engineering degree to understand the speed potentials that can be achieved by eliminating water resistance against the hull; the challenge for the coming months still remains to achieve this under control in various sea states.
Emirates Team NZ AC72 sailing on the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland NZ September 6, 2012 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
So, after the development of the wing sail, it appears as if the new AC34 arms race might actually take place under water; we have definitely come a long way from the secret wing keel of the early 80's. To put things in perspective, the 1200 hp chase vessels used earlier this week could barely keep up with the foiling AC72 achieving speeds of 40 knots in the early days of testing! Less than a year to go before all the teams line up on the start line in San Francisco for the 34th America's Cup; the next twelve months promise to be very exciting.
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