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America's Cup - Oracle Team USA upgrades first AC45S in Bermuda

by Richard Gladwell, on 20 Aug 2015
Oracle Team USA sailing their first AC45S in Bermuda Oracle Team USA media
America's Cup champion, Oracle Team USA appears to be a leap ahead of the rest of the Challengers for the 35th America's Cup with reports coming out of Bermuda that the team is upgrading its first AC45 S (Surrogate).

The 45ft Surrogate boats are designed to mimic the AC50's that will be used in the 35th America's Cup.

Only two of the Challengers have Surrogate boats - Artemis Racing and Land Rover BAR (GBR). Emirates Team NZ announced today that they have acquired an AC45 from the Italian Luna Rossa team, but it is not AC45S configured - which requires a 50%rebuild of a a standard AC45. However the team may just go straight to their preferred AC50 mode without having to modify an existing AC45S.

The Royal Gazette in Bermuda reports that the 'first foiling AC45 test boat is being upgraded to closely replicate the configuration of Oracle’s second boat that has arrived at the team’s Dockyard base.

'Among the most significant modifications to Oracle’s first AC45 is the addition of a second grinding pedestal to each side of the boat which will increase the physical demands on the sailors and closely imitate the America’s Cup class boat for 2017.

'The upgrades are expected to be completed and the boat ready to resume sea trials in the Great Sound after Oracle sailors return from next week’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg.

“Boat one will be ready just after the guys get back from Gothenburg at the beginning of September,” said Mark Turner, who leads the team’s boatbuilding and has overseen the construction of the last two boats to win the America’s Cup.

'Oracle’s second AC45 test boat arrived on Island last week and is also expected to be ready to start sea trials next month.

“The boat has been assembled already in New Zealand, so it’s a matter of being able to set it up in its cradle and reassemble it,” Turner said. “That will take a few hours, but the systems still need to be set up.

“There’s a lot of work that still needs to happen there so this boat is scheduled to be delivered to the sailing team in about a month’s time.”

Once the changes are complete Oracle Team USA will have two second generation AC45S on which to test foils and control systems which are the only free design parts of the AC50.

One of the reasons for fitting the second pedestal is that it will allow the generation of more hydraulic energy to power the foil adjustment system on board the AC45S.

To date many of the teams have been using battery banks to provide power for the systems, as a means of measuring the total energy requirements during a race. Once those are established then the team have to install manual generation systems to provide the required power. Generating the required power using just six crew is understood to be one of the principal challenges of the AC50 class. In the previous Cup the AC72s carried a crew of 11 - and even so Oracle team USA claimed they had crew grinding constantly from race start to finish to meet the energy use requirements of the AC72.

Just under two years remain until the start of the 35th America's Cup which will be sailed in Bermuda.

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