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America's Cup: First AC40 nears completion at McConaghy Boats - Video and Still Images

by 22 Jul 2022 22:02 PDT 23 July 2022
The prototype AC40 has been undercoated prior to be delivered to the first owner, Emirates Team New Zealand © Emirates Team NZ

The first AC40 multi-use yacht for America's Cup 2024 is being fitted out at the McConaghy Boats facility in China before being shipped to New Zealand.

The AC40 is a one design hull that will be used by all teams for the America's Cup Preliminary Events - the Youth and Womens America's Cup, along with two preliminary events by the America's Cup teams. The third and final Preliminary event will be sailed in the AC75 raceboats to be used during America's Cup 2024.

The AC40's can be modified by the teams for testing purposes, which is expected to be the primary function of the boats - of which most teams are expected to have two. It is believed that 10 AC40's are on order, at a price tag of just under $2million each.

The video shows the quite extreme hull shape at the stern and after sections where the sheerline drops quickly into the transom, as did ETNZ's AC2021 test boat Te Kahu. The bow sections have been seen before and are similar to Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Champion Te Rehutai.

For the first time we can see the cockpit layout which features two fore and aft trenches, for the sailing crew, and a second narrower athwartship trench for the mainsail traveller and hydraulic sheet.

The crew is expected to be split two per side as ETNZ did with their test boat Te Kahu in the workup to AC2021.

The deck layout with its fore and aft trench cockpits are similar to those on ETNZ's AC2021 test boat, Te Kahu, which carried four crew.

From the still images the trenches are fitted with two seats and the helmsman works from the forward position.

The aft position has a button box to manually drive various functions including the foil raising and lowering.

The boats are expected to be manually or hydraulically winched and with automated flight control. However for testing both of these functions are expected to be able to be switched to manual control.

The raising and lowering of foils will be manually switched using electric power.

Emirates Team New Zealand as Defender will take delivery of the first AC40, with the Challenger of Record, INEOS Britannia taking the second, and the others will be allocated in order of entry.

By getting two AC40's each the teams will be able to revert to two boat testing, in boats which are designed to be scaled down AC75's - that they would comply albeit proportionately smaller with the AC75 America's Cup Class.

With two boat testing they will use an eight person crew across the two AC40's, and eight crew is the new crew limit for AC75's in AC2024.

So far four Challenges have been accepted plus the Defender for a total of five teams - just one more than Auckland 2021.

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