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America's Cup: Swiss hit the Road to Spain with new AC75 raceboat

by Alinghi Red Bull Racing 28 Feb 01:14 PST 28 February 2024
Alinghi Red Bull Racing 's AC75 leaving her build faciity, Ecublens, Switzerland - February 18th 2024 © Lorenz Richard

Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s AC75 yacht that will be raced to challenge for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup this summer has departed from the boat yard in Ecublens, Switzerland bound to Spain.

The event is a major campaign milestone and marks a “passing of the baton” from production to the Barcelona crew as part of the team’s boat building process.

After long months of hard work on design, development and construction, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s race boat, known as BoatOne, left the boatyard along the shores of Lake Geneva in Ecublens, Switzerland on Monday morning. Over the next few days, BoatOne will continue its journey by truck across France and into northeastern Spain before arriving at the team base in Barcelona.

The new AC75 will be the yacht used by the Swiss challenger for the upcoming America’s Cup and per the official race protocol, was built in Switzerland, home country of the club which the team represents: the Société Nautique de Genève. The boat was carefully wrapped for transport with the cover signed by Ecublens boat builders to celebrate the handoff.

“The last few weeks were really intense with a lot of hours in the boatyard to meet deadlines,” said Simon Bovay, lead boat builder. “But the most important thing is that we maintained a great team spirit throughout. The vibe remained excellent, we stuck together until the end. Credit goes to everyone. The team was incredible and really did a great job.”

“We’re super proud of this boat. She’s radical and it will be beautiful when she’s going fast,” said David Nikles, lead boat builder. Sticking to the timeline was key to the overall campaign schedule and took extensive coordination across departments. “We had a deadline that hasn’t changed for two years,” added David Nikles. “Despite all the challenges inherent in a construction like this, we always had this date in our minds. And we managed to stick to it.”

Part of the boat build team will now transition to Barcelona as the shore crew and boat builders prepare the AC75 for its initial sail and upcoming training schedule this spring. “To see everything complete and the boat leaving on the due date was a big achievement,” said Danny Cawsey, lead boat builder.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing has been sailing BoatZero, acquired in New Zealand back in 2021, as its AC75 training boat since then, while also performing two-boat testing and regular match-race training on the smaller AC40s that feature a four-man crew. The new AC75 features the same box-rule boat design used for the 36th America’s Cup, but it will be sailed by a crew of eight for this edition of the Cup. “The unmoulding of the hull was one of the huge moments for us,” said Jean-Marie Fragnière, construction manager. “You work on an object for months and you only know if it’s good when you take it out of the mould.”

Once the boat arrives in Barcelona, members of Alinghi Red Bull Racing shore team will sign the boat’s outer wrapping to accept the special package upon delivery. The boat will go right to the shed and will be unveiled no earlier than April 5. The boat wrap will feature many small signatures, but they will represent a giant step for the campaign as it looks to the start of racing less than six months away.

AC75 Specifications:

  • Hull length: 20.7m
  • Hull beam: 5m
  • Draft at dock: 5m
  • Mast: 26.5m
  • Displacement: 6.2T
  • Double skin mainsail: 145m² maximum
  • Headsail: 90m² maximum
  • Speed: record 53.3kts
  • Crew: 8 people (700kg)
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