Land Rover BAR have launched what they claim is the most technologically advanced yacht to ever hit the water.
The British challengers have started sea trials in their AC45 T2 catamaran, one they hope to sail to victory at the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017.
The multihull racing yacht boasts technological advancements from the aerospace industry, and has been described as a “fighter jet on water”.
The 45ft catamaran, sailed by a crew of six, is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 50mph and will fly on hydrofoils the size of a wakeboard, while lifting the weight of a fully loaded London taxi.
To further reduce weight and increase efficiency, practical technology from Formula One and other motor sports has been integrated into the boat’s hydraulic systems.
“Everyone on the design, engineering and shore teams, have put everything they have got into this boat,” Sir Ben Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper and team principal, said.
“Power is nothing without control, and there has been no compromise in the pursuit of both.
“All of the sailing team are grateful and privileged to get the opportunity to test fly this unique craft.”
Andy Claughton, the Land Rover BAR chief technology officer, added: “This is the most technologically advanced sailing boat I’ve ever been involved with.
“It’s the vital next step on our path to developing the boat that will challenge for the America’s Cup, containing some of the most innovative and powerful technology ever used in this competition.”
The America’s Cup is regarded as the pinnacle of sailing and boasts cutting edge technology which enable these catamarans to travel at three times the true wind speed.
The next America’s Cup was originally supposed to be contested for in 62ft catamarans.
However, the majority of the teams voted in favour of reducing the size of the boats after the original protocol was controversially amended.
Luna Rossa, the Italian challenger, withdrew in protest at a move that was aimed at significantly reducing costs for the 2017 America’s Cup.
“If anything, the racing may even be better as the boats will be more manoeuvrable,” Ainslie said. “Certainly they will be better suited to the Bermuda racecourse.”
This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on December 10th, 2015.