Back to future for next Am Cup?
Team New Zealand design boss Dan Bernasconi believes pure speed isn’t the key ingredient to a great America’s Cup and sees highperformance monohulls as a viable option.
The future of the next Cup will come into full focus this week when the 35th regatta winds up in Bermuda.
Current holders Oracle Team USA are committed to pushing on with the multihulls but the vision of Team New Zealand will only become known if they can wrestle the Auld Mug away from the Americans.
The Cup holders get to make the rules and there has been much speculation that the Kiwis, working with Italians Luna Rossa as the challenger of record, would return some of the traditions to the contest. That could even stretch to the area of boat design.
It will take a brave syndicate to do a massive U-turn on the extravaganza that has again captured public attention with its fast boats and quick-fire format. But there are worthy alternatives.
‘‘We’re completely focused on this Cup and we still have a lot of work to do to try and win it. We have really not talked at all about what we would do if we did win and what class of boat (would be used),’’ technical director Bernasconi told Fairfax.
‘‘There has been a lot of speculation as to what we might be thinking but the truth is we haven’t thought of that. It would obviously be a nice problem to have to be able to make that decision.
‘‘Personally I think this class of boat is great but you could also have really high-performance monohulls. I think you can get exciting racing in a lot of different kinds of boats.’’
Bernasconi has been involved in the America’s Cup since the 2007 regatta in Valencia and that last edition of monohull racing remains his favourite. He felt there was genuine competitiveness amongst the 12 syndicates.
‘‘Personally I really enjoyed the Cup in 2007 with much slower boats but really good competition and great sailing,’’ said the man who has overseen Team New Zealand’s double-hulled rocketship.
‘‘It’s not necessarily the absolute top-end boat speed which makes the sailing that is essential to have a good regatta.’’
As a designer who has managed to incorporate incredible innovation into the much tighter boundaries of the many one-design components for Bermuda, he would like a bit more wriggle room.
‘‘From a design point of view I think all the engineers and designers would be keen on rules that are more open and allow more innovation,’’ he said.
Interestingly, the Volvo Race is introducing foiling Ocean monohulls for it’s 2019-20 world extravaganza.
The 60-foot boats will feature a keel with a blade at its tip, two rudders with adjustable elevators, and adjustable foils on each side of the one hull. They will be crewed by five to seven people. round the
The Volvo is having a bob each way though as it embraces the new technology – it has also decided teams will contest the traditional ‘‘in-port’’ races at stopovers in foiling catamarans, meaning syndicates will operate two separate boats.
Engineers and designers would like more wriggle room in the rules to allow more innovation in the boats next America’s Cup.