American Magic have sailed their new America’s Cup boat as unexpected delays hit the British and Italian syndicates.
Defenders Emirates Team New Zealand launched the first AC75 in Auckland last Friday and have started on-the-water tests to kick off the official buildup to Auckland 2021.
But American Magic, backed by the New York Yacht Club, have beaten the Kiwis to get the radical 75-foot monohull up on its foils under sail, debuting in Rhode Island on Wednesday.
The boat – featuring a more open deck layout to Team New Zealand’s and a significantly flatter hull – was an impressive sight with Kiwi veteran Dean Barker on the wheel as the Americans struck a psychological blow in the buildup to Auckland 2021.
“The team’s first AC75 sails for the first time,” the syndicate said in releasing a photo of the boat flying on its foils.
“Boat 1 was quick to run!” they said on Instagram.
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There is still no word from the Americans about an official launch. They seemed more intent on putting on a show on the water first. Their opening sail on the AC75 came on the back of a successful testing program with a small-scaled foiling monohull.
“This is a pretty strenuous time in the programme. We are proud of what we have done and we are focussed on moving forward and sticking to the plan,” NYYC administrator Phil Lotz told Sailing Illustrated on Wednesday.
Lotz said the team’s move back to Florida for winter training would happen “late October, early November” depending on the hurricane season down south.
The British hopes of getting their boat in the water have been blighted by logistics outside their base.
Team INEOS UK need more dredging of the Camber Docks in Portsmouth to handle the huge draft of the AC75.
That began on September 5 and was expected to take about 10 days, meaning a launch could happen from the end of the week.
Italian Challenger of Record Luna Rossa is more of a mystery.
They had previously slated August 25 as the date of their launch but missed that, presumably a knock-on effect from the late delivery of the foil arms to all the teams.
There were suggestions that launch could happen early this week but there is still no sign of the boat emerging.
Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena indicated to the Sardinia Post that the launch could now be timed for “the last week of September or at most the first of October”.
“We will soon reveal the date of the launch, it is an important moment, there is a lot of work behind it,” he said.
In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Team New Zealand principal Matteo de Nora, didn’t want to get drawn into the issues behind the Luna Rossa delays.
“This is a question for them,” de Nora, a Swiss-Italian businessman, said. ” My mind goes to the designers that always ask for more time. On top of this Luna Rossa has built their boat at Persico, a very high tech facility where the specialists are in the land of plenty. Persico built the one-design foil arms as well: they were late in delivering the arms, therefore it is possible that also the boat was late. But mine are just assumptions.”
De Nora said he had again been bitten by “the America’s Cup virus” now that Team New Zealand’s boat was in the water and “a new era” was under way as teams looked to master the massive monohulls.
“It is a very complex boat where physics is fundamental,” he told La Stampa.
“The art of sailing, the hydrodynamics rules are not sufficient and other forces must be taken into account as they will allow the boat to sail as fast as possible. It’s key to study the air flows along and through the double mainsail. It’s something new, even for us. A new era has started. “