America’s Cup Website: Duncan Johnstone, December 30, 2020 – Team New Zealand’s Te Rehutai shows off its remarkable speed in full flight during the recent world series regatta.
America’s Cup defenders Team New Zealand have given an indication of the true potential of the new AC75 boats, believing they will crack 100kmh.
The prediction comes in an article in respected French magazine Paris Match which looked at France’s influence on the current 36th America’s Cup being held in Auckland this summer.
France has no direct entry but there is plenty of French involvement behind the scenes, including Guillaume Verdier, Emirates Team New Zealand’s hugely successful naval architect.
Verdier has been with Team New Zealand for the last three America’s Cups – helping the giant 72-foot catamaran foil against predictions for San Francisco 2013, working on the successful cyclors-powered 50-foot catamaran that won back the Auld Mug at Bermuda 2017, and now bringing his skills to the table to produce the incredible 75-foot foiling monohulls.
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“If we wanted to have fun on a monohull, we would have to … remove the keel. This idea was almost intuitive,” Verdier told the latest edition of Paris Match.
The performance levels of these giant monohulls have continued to amaze, though teams have been vague on the top speeds they have achieved.
Verdier said it was likely these boats would reach the magical 100kmh mark, which roughly translates to 54 knots.
The French magazine suggested that might already have been achieved, even claiming the Kiwis had done a notch or two above that in training.
Certainly the 100kmh mark seems increasingly attainable with all the teams growing more comfortable in the upper wind limits they have been pushing during practice.
Te Rehutai registered the top speed at the recent world series warm-up regatta, clocking 49.1 knots (90.1 kmh) on the opening day when the boats debuted in south-westerlies blowing between 15 and 19 knots.
Stuff understands Team New Zealand’s first generation AC75 Te Aihe recorded 51 knots (94.4kmh) during training and the Kiwis have made significant gains with the design and performance of their new boat since then.
The upper wind limits for the Prada Cup final and the America’s Cup match have been set at 23 knots and teams are expecting the 50 knots (92.6kmh) barrier to be broken regularly if the winds blow at the top end.
Freddie Carr, the veteran British grinder aboard INEOS Team UK’s Britannia, predicted 55 knots (101.8kmh) could be achieved during the tricky bear-away move at the top marks as the boats turn and accelerate down wind.
All three challengers acknowledged Team New Zealand had shown a speed advantage during the first taste of official racing in these AC75s, held over four days pre-Christmas.
There is plenty of time for development by all four syndicates, but it was a promising sign for the Kiwis in a competition where the golden formula consistently says: The fastest boat always wins.
Verdier is considered a genius of yachting’s foiling revolution and has managed to achieve remarkable success with getting big boats out of the water and moving fast.
His foiling designs dominated the current Vendee Globe solo non-stop round the world race.
He has designed the foiling version of the 60-foot yachts to be introduced to the famous Ocean Race round the world teams event that will stage its 14th running, starting in October 2022.
* An earlier version of this story had as its headline that Team NZ breaks 100kmh, but this has been modified to say the boats are capable of reaching this speed.