As most will know, the America's Cup started back in 1851, when a fast boat from America challenged all the top boats around southern Britain, for a race around the Isle of Wight, off the coast of England.
Well, the US boat called "America" beat them all and won the elaborate silver challenge cup that we now all know as 'the oldest international trophy on the planet that is still competed for'. The skipper then brought "The Auld Mug" back to the USA and presented it to the NY Yacht Club with instructions that other nations could compete for it in future one-on-one 'match racing' events, provided they met certain criteria.
I do not intend to go more thoroughly into the early story than that, as there's plenty of history on line if anyone is interested. You might start here: America's Cup - History. See also this article on The J-Boats and their rebirth!
The important thing is that boats created for this amazing competition represent the ultimate developments in sailboat design for their boat type and year of competition, so they are drivers of the sport and what is possible. Somewhat akin to a space program, they may even open doors to exciting new ways for marine transportation
We've come a LONG way since 1851 and seen LOTS of changes in the boats developed & raced —so, if interested, check back on the 2013-2017-2021 America's Cup Reports on this website for what happened back then. Here's the link for these.
So, for those not yet tuned in, here's a few early words about the 2024 America’s Cup April 2022
As promised, the location for the 37th running of the America’s Cup was announced March 31st 2022, and yahoo!! …. it will be in the historic city of Barcelona, Spain. Cork (Ireland) was a close challenger for the location, but they had to make the hard decision to withdraw at the last moment, as with the date now set for 2024 (just 3 years gap instead of the customary 4), there was just insufficient time to build the infrastructure required. For this, Barcelona had all the advantage as they had already hosted an Olympic event so have adaptable facilities already in place. But either way, it’s a great choice in my opinion, as Europe, with a core of great sailing fans was just too far away from Australia and New Zealand for many fans to ever get there …. and even in Bermuda, the sailing was just too far away from shore to see the exciting action up close.
Barcelona is on the Balearic Sea in the Mediterranean, NE Spain, so well tucked inside the Med and clear of Atlantic ocean swells.
Of course, there will be the “New Zealand First” proponents who were pushing to hold the event again in New Zealand … which with the current protocol they could have done, but imho this decision is far better for the growth of sailing as a whole and even for the future of the America’s Cup too. This sort of racing needs more locations around the globe, not just a few great ones in places that are expensive to reach. The world has changed over the last 50 years and is now much more one community as far as sailing is concerned, with all teams having some crew members from other countries to keep each team as competitive as possible. Personally, I would support the idea that while the winner gets to hold the next Cup in their country (if they so choose), that after one such event, even if they win again, the next one should be held at least 1000 miles away, or even on another continent. If that team wins again, then ok, they deserve to bring it home again for one more event.
Because the team of INEOS Britannia are the Official Challenger of Record this time, they would also have a strong say in where things go and what the new rules will be, so with Cork stepping away, Barcelona would surely be their 2nd choice for cost and convenience.
So what will the races be like? Well, the basic boats will apparently be foiling AC75 mono’s again but upgraded for even higher performance. To me, these boats are like trimarans on steroids, as they have a slim, central (unstable) hull that is stabilized by an outrigger .. but with the difference that it's lift from hydrodynamic foil action and not from a buoyancy pod. The trimaran similarity is what justifies me reporting on this event ;).
Although the new rules are not out yet, we do hear that changes will likely result in a significant reduction in weight (1000kgs or 1 ton has been voiced) so together with added foil refinements, this will reduce the times when a boat falls off the foils in a wind lull (causing a huge disparity in speed) so that racing will likely be closer than ever before.
So this will be a challenge for Grant (Dalton) and his always amazing New Zealand team, but they are clearly committed to coming up with new technologies to again set the bar high, so that whoever wins will truly be at the pinnacle of current racing tech.
So it’s now a 2.1/2 year race to research the latest, newest gizmo to be at that pinnacle, but likely be over a year before the public sailing world will get to see what that will be.
One new item for the NZ Emirates team is a new breakthrough design for a hydrogen powered (thanks Toyota) chase-boat that keeps the pollution factor down to zero! This foiling catamaran (aptly named Chase-Zero), was apparently developed and built in little more than 6 months so is another feather-in-the-cap of the creative NZ design team. See an early test run here.
The NZ team report this .... Chase Zero has been progressing through a highly measured and stringent commissioning process with every element of the Hydrogen powered boat tested independently and collectively, before bringing it up to foiling flight mode at 20-knots boat speed with the ETNZ developed auto pilot in control of the ride height.
I will update this Americas Cup posting, if/when something significant comes out.
Let’s all hope that impromptu viruses or unjustified wars do not get in the way.
Mike ... 2022
Note: Mike Waters has no direct connection to the America's Cup organizers. Views given are totally those of the writer and may disagree with official releases or other published data. While info has been reasonably researched and believed to be correct, there can be no guarantee of absolute accuracy. His opinions are purely personal ones covering his assessment of the situation based on data currently publicly available.