Throughout its 160-year history competition for the America’s Cup – the world’s oldest sporting trophy and the most coveted prize in competitive sailing – has been well offshore, where steadier winds are found and there’s plenty of room for the giant boats to manoeuvre.
However, in keeping with the spirit of innovation seen clearly in the America’s Cup World Series that started last summer, the 34th America’s Cup will see the racing take place right next to the San Francisco waterfront, in clear view of spectator crowds.
The course area will stretch almost four miles across the city shoreline, from Piers 27/29 west towards the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Sandwiched between Alcatraz Island and the city shoreline, the racecourse offers up-close viewing from numerous locations along the water front, with Marina Green and Crissy Field among the prime locations, although the exact location of racing on each day will depend on the prevailing weather conditions.
A transit channel has been set up along the shore to allow ferry traffic, boats needing to transit in and out of the marinas as well as commercial fishing boats and other craft, to still operate safely during racing.
The tight course area will provide a dramatic setting for racing the giant AC72 class wing sail catamarans. Outrageously fast and requiring a crew with great athleticism and courage, this new breed of America’s Cup boats are on the cutting edge of design, engineering and technology.
It’s difficult to convey just how different these boats will be to anything we’ve seen before, but suffice to say they weigh less than six tonnes, yet will have a downwind sail area of 660 square metres – that’s an incredible 7,103 square feet.
The first of the new boats – built for Team Oracle in three locations across the globe – is getting closer to completion. However, the rules of the 34th America’s Cup prevent teams launching their 72ft vessels before July 1 this year.
The 2013 America’s Cup season starts on July 4, with the Louis Vuitton Cup (the America’s Cup Challenger Series) leading up to the America’s Cup finals from September 7-22.
AC72 Technical specifications
Hull length: 22.0m (72.18ft)
Maximum Beam: 14.0m (45.93ft)
Wing height: 40.0m (131.23ft)
Wing Area: 260 square metres (2,798 square feet)
Jib Area: 100 square metres (1,076 square feet)
Gennaker Area: 400 square metres (4,305 square feet)
Maximum Draft: 4.4m (14.44ft)
Displacement: 5,900kg (13,007lb)
Crew: 11 people, each of 92 kg (203lb)
All images : © ACEA
Tags: americas cup