The sober Spithill: “This is the boat we will use to win the America’s Cup.” Oracle launches the AC50

Back-and-forth. Team New Zealand launches its “pedal-powered” AC50, Oracle retaliates with the “bluster” of James Spithill, who at the launch of the new catamaran declares,“This is the boat we will use to win the America’s Cup.” The start of the Bermuda America’s Cup is still more than three months away, but the mood is already psychological warfare.

In the usual star-studded ceremony, defender Oracle Team USA unveiled its new AC50 to the sailing world. A small crowd of journalists gathered outside a hangar, a sliding door opens, and the silhouette of the new flying catamaran emerges among the scenic smoke. Then the Australian helmsman’s muscular and forceful announcements: this is how Oracle responds, with typical defender rhetoric, to Team New Zealand’s design innovations. In defiance of sailor superstition, the new AC50 has been renamed “17.”

Amid so much “smoke,” the most interesting fact from the ceremony held at the U.S. base in Bermuda is one: the U.S. boat has classic coffee grinders. So among the three top teams (the Defender, Land Rover BAR Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand), the only ones to have chosen a different design path are the Kiwis. In the few weeks left before the start of racing, it is to be ruled out that BAR Racing may change its approach and “copy” the New Zealanders, assuming the Kiwi choice proves successful. Different is the case for the defender, who will have more time before the final challenge to be able to study the challengers and may, but it appears difficult, change something in the process.

In this regard, Scott Ferguson, Oracle design team coordinator, pointed out, “Most of the design decisions have been made and are already visible this evening.” The AC50 will go into the water immediately for the first speed tests, we will know more in the coming days.

Mauro Giuffrè




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