The British team speak out about their decision to back the move to smaller catamarans in the America’s Cup
Ben Ainslie Racing has spoken out in support of the move to smaller catamarans in the next America’s Cup, stating faster racing and reduced costs will make for a more exciting and accessible event.
Opportunity for long-term international growth of the sport was also another reason why the British team decided to back the change to AC45s from AC62s.
In a statement, the team said: “The new boats will be able to achieve speeds of close to 50 miles an hour, far faster than any other current racing series in global sailing, and a match for the 72 foot boats that raced the 34th America’s Cup.
“The spectator experience and television product will be undiminished, and perhaps even enhanced as the new boats will be much more manoeuvrable and able to engage more closely in the duel that is the America’s Cup.
“The new class of boat offers a significant opportunity for the long-term international growth of the sport. The smaller size will offer teams potential savings across the essential build and operational costs, allowing more teams to enter, and increasing the depth of the competition.
“The organisers have already indicated that a Japanese entry may well result as a consequence of the changes. It will also create a significantly more sustainable and environmentally-friendly event, something that the team have always supported.”
The decision to switch to smaller boats for the event in 2017 was decided earlier this week by the six team involved in the next event.
A majority of the current teams favoured the new class, with the expectation it will be used in the next edition of the America’s Cup as well, in order to lower the barrier to entry.
The new class will cost significantly less over the life of a campaign, with potential savings across design, build and operations, making it a revolutionary cost-saving measure for the sport.
“This wasn’t an easy process,” admitted ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The established teams, ourselves included, were well down the path of designing an AC62. But there is a bigger picture to consider. We needed to bring the costs down, but we had to respect the design component of the event as that’s always been one of the biggest challenges in winning the America’s Cup.”
A majority of the teams have also now indicated a preference that all of the racing in 2017 be conducted at a single venue, Bermuda. The America’s Cup Event Authority will consider this in nominating a venue for the America’s Cup Qualifiers.