In the minds of the America’s Cup management group, bigger is better. AC Management recently unveiled a new America’s Cup design rule, the AC90 Rule, which will result in 90-foot AC boats with 124-foot high masts and more than 5,000 square feet of sail area — not including the spinnaker. These new boats will be big and fast and challenging to their crews.
From the press release: AC Management, as scheduled, published the AC90 Rule marking an exciting milestone in the path to the 33rd America’s Cup. This rule has been crafted over the past six weeks through a design consultation process with all entered challengers, the Defender, and headed by Tom Schnackenberg as the class rule and competition regulations consultant for ACM.
Designers from all six entered teams have met regularly since the design process began on 15 September. Tom Schnackenberg comments on the sessions: “The process has been an invigorating one with the challengers helping enormously in making improvements to the rule. It is amazing how inventive people are in this environment, bouncing ideas off each other, these past six weeks have been a very enjoyable experience.”
The AC90 Rule, in brief, will be 90ft overall maximum length, 6.5m in draft whilst racing and will have a displacement of 23tons. This last parameter was defined by the challengers on their request. Tom adds some insight: “In writing the AC90 Rule we have used the experience gained in forming Version 5 of the America’s Cup Class rule. We have tried to keep it simple because of the short timeframe, while also taking care not to ignore the lessons of the last 18 years of the ACC. The rule is a box rule rather than a rating rule and differs greatly to Version 5 in that the yacht will be big, fast and much more demanding.”
Juan Kouyoumdjian, principal designer for British challenger, TeamOrigin, comments on the result of the design sessions: “To sit in a series of meetings chaired by Tom Schnackenberg and write a class rule for something as significant as the boat to be used for the America’s Cup has been an honour for me personally and a really inspiring experience. The profile of designers, engineers and naval architects representing the challengers and the Defender is, as always, really special. This has been an efficient and productive process and the boat itself will be spectacular: challenging to design, to sail and to race.”
John Cutler, technical director for Desafío Español, adds his take on the result: “We are happy with the process. It has been a lot of hard work for all the teams, the challengers and the Defender, and there have been a lot of changes. The boat will be exciting to sail, a challenge to design and also a challenge for the crew to master. It will provide exciting racing.”