America’s Cup designers from Alinghi and the five challengers attended the first design consultation meeting on Saturday 15 September at the AC Management offices in Valencia.
Tom Schnackenberg, the class rule and competition regulations consultant, on behalf of ACM, submitted the general summary of the rule status and invited comments from the challengers. On the agenda for discussion was the philosophy, which foresees an exciting race boat to watch, in terms of speed, size and power. The 90footer must be physically and technically demanding for the sailors, as Schnackenberg describes: “A boat that harks back to the physical demands in Fremantle for example where every day was raced in 22 knots.”
Many design features need to be straightforward initially due to the tight timeframe that teams will be working within on a two year Cup cycle, but room must be left for substantial future development.
The key dimensions were confirmed as 90ft waterline length and 6.5m draft with a retractable keel to 4.1m, while other key dimensions, including beam, weight and consequently the sail area have been decided based on the infrastructure constraints in Valencia (bases, pontoons, etc). These and the key structural rules will remain confidential to the teams participating in the meetings until the 31 October when the new class rule will be made public.
Tom Schnackenberg commented on the day: “Everyone was very well behaved! I think we have made an excellent start with what is really a very important task. We want this rule to excite designers, sailors and the public alike and to form the foundation of a class that will endure and prosper for a long time.” His positive comments were welcomed by Grant Dalton of Emirates Team New Zealand: “This is a good start to the next Cup and we at TNZ are really excited about the new class. There is no time to lose with such a short Cup cycle and we’re pleased that we’re getting underway.”
The next meeting is scheduled for the 15 October where the design group will discuss the 1st draft of the rule. And meanwhile Schnackenberg will continue to receive input and develop a dialogue with the challengers and Alinghi as part of the design process.
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