America’s Cup: Smaller Boats To Reduce Cost

March 26, 2015

The competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup are planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat.

“After reviewing prototypes of the new AC45 sports boats being tested on the water over the past several months, it is clear that if we raced smaller boats in 2017, we could dramatically reduce costs without sacrificing any of the spectacle or the design, engineering and athletic challenge fundamental to the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.

Photo courtesy of Sander van der Borch – Artemis Racing

Photo Credits to Sander van der Borch - Artemis Racing

“We have a responsibility to think of what is best for the long term health of the America’s Cup as well as improving the value equation for team principals and partners. Racing a smaller boat in 2017 and beyond is a big step in the right direction.

“The existing operational costs of teams is much too high with a boat like the AC62. We discussed making this change early last year at a Competitors meeting in London but at that stage only ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand were in favor of using a smaller boat.

“But now that the teams have seen these new boats in action there is a clear majority of competitors who support the idea. I’d like to be able to say we have unanimous support from all the teams but that is not the case.”

Photo courtesy of Balazs Gardi – Oracle Team USA

Photo Credits to Balazs Gardi - ORACLE TEAM USA

Boat speed in the new boat is expected to be similar to what was achieved in the last America’s Cup through increased time foiling and advances in design and engineering.

“This will be a big change, but it is a necessary one if we are to create a sustainable America’s Cup for the future,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal of Ben Ainslie Racing. “These boats will create a significant cost saving whilst still providing a real challenge for sailors and designers alike.”

“For Team France this will be a game-changer,” said skipper Franck Cammas. “We will be able to have a very competitive team for about half the budget. With the smaller boat we can imagine that a budget between €15-20 million would be enough to win the America’s Cup.”

To lock in the cost saving measures over the long-term several competitors, including Artemis Racing, have committed to using the new smaller class in the next edition of the America’s Cup should they prevail in this one.

“These changes may help some current teams be more competitive, but this is clearly also about building the future of the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, the team manager of Artemis Racing.

“By making a commitment now to using the smaller boat next time, it will be that much easier for new teams to join as they’ll have access to existing boats and technology. So this has required us to look a little bit beyond the scope of ‘what’s in it for us?’.”

The rule changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote on these changes before the end of March.

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Comments (21)

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  1. C James says:

    I certainly hope they will ask Grassroots Bermudians to build these new boats. However I expect it will be foreigners who are given this job over Grassroots Bermudians.

    My ace boy fixed a flat on his carbon fibre bike – so he could do it – maybe.

    • lolwut says:

      Ya man do palmetto thatched sails and cedar wood foils.

    • Coffee says:

      Grassroots Bermudians usually have nothing to do with non-mariners . You’ll find boat builders aplenty , unapologetically drunk and letting it all hang out on a certain Sunday at Mangrove Bay !

    • Mockingjay says:

      I guess everyone realizes that Bermuda is too expensive.

      • C James says:

        Mock: You should recommend that we get more PRCs so we can share the expense.

        • C James says:

          Or have the after party at the PRC (Police Recreation Club).

    • Onion says:

      Duct tape. Duct tape everywhere.

    • Cardine Alice says:

      O for F-sake. You go train with the international engineers and earn the right to design and build these. Or sit on de island and carve out canoes! Really….

  2. Lois Frederick says:

    Looks like we will find out in the next week whether they use the smaller boats or not. Makes sense to me. I think the real reason might be that the AC 65 is too big for the Bermuda course, as the Bermuda course has been described as tight and small by those that have been testing it over the last few months and they were using even small boats.

    • biggadon says:

      I have been thinking that all along that the great sound is to small…. I had the pleasure of seeing some AC races in San Francisco and San Francisco bay has wayyyyy more room to maneuver those crafts!

    • Person who knows a little says:

      It will probably take more than a week for this to be finalized and although our course is smaller than they are used to it is big enough for tight multiple lap racing(which is what they want) except when the wind is out of the west. But the wind is still predominantly out of the south west to southeast around the time the race is scheduled so it shouldn’t be that bad. In saying this i still do think a small bout could be better to offer a higher potential of late entries into the race.

  3. Skink says:

    Like Bermudians have any experience building these types of boats… with the precision and accuracy required for racing…. We don’t even have the facilities to produce the parts….

    • C James says:

      My bye darm de boatyard near Crow lane could do it. He even fixed a dent in a beemer once.

    • Person who knows a little says:

      It was clearly sarcasm. relax.

  4. Weather Bird says:

    How bout we build and race some foiling Bermuda Fitted Dinghy’s?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I’d just like to see the teams compete in a regular fitted dinghy race, Bermuda fitted dinghy race rules. Ought to be an experience they won’t forget.

  5. reggie says:

    we can build these boats in Bermuda. Lots of scientists around.

  6. anydeeng says:

    Passive aggressive anonymous commenters lol. Pretentious snobs

  7. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    hahaha!…billionaire boy’s club crying poverty…gimme a break…