Coutts: AC Race Boats Getting Close To 93KM/H

April 30, 2017

More America’s Cup Class [ACC] practice racing has been taking place on Bermuda’s Great Sound, with all six America’s Cup teams now taking part on the racecourse that will be used in the 35th America’s Cup, with Sir Russell Coutts saying the “performance of the boats is incredibly impressive” and “we’re getting close to that 50 knot [57mph/93kph] speed barrier.”

Emirates Team New Zealand were the last team to arrive in the home of the 35thAmerica’s Cup but quickly had their ACC boat re-commissioned and out on the crystal clear waters of Bermuda.

Their first bout of unofficial practice racing with other America’s Cup teams was on Friday 28th April when they lined up against Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France with the Kiwis winning against the Swedes, albeit with Artemis Racing not engaging in the pre-start, and then failing to finish their first race against the French team but winning their second.

SoftBank Team Japan and Oracle Team USA speed run

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby commented, “We learnt plenty today, but the main thing that sticks out is just how close all of the boats are in performance, and therefore how close the racing is going to be.

“It could very well come down to the finest design detail or smallest mistake on the water that is the difference between winning and losing at any stage of the competition.”

Artemis Racing continued their strong form, but over the four days of racing all six teams recorded victories.

Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of the America’s Cup, and the most successful sailor in America’s Cup history, had been watching the practice racing out on the water and gave this assessment, “This past week we’ve seen all six teams here for the America’s Cup out on the water.

“Definitely Artemis Racing are still the form team – if we were racing the America’s Cup today they’d have to be the favourite. The French have started to improve the control of their boat and we’ve seen some improvement from Land Rover BAR, and we’ve seen the introduction of some of the lightwind boards by some of the teams.

Slideshow of this month’s practice racing, photos by Austin Wong/ACEA


“The revolution with this America’s Cup has been quite incredible but there’s still a long way to go with some of the teams in terms of their reliability. A lot is still changing.

“It’s too early to predict who’s going to be strong in this America’s Cup but the performance of the boats is incredibly impressive. We’ve certainly seen speeds of 47 knots, some even at 48 knots, so we’re getting close to that 50 knot [57mph/93kph] speed barrier.”

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Comments (10)

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  1. Point boy says:

    That’s some impressive speed. Looking forward to watching the main event.

    Hope you all enjoy your time in Bermuda!

    Just keep those speeds on the water and not our narrow roads. Lol

  2. Point boy says:

    I’m going for team Oracle. They brought the AC to our Bermuda shores. With England a close second. Can’t forget our British ties.

    Hope we have some good wind this time

  3. Water slug says:

    Boat speed shouldn’t be important in match racing. This is where Coutts is screwing with the AC. It should be about tactics and boat handling, not fastest between two points

    • serengeti says:

      You might be overlooking the fact that it’s a race. Speed is kind of helpful.

    • Onion says:

      It is. Boat handling is far more important in fast boats than slow ones. One imperfect tack and you lose 100m or more… one bad tack and you’re out of the race.

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    As a non sailor can anyone explain or point to a site that explains how these things do multiples of available wind speed?

    Picture yourself on the deck of a 18th century sailing ship & one of these things comes screaming over the horizon & past you. How would you explain it to people onshore?

    • Ra's al Ghul says:

      “Demonic Harry Potter” sorcery according to some.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      It’s actually easier to explain how they can exceed the wind speed than it is to explain how this event has been racialised and politicised by ‘certain people’ .

    • wedge says:

      Trying to describe in layman terms, think of a squeezing a pea in a pod. You apply a lot of force but the actual speed is low, but when the pod pops out it does so really fast.

      So the boat is being squeezed between the wind forces and the resistance by the foils and so accelerates much faster than the speed of the wind. If you were to try go in the exact same direction as the wind then there would be no pinching by this wedge and therefore the speed would be no faster and actually less than the windspeed.

  5. Doug K says:

    actually, racing by definition is entirely about being the fastest between two points