What’s In A Name? America’s Cup Boats

May 13, 2017

What’s in a name? For the 35th America’s Cup teams, the answer is quite a lot actually!

While each of the teams’ highly sophisticated and innovative catamaran-style America’s Cup Class [ACC] boats had to be built to a design rule, their boat names hold individual character and significance to each of the respective teams.

For Artemis Racing the naming process was based predominantly on one of the dominant colours of the team’s native Sweden. ‘Magic Blue’ as it was christened, is adorned in a striking deep blue colour with Team Principal Torbjörn Törnqvist taking the lead on deciding the name.

“It is a beautiful, beautiful blue colour, and I believe the boat will be magic,” said Törnqvist when the boat was launched in Bermuda.

America’s Cup Bermuda May 2017 (2)

Emirates Team New Zealand have once again looked back to their nation’s origins in the naming of their ACC boat, opting for ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’, the same name as their previous America’s Cup campaign.

The significance of the word Aotearoa is that it is the Maori name for the country of New Zealand. The literal translation of Aotearoa is “land of the long white cloud”.

Emirates Team New Zealand prepare for their first day sailing in Bermuda

The team made reference to the link in their unveiling ceremony when their ACC boat was blessed by a member of the Ngāti Whātua, a Maori tribe of the Northland Peninsula and Auckland in New Zealand.

For Groupama Team France the naming process was seemingly simple. The decision was taken to keep it easy to remember and reinforce the relationship between the team, its key Partner and the boat by naming it Groupama Team France.

The livery design, reflecting the nation’s colours, was made by Jean-Baptiste Epron. an experienced sailor-turned boat stylist who has also raced alongside Groupama Team France’s Skipper Franck Cammas.

America’s Cup Bermuda May 2017 (4)

On the design of the boat he said, “Green and orange, which are the historical colours of the sponsor of Franck Cammas, I switched to the red, white, blue, with a specification stipulating to respect the tricolour flag.

“On this project, we moved from a boat in the colours of Groupama to the same boat, but under the colours of Groupama Team France. It was therefore necessary to find a new identity in relation to the French team.

“From there, we tried many different ways to arrive at something symbolizing France, the values that this team has and a visual identity that can inspire other partners to participate in the adventure.”

America’s Cup Bermuda May 2017 (5)

SoftBank Team Japan gave the honour of naming their boat to their fans and they did not disappoint with “Hikari” finally being selected from the hundreds of entries.

The word, which translates to “flash of light”, was given the seal of approval by the team’s General Manager Kazuhiko ‘Fuku’ Sofuku at the official unveiling in Bermdua. That event included pouring a ceremonial “masu” [a traditional measuring cup made of cypress to serve sake] of Hakkaisan Sake over the bow of the new yacht and a Japanese Oharai purification ceremony performed by Shinto Priest Kai Guji.

“Our initial feelings are that the name is very appropriate,” said Sofuku. “The Japanese community did a great job in picking this name. Hikari is going to be faster than our previous AC45S boat and maybe she will even go as fast as the speed of light, shine like a flash of lighting, and show our country a ray of hope in winning the 35th America’s Cup.”

America’s Cup Bermuda May 2017 (6)

Many Land Rover BAR fans may be looking to the skies during racing this summer as a British team looks to bring the Auld Mug home for the first time in the competition’s 166-year history. “Rita”, named after the patron saint of impossible causes and impossible dreams, may finally be the answer to their prayers.

The story behind the name goes back to 1992, to an Optimist World Championships in Tenerife. Sir Ben Ainslie’s mother Susan was travelling with him, and when he went sailing, she headed off to do some sight-seeing. She found a church – in the middle of nowhere as the team’s Team Principal and Skipper recalls the story – dedicated to Saint Rita.

ORACLE TEAM USA training in Bermuda

“She brought back this little badge of St. Rita, and sewed it into my lifejacket. It ended up being a good event for me, so after that we decided that we should call the boat Rita, and that boat did quite well. So when it came to a new boat, we decided that it had to be called Rita too”.

Meanwhile, Oracle Team USA opted to christen their boat 17! Why 17? Find out here.

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