Wingsailed 72ft catamaran to transform America’s Cup racing

AC72 Class Rule finalized and published

From concept to completed Class Rule in less than four months, full details of the new high-performance wingsailed catamaran were published today.

The AC72 wingsailed catamaran - the final design rule is now available to prospective challengers and defenders alike.

The spectacular AC72 catamaran ensures that the 34th America’s Cup will feature the best sailors in the world on the fastest boats.

The AC72 Class Rule moves America’s Cup racing to catamarans with a speed potential of three times the wind speed, putting the venerable competition back at the forefront of technology.

The finalized class rule represents a tireless effort by Pete Melvin and his team at Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering Inc to create a new boat on behalf of the America’s Cup community.

On July 2, to ensure the rule was created independently, the defending Golden Gate Yacht Club and its sailing team BMW ORACLE Racing presented a two page concept paper to US SAILING and Morrelli & Melvin and asked them to turn it into a fully- formed multihull design rule.

Throughout the AC72’s gestation, the fundamental requirements have remained unchanged:

•    Ensure fast, exciting racing
•    Challenge sailors and designers
•    Capture fans’ imagination
•    Be versatile across the wind range, to minimize race delays
•    Be capable of competitive racing in light and strong winds
•    Incorporate wide-ranging cost-reduction features

“The AC72s will look amazing, will be very fast, and will take the America’s Cup into a new dimension,” said Melvin, himself a multihull champion.

“There will be nothing else like them, which perfectly matches the allure and appeal of the America’s Cup,” Melvin added. “We are grateful for the input of many, many designers, sailors and other experts.”

On September 16 a draft was circulated to potential teams and the sailing community at large. Since then over 500 comments were received and assimilated by Melvin’s team. Many have been incorporated into the final rule, including significant cost-reduction initiatives compared to the 32nd America’s Cup:

•    11-person crews (reduced from 17 on ACC class monohulls)
•    Boat lengths reduced to 72 feet from 82 feet
•    No-sailing periods enforced
•    Simple crane lift in/lift out – no special hoists or docks required
•    Shipping and centralized logistics paid for by event
•    Liberalized design rules encouraging non-exclusive design
•    Consolidated competitor facilities at World Series: sail lofts, workshop etc
•    World Series negates need for permanent team fixed-bases
•    Centralized meteorological service and ban on weather boats

Teams may design and build a maximum of two AC72 catamarans. The AC72s will be raced from the 2012 season onwards in America’s Cup World Series events that will lead to the Selection Series and the America’s Cup Match in 2013.

In 2011, teams will compete in identical AC45’s, “the little sister with attitude.” This one-design catamaran will provide teams with state-of-the-art wingsail technology and fast-track their multihull racing skills.

The AC72 Class Rule is available for download at:

A full fact sheet on the AC72 is available for download here.