Aerodynamics could be a defining factor for America's Cup success in 2021.

The AC75 is expected to reach high speeds on the Waitemata Harbour as they rise on their foils and glide over the water.

Launching their first race boat today, Team New Zealand have indicated just how important the aerodynamic aspect of the design is going to be, with the grinders positioned in cockpits below deck to combat the conditions.

"Keeping your heads and bodies out of the wind with boat that are really high performance is quite key to moving the boat through not only the water but the air now as well," Team New Zealand's Glenn Ashby explained.


"Our grinders are going to be working pretty hard to provide the power to the boat, but we've got to cross sides a lot and manoeuvre around … aerodynamically it's certainly something that's been a big consideration with this boat, for sure.

"They're bloody complicated boats and to get ours on the water after being pretty much last getting our foil arms, the turnaround that our guys have been able to do to get that boat on the water now is phenomenal. It is a strength and hopefully we can build from that strength to move forwards."

The Kiwi outfit were the first syndicate to launch a full-scale AC75, however a number of others are expected to do so in the coming days.

Team New Zealand sailor Peter Burling said he expected to see the other teams run with similar designs for their vessels, at least in the first race boat.

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling at the launch of Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75. Photo / Michael Craig
Blair Tuke and Peter Burling at the launch of Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75. Photo / Michael Craig

"Keeping the guys out of the wind and providing the power the boat needs to sail we felt was a big attribute and I'm sure we'll see other teams running similar programs when they launch their boats over the next few days."

The defending syndicate planned to get out on the water as soon as conditions allowed it, with light winds ideal for the initial stages of sailing.

With the first event of the America's Cup World Series scheduled for late April next year in Sardinia, the time pressure doesn't let up after launching their first race boat.

With a second boat in the works, the crew will need to find a balance between finding their footing on the water with the AC75 in preparation for the regatta in Sardinia and working on any changes needed for the second boat.


Team New Zealand designer Dan Bernasconi said the team only had a short window to learn what they needed to from this vessel before diving into the build of the second boat, which will likely be the one raced in 2021.

"I think the hard bit, and it will be a really hard boat to sail, will actually be disconnecting from the chase boat, veering away and accelerating from say five knots to 15 knots before you take off," he said.

"We've being sailing in our simulator with this boat and we've already learned a lot from going through the motions of that. It's always going to be a little bit different on the water; it is definitely going to be a challenging boat to sail. We'll definitely make some mistakes in the early days; it's a steep learning curve but I think we'll get there."

America's Cup AC75 in numbers

Hull length:

20.7m plus 2m bowsprit

Maximum beam: 5m

Weight: 6.5T

Mast height: 26.5m from deck

Sails: 135-145sqm mainsail, 90sqm jib, 200sqm code zero

Rudder: Centreline T foil, 3.5m maximum draft, 3m maximum span

Foils: Twin-canting T foils, 5m maximum draft, 4m wing span

Crew: 11 sailors (960-990kg combined weight)

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