America’s Cup – Swiss Boat One roll out


The magnificent Port Vell base of Alinghi Red Bull Racing was the hottest ticket in Barcelona for friends, family, sponsors and dignitaries from Spain and around the world for the ‘reveal’ and roll-out of the AC75 that the whole of Switzerland is hoping will bring the two-time winners more glory at the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup.

With the Alinghi Red Bull Racing bell – a huge brass bell engraved with the team logo that they use for every dock-out – tolling the arrival of ‘BoatOne’ as she slid from her shed under the spotlights, with scenic music and faux-smoke, this was classic Swiss dramatism at its very best. 

To ooh’s and aah’s from the assembled crowd and hundreds peering over the fence to get a first look as the hull form came into slow view, what was revealed was a dead straight, ultra-slender bow profile leading the way back to a long, tapered bustle trailing all the way aft along the centreline and ending right in the stern beneath the communications tower. In the dark and the dramatic smoke, it was tough to see precisely the form, and the suspicion is more bulbous forward before the taper aft, but this will all be revealed in the coming days. The aggressive flaring of the deck off the bustle is key for the expected wavy conditions in Barcelona with the aim of promoting super-fast flight.

The bow detail is interesting with what look like ‘bumps’ just aft of the stem which could be used to capitalise on the ‘Venturi’ effect and send air molecules upwards to the jib creating greater pressure along the foot or could simply be there for volume to help lift the boat after a nosedive – remember this boat is the product of thousands of hours of computer simulation and airflow work and the detailing will be extraordinary.

The big news though was saved for last as BoatOne revealed its cut-away cockpit at the stern leaving a good 10 feet of open area and just carbon sidewalls that abruptly end. The rule change for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup means no backstays so weight reduction here is paramount and with the crew-members, now down to just eight, not crossing as they did in the last competition, their concentration is all around the foil area. Expect to see the team continue with inboard cyclors and just two pod positions either side for the two helms and two trimmers – again to be confirmed when BoatOne has its official launch in the coming weeks.

The shot of the night however was, with the boat fully out from the shed, a team of acrobats from the renowned Catalan urban theatre troupe, La Fura Dels Baus, mesmerizing the audience with their interpretation of ‘human sails’ on the AC75 – just incredible to witness.

A fantastic evening for the hard-charging Swiss and the body language of the team members as they filed smartly onto the base in team uniform was one of unity and excitement. Alinghi Red Bull Racing know that they are right in the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and ‘BoatOne’ looks fast. The devil will be in the detail. 

As the late, great multiple-winning America’s Cup designer, Olin Stephens, once said: “If a boat looks fast, she normally is.” Expectations are, quite rightly, rising at Alinghi Red Bull Racing.

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