Thursday, 14 July 2011

America's Cup : Aleph's AC45 is Number Nine

AC45 number nine. Image copyright ACEA.

by America's Cup media

Aleph’s AC45 is currently being assembled in Lisbon’s Pilot Docks ready for the first ACWS regatta that is a little less than a month away now. The first elements of the offical French 34th America’s Cup Challenger team have arrived in Portugal to begin the assembly of the brand new boat.

So what is this AC45 all about? Designed by the Oracle Racing Team and built by Core Builders, the AC45 is a One Design racing catamaran, that measures in, as its name suggests, at 45 foot overall (13.7 metres). One Design means that the boat’s design is fixed by exacting rules and every team racing these boats has essentially identical equipment. The protoype was launched early in the New Year in Auckland and from what was learnt from building and testing this boat a production run of 10 boats has been built, by various different New Zealand companies.

AC45 number nine. Image copyright ACEA

Several of the other teams have already received their boats and have been sailing them at the New Zealand and San Francisco test events. However, five of the challengers, including ALEPH, are receiving their ‘kit’ in Lisbon and will assemble and sail them from there before moving up to Cascais on 28th July, ready for the first America’s Cup World Series regatta which starts on 6th August.

A catamaran, like no other boat, is easy to understand in component parts – there are hulls, beams, rudders, daggerboards and in the case of the AC45 a two element solid wing sail. All of these parts have been built as a limited production run to exacting standards and then shipped to Lisbon as a set. ALEPH’s set is the ninth set, and so the sail number/hull number will be number nine.

AC45s can be very wet on board! Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

Putting all these parts together to make one AC45 is the job of the ALEPH shore crew with, for the first assembly, assistance from the Core Builders team. They started work today and will continue right through the weekend, even though Thursday is Bastille Day, France’s National Day. On Monday and Tuesday the team’s identity will be applied to the wing and hulls and on Thursday 21st July the team will sail it for the first time.

So what of the number NINE? Well in English at least there are several links between cats and the number nine – nine lives of a cat, a cat o’ nine tails – we’ll probably use all nine lives and hopefully wont need a cat o’ nine tails to keep the show on the road!!!!

ALPEH Equipe de France
America's Cup