Secrecy and intrigue have been part and parcel of the America’s Cup since 1983 when the Australians hid their 12 Metre’s winged keel in plastic, beat Dennis Conner, and hauled the Auld Mug Down Under.
Preparations for the 36th America’s Cup, which will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2021, also involve cloak and dagger mystery.
Last week, the American Magic team, comprised of Bella Mente Racing, Quantum Racing and the New York Yacht Club, moved their first AC75 from their Bristol, Rhode Island, production plant to their Portsmouth, Rhode Island, waterfront facility. American Magic has been training with their half-sized prototype, called The Mule, in Rhode Island and Pensacola, Florida, since last year.
The campaign released an edgy video to announce the early morning move, which required a large truck and support vehicles to get the oversized hull (it’s almost 70 feet long without the bowsprit and almost two lanes wide) over a bridge and down the road.
Of course, she was wrapped in plastic to hide her shape from the competitions’ prying eyes. The Italian Luna Rossa team did the same thing earlier this month when they moved their first AC75 hull from their production facility in Bergamo, Italy, to Sardinia.
This America’s Cup campaign has not been without its challenges. Although the AC75s require few one-design parts—just the foil arms and electro-mechanical foil raising mechanism—those foils have not been delivered on time.
The defenders, Emirates Team New Zealand, finally took delivery of their foiling arms last week. The delivery had been delayed because the first prototype failed to meet the minimum standard during destruction testing and the design had to be beefed up.
The secrecy surrounding the new AC75 America's Cup class is due to a class rule that is expected to bring a lot of disparity in the teams’ design choices. It will be interesting to see what the various boats will look like. Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa, has announced that they will launch their AC75 on September 9 at Cagliari, Italy.
Stay tuned. The secrecy is about to end.