America's Cup : cap sur les Bermudes

America’s Cup 2017: Everything You Need To Know 

Words : JOSH DEAN 
Photography : Sam Greenfield / ORACLE TEAM USA

What is it that makes the 35th edition of the America’s Cup, starting on May 26, so special? We take a look at the youngest and smallest crews, fastest boats and skippers who are ready to give everything
Increased speeds, new technologies

Over the last decade, the speed of yacht racing has increased by a factor of five and the age of the competitors has dropped by 10 years. When the 35th edition of the America’s Cup takes place in Bermuda in June and the new AC50 catamaran, it will mark the beginning of an entirely new sport.

Learn more about its history and developments here:

America's Cup: How yachting's premier contest has gone next-level

The smallest (but fastest) boats in the AC's history In 1903, the Reliance, at 61m long, was the largest boat ever to win the America's Cup.

from single-hulled tanks to flying catamarans

Following the first America’s Cup in 1851 – and for the majority of the event’s history – gains in speed were incremental. Thanks to the arrival of hydrofoils in 2013, boats now literally fly above the surface. With the new AC50, it’s like Formula One on the water. 

Learn more about the AC50 catamaran here:

America's Cup: A closer look at the flying catamarans

The primary sail on the AC50 is actually a rigid wing, not a sail. But instead of providing upward lift, as it would on a plane, this wing pushes the boat forward in the water. Airbus helped design the wing, which has a carbon-fibre skeleton and is wrapped in a plastic film known as Clysar.

A crew that is extremely fit

The AC72 yachts at the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco required a crew of 11. In Bermuda this year, just six men will serve on each AC50 racing yacht. Forget the image of rotund guys wearing blazers – these sailors are svelte athletes.

Here’s more about their functions on the boat and how they stay fit:  

America's Cup: A closer look at the crew and their insane fitness levels

Before 2013, the America's Cup was a very different sport. "It was not very physical," says Oracle Team USA trainer Craig McFarlane. There were always grinders, but they worked hard for short periods and then rested. The grinders on the Oracle team this time will be at 91 to 93 per cent of their maximum heart rate for the entire 22-minute race.

Jimmy Spithill, the revolutionary helmsman

Since his America’s Cup debut at 20, skipper Jimmy Spithill has been at the forefront of revolutionary changes in the world of sailing. This year, the Oracle Team USA helmsman is aiming for his thrid America’s Cup win. 

Learn more about new technologies and increased risks in this interview with Spithill:

Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill's quest for greatness

JIMMY SPITHILL: The biggest difference is that we've got six competitive teams. Last time, we really only had two competitive teams: ourselves and Team New Zealand. But now everyone's got the talent, resources and technology, so there are no excuses, and we're seeing that out there on the water.

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06 2017 The Red Bulletin

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