BAR launch test boat

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  • Photograph by Alex Palmer of Land Rover BAR

Flying the flag: Land Rover BAR’s AC45S slices through the water on its hydrofoils during its debut in the Great Sound

    Photograph by Alex Palmer of Land Rover BAR Flying the flag: Land Rover BAR’s AC45S slices through the water on its hydrofoils during its debut in the Great Sound

Land Rover BAR’s most advanced test boat made its debut in the Great Sound last week.

After launching their AC45S foiling catamaran from their Dockyard base, the British challenger took advantage of the ideal foiling conditions on offer and even had the opportunity to line up against America’s Cup rivals Oracle Team USA, Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan.

Christened as “T3”, Land Rover BAR’s AC45S is another test platform for the 50-foot catamaran that the team will use in their bid to become the first English racing syndicate to win the America’s Cup in Bermuda next year.

“This boat will allow us to test and develop across all the key areas that will impact our ultimate performance,” Richard Hopkirk, who heads up Land Rover BAR’s systems and analysis department, said. “It’s a critical progression in the search for fast, stable and continuous flight.”

Sir Ben Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR team principal and skipper, added: “T3 is another fantastic piece of technology from our designers, engineers, shore team and key suppliers.”

Ainslie, a four-times Olympic gold medal winner and two-times King Edward VII Gold Cup winner, defended the “Auld Mug” as a tactician with Oracle Team USA at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013.

Land Rover BAR, who have issued their challenge through the Royal Yacht Squadron, recently shifted their sailing operations from their base in Portsmouth to Bermuda.

About 50 per cent of the team will move to Bermuda, many who will be on rotation from Portsmouth, which will remain the core of the operation and the team’s home.

The team has built a “Virtual Chase Boat” to allow engineers and performance analysts to monitor all the sailing in the Great Sound in real time from Portsmouth.

“While the design and engineering teams will be split, our communications technology will ensure that the team in Portsmouth will be an integral part of the onwards development programme,” Hopkirk said.

“It’s an exciting new way of operating in the America’s Cup, and is closer to the F1 model than what’s been done in the Cup before.”

The America’s Cup Class racing yacht Land Rover BAR will pin their Cup hopes upon is scheduled to arrive in Bermuda this month and be launched either late next month or early February, as rules governing the 35th America’s Cup prohibit teams from launching their ACC boats until after December 27.

“The next few months of sailing and development with our race boat (R1) will be some of the most important in this America’s Cup,” Hopkirk said.

Land Rover BAR won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series to claim two vital bonus points that they will carry into the America’s Cup Qualifiers.

The top four challengers will advance to the America’s Cup Challenger Play-offs with the winner progressing to the America’s Cup Match to face defender Oracle, led by skipper Jimmy Spithill.

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Published Dec 15, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm)

BAR launch test boat

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