Team Japan step up preparations
SoftBank Team Japan cranked up their preparations for the 35th America’s Cup after the challenger launched its AC45S test platform last week.
The launch of the wing-sail foiling catamaran the team took delivery of from Oracle Team USA, the defender, last month marks another milestone in the design race for the team.
Team Japan’s sailors took full advantage of the ideal conditions on offer in the Great Sound last Friday to start getting to grips with the handling characteristics of the AC45S.
The AC45 Sport boat is a customised next-generation version of the one-design AC45F the team races in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
It features hydraulics and control systems that allow the sailors greater command of the wing sail and foils that help the yacht reach speeds of over 40mph.
The data analysis collected from the test boat will directly impact the design of the team’s future AC50 race yacht — a new class of boat the team will build later this year.
“We’re very fortunate to have access to the amazing technology in the Oracle design package,” Dean Barker, the Team Japan CEO and skipper, said.
“The level and skill of the team there is undisputable.
“For us it’s a great starting point and anything that we can take, learn, and develop from them gives us a great opportunity to be successful.
As with all cup teams at this juncture, daggerboard-foil design will be a top priority in the development phase as Team Japan narrows down which shapes will go into production for their future AC50.
“The way the protocol works is you’re only ever allowed to fit four boards [two sets] into the AC50,” Nick Holroyd, the Team Japan technical director, said. “Depending on how you want to design those — for wind range, sea state, stability, etc — then the first set you launch the boat with will be one of your racing sets. You’re focusing on both the refinement and revolution game at this point so the pressure is on.”