Following many months of work and consultation with designers, sailors, teams, and the America's Cup community, Version Five of the America's Cup Class Rule has been published.
The result is boats that are lighter, quicker, more responsive and exciting, for sailors and spectators alike.
Version Five of the America's Cup Class Rule makes a number of small, significant changes with a view to 'turbo-charging' the boats for the Mediterranean venue of the 32nd America's Cup. The goal was to make America's Cup racing closer, more vibrant and compelling, and increase the possibility of place changes downwind.
Work on a new draft of the Class Rule began nearly immediately following Alinghi's victory in the 31st America's Cup in March 2003. The parties responsible for the America's Cup Class Rule are the Defender, the Société Nautique de Genève, the Challenger of Record, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the event authority, AC Management, represented by the Class Technical Director, Ken McAlpine.
Since 1992, the America's Cup Class (ACC) has been the type of boat used for America's Cup competition. The intention of the America's Cup Class Rule is to produce "wholesome, fast and manoeuvrable day sailing monohulls of similar performance intended for spectacular match racing in a wide wind range."
Further, the ACC rule develops yachts that are suited for racing 'around the buoys' as opposed to offshore sailing, and fosters "design developments that will flow through to the mainstream of yachting."
At the end of each America's Cup cycle, modifications and adjustments to the Class Rule are made in anticipation of its use for the following America's Cup.
With the announcement of Valencia, Spain as the host city for the 32nd America's Cup, the parties felt some small, yet significant changes were appropriate. Among the developments:
- A drop of one tonne in maximum allowable displacement
- An increase in maximum allowable draft of 100mm
- An increase in allowable downwind sail area of up to 8%
- An increase in working crew, from 16 to 17
- A general narrowing of permissible design parameters
The drop in displacement, and increase in draft, coupled with the increase in downwind sail area, should make for much more lively performance off the wind, and increase passing opportunities on the runs. The increase in crew will help the sailors tackle that extra horsepower, while a narrowing of design parameters is intended to keep the racing close.
Boats measured to Version Four of the ACC Rule for the last America's Cup will be permitted to sail in the 2004 pre-regattas. By 2005, Version Five of the ACC Rule comes into force. For older boats to comply some simple modifications will be required to bring the hulls back into class. The biggest part of this will entail hanging the bulb (with 1000kg of lead removed) 100mm lower. This will give an ACC yacht similar stability to the old configuration, and the same speed upwind.
But, with up to 8% more sail area downwind, a longer spinnaker pole, and 4% less displacement, the new rule will make for a more interesting boat downwind; one that will accelerate better, respond to gusts more quickly, and ultimately sail faster through the water.
Version Five of the ACC Rule is available online at www.americascup.com
With Valencia as host city, SNG has provisionally scheduled the 32nd Match to start on 23 June 2007 in a first to win five race series, and it will be preceded by the Louis Vuitton Challenger races and a Fleet Race Series scheduled to begin on 3 April 2007, ending on Easter Weekend.
Governed by a vision to promote a competitive sporting regatta for all competitors, and to encourage the world-wide growth and interest in the America's Cup as the premier event in sailing, AC Management, the event organising authority, has also been working diligently with the Defender and Challenger of Record to produce the Terms of Challenge, a document outlined in the America's Cup Protocol that defines the rights and obligations of all participants.
The issuance of the Terms of Challenge for the 32nd America's Cup has been - by agreement between the Challenger of Record and the Defender, postponed to a later date which will be confirmed on the America's cup website at the address below.