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It’s time for the talking to stop; the action on the water is about to start. The America’s Cup has always been surrounded by secrets, rumours and speculation, but with all the America’s Cup World Series races of 2020 cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the four teams preparing for the 36th America’s Cup have found themselves in a truly bizarre situation.
After spending much of the year geographically isolated from each other, the only clues they have had to the relative performances of their first AC75s came from reconnaissance missions and simulator data. Perhaps this partly explains why the second generation designs that have been recently unveiled by Emirates Team New Zealand, INEOS Team UK, Luna Rossa and American Magic are more divergent than many expected? Matt Sheahan casts his expert eye over the design choices made by the four teams to explain why they might look so different (see below).
All four second generation America’s Cup have now been training out of Auckland over recent weeks, enjoying the southern summer as well as the freedoms of a nation released from lockdown. Unsurprisingly, cameras have followed their every move and the speculation about who looks fastest has stepped up a gear. But until these radical foiling monohulls line up against each other in a true race scenario, it will be impossible to know who has been holding back, and which boats have the most potential. The first racing takes place from December 17-20, and we will be following closely.
Elsewhere in the January issue of Yachting World magazine, out now, we meet the cruisers who were determined to complete their ARC crossing and find out how they prepared, discover how Vendée Globe skippers balance risk and reward in mid-ocean storms, and test the Bavaria C42 – potentially a new benchmark in the popular 40ft cruiser market.-Helen Fretter