© 2024 www.americascup.com


America's Cup - AC 40

37. America's Cup 2024

The racing yacht AC40 - flying over the water with foils - speed over 45 knots

The AC40 racing yacht embodies the latest generation of state-of-the-art sailing technology and is a pinnacle in the development of performance sailing yachts. The boat, its controls, sails, foils and mechanisms are all standardized so there is a strong focus on racing craft, positioning and foils technique to "fly over the water". On the water, each team consists of just four sailors with two oars steering from the front “pod” and two crew members responsible for sails and foils trim sitting in the rear pods. The race promises to be fast and furious as the AC40 can reach speeds of over 45 knots downwind and high 30 knots upwind.
The AC40s are the boats used for the Youth and Women's America's Cup events, as well as as training boats for the teams competing in the 37th Louis Vuitton America's Cup (AC75). Smaller but no less powerful, with a crew of four, these "racing yachts" were launched to great fanfare in September 2022 and their performance was astonishing.

Foils act as wings

The foils act as wings and provide buoyancy, allowing the boat to float above the water. Thanks to the low friction loss, the racing yacht can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h. The AC40s are built at McConaghy's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in New Zealand on a 7-axis CNC machine.

If you sail at speeds over 40 knots, you have little time for tactical decisions

In fact, from a strategic and tactical point of view, these races are very similar to traditional competitions, which involve controlling the opponent and defending one side of the course that is more favourable than the other. The time for strategic decisions on an AC40 is greatly reduced and decisions aremade in a matter of seconds. For this reason, each team has spent many hours training on the water and on the simulator, testing all the conditions that can occur in a race and creating a sort of "playbook" with a list of possible manoeuvres to deal with them.

Upwind marks: When approaching the upwind mark (windward marks), there are three main manoeuvres.
1. The normal bear away, where the boat reaches the layline, bears away and sails towards the downwind gate.
2. In certain circumstances, it is possible to perform manoeuvres that involve a gybe shortly after the bear away. This is called an early gybe or Chicago, when the gybe is done very close to the mark. In light winds this is a risky option as the boat will fall back into its own bad air within seconds.
3. The tack bear-away instead is a typical situation in which the boat reaches the layline on the mark, in which the opponents have already reached the inside position on the mark, which makes it necessary to tack as soon as possible to reach the other mark, bear–away, and return on the downwind leg.

Downwind gate: At the downwind gate, it is possible to execute a manoeuvre that all teams refer to as the JK or round-up tack. It is quite complex and generally used to create a split from the opponents or to take immediate control of a more favourable side of the racecourse. Often it is executed at speed, keeping both foils in the water.
A further option, when approaching the downwind gate, is the jibe round-up, which is similar to the tack bear-away. It is performed when the boat is on the lay line but decides, at the last minute, to round the other mark, either to split from its opponent or to cover a side of the course with higher pressure.
See a report from "PRADA" Luna Rossa here (Eng, Ger, Esp).

Tactical Sailing PC Simulation for AC40 - Sailing incredibly fast, with almost 100 km on “foiling wings”!

Tactical Sailing Speed ​​Tests - Maximum speed in gust reached with 44.6 knots (82,6 km)

In Tactical Sailing's test with the AC40 are following values:
- the true wind in the area was 12 KN, with a gust of 20 KN and the
- Downwind:   max. boat speed 44.6 KN (82,6 km/h) in the gust! 
- Upwind:        max. boat speed 43,1 KN (79,8 km/h) in the gust! 
Watch the video clips on Youtube.
Tilo Schnekenburger writes: "Foil sailors are breaking the 'sound barrier' in sailing. Foil sailors are about to break the 100 km/h barrier, but that is still a long way from the sound barrier. Of course, this is not about the real sound barrier, which is known to be around 1200 km/h. It is more about the fact that foiling sailing vehicles today reach boat speeds that are currently 2 to 3 times the speed of the true wind driving them!" See his detailed article here: https://tschnekenburger.wixsite.com/regattataktik/under-re-construction (German).

Optimal speeds are the #1 success factor

Optimal speeds are the decisive factors for the success of the team, the harmonious flow of movements during maneuvers on board and the optimal physical speed of the boat against and in front of the wind. The four-person team has a lot to train in order to move optimally on board, operate the foils and steer the optimal course up and downwind. Because just a few degrees of steering make a big difference, see the polar diagrams of the AC40.
The "Performance data (1)" from Emirate Team New Zealand shows the speed potential of an AC40 at the following wind speeds (knots-kts, true wind speed TWS):

  • TWS   8 kts, Boat Speed 26 kts at 46° Upwind course, Speed 30 kts at 138° Downwind course,
  • TWS 12 kts, Boat Speed 31 kts at 41° Upwind course, Speed 38 kts at 145° Downwind course,
  • TWS 20 kts, Boat Speed 39 kts at 41° Upwind course, Speed 44 kts at 155° Downwind course.

(1) The performance data is estimated; the AC40 teams have to specifically test the properties of their AC40 during training.

AC40 racing yacht in the new program versions "Toolbox" and “Highlights”

The racing yachts from the “America’s Cup”, the AC40 with “foiling wings”, require completely new knowledge when steering the yacht. Strategy and tactics also offer new challenges.
Tactical Sailing - AC40 Simulation: There is a simulation of the “America’s Cup (AC)” from the AC40 racing yacht in the new program versions "Toolbox" and “Highlights”. Just like at the next AC Cup in Barcelona, you can challenge a friend on your PC to sail the up-down course for the shortest time. It's a completely new feeling to race around the course so quickly on the PC. Tactical sofistication at the upwind and downwind gates requires a lot of practice in the maneuvers: 'Chicago' and 'JK', see a video clip here.

Order the latest program version of "Toolbox" or “Highlightsfor playing and training.

Foils: The foils act like wings and provide buoyancy, allowing the yacht to float above the water. Thanks to the low friction loss, the racing yacht can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h on the downwind course! The Tactical Sailing program shows the speeds (VMG) in a 'tactical disc' of the boats.
Tactics: “Foilers” are so fast on the downwind course that they can even overtake gusts of wind. They don't just sail with the gusts to leeward, they sail through them to leeward! This means that the tactician on board has to look for the new wind on a downwind course not from behind to windward, but from forward to leeward". 
See a detailed description by Tilo Schnekenburger in the new 3rd edition of his book: "The Geometry of Regatta Sailing" (German) , download here.

Lukas Hesse - German Champion 49er Team (GER) at the Youth America's Cup 2024

Training on the AC40 simulator from NZL: You not only practice on the water, but also with the AC40 simulator, which is provided by the Australians (NZL). Lukas is thrilled by the performance of modern simulation technology! After all, Lukas already knows the Tactical Sailing Simulator from his time as an “Opti-Sailor”!
With his buddy from Opti days: In 2020, Lukas climbed onto the Waszp parallel to his 49er commitment and tested the Persico 69F on Lake Garda. After his first sniff on Lake Garda, Lukas already has regatta experience at the Youth Foiling Gold Cup 69F can collect. At the Act in Cagliari he started with his sister Emilie, Jann Schüpbach and the 29er sailor Nell Castilla. “I have known Jann from my Opti days, since the 2013 World Cup and a subsequent invitation event in Bermuda. We have been friends ever since, even though Jann sailed 470s and I sailed 49s,” reports Lukas. Excerpts from SegekReporter, January 11, 2022 by Ralf Abratis.
“Participating in the Youth America’s Cup  as a sailor is a unique opportunity to compete against the best young sailors in the world and showcase your skills on a global stage.” This high-profile competition pits talented sailors from six countries – Spain, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia – against established America’s Cup teams.

Youth and Women's America's Cup: The AC40 will be the official boat for these special events, providing an exclusive platform in the 18-25 age range. For the first time in the history of the America's Cup, a women's edition of this regatta will be held. The America’s Cup Team Germany consists of outstanding sailors who have won, among other things, two Olympic medals and numerous championship titles, e.g. world champion Opti Tina LutzLuise Wanser in the 470 and Lukas Hesse, German champion in the 49er.

US Challenger "American Magic" marked max speed: 49.83 knots

US Challenger "American Magic" marked 100 days of sailing in their AC40 America with the release of some key statistics including an impressive to speed. The top speed released was less than 0.2kts off the magical 50kts mark. Performance statistics:
Max speed: 49.83 knots
Anderson Reggio, American Magic's performance analyst, sheds light on two-boat testing's value as the team enters the third week of testing both AC40s side by side in Barcelona, gearing up for the 2024 America's Cup.
See a video clip at instagram, magically flying by #Foiling.
An interesting article on "Rules and Tactics" also explains the high speeds that can be achieved with foiling yachts:
"They generate so much “apparent wind” over the sails that, just as on a motorcycle, it always feels like it’s from dead ahead, even when jibing to turn the boat from one reach to another at high speed." See the article here.

Emirates "Team NZL" keeps up speed testing

Emirates "Team New Zealand" sailed twice - once with the Youth/Women's crew in the AC40-OD and on Wednesday with the LEQ12 and AC40 working through a racing/speed session.

Louis Vuitton - 37. America’s Cup - 2024

Welcome to the 37th Louis Vuitton America’s Cup, taking place between August and October 2024 in the beating heart of beautiful Barcelona, capital of Catalonia and one of the most visited cities on earth. Located around Port Vell and along the beach to Port Olímpic, the sailing world has made Barcelona its home for one of the most demanding America's Cups in the event's 174-year history.
WHAT IS THE AMERICA'S CUP: THE RACE WITHOUT SECOND PLACE:  It is the oldest international sports trophy - dating back to 1851 - and is considered one of the toughest sporting endeavors. The New York Yacht Club, one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, held the trophy for 132 years before losing it to Australia in 1983. Since then, the cup has only been won by teams from the USA, Switzerland and New Zealand. The current defending champions of the America's Cup are Emirates Team New Zealand, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.


Click here to visit the shop. Payments can be made by credit card, PayPal, bank transfer, etc. at the market places listed.

Tactical Sailors Lounge Login