Avid followers of yacht racing now have something to get seriously excited about.
Team New Zealand who this year took out the America’s Cup have announced that the iconic catamaran design (twin-hulled craft) is dead and high-tech monohulls are now the new weapon of choice.
The news comes after Patrizio Bertelli, the head of challenging team Luna Rossa (and Prada CEO), leaked the details as part of the group responsible for developing the new rules for the America’s Cup 2021.
“This foiling monohull concept has been played with before this announcement, but now will go to another level, because teams will come in with a lot of funding and resource.”
According to past New Zealand participants of the America’s Cup, this is a clear step in the right direction.
“This foiling monohull concept has been played with before this announcement, but now will go to another level, because teams will come in with a lot of funding and resource – I think it’s a massively exciting time for the America’s Cup,” said Peter Lester, an ex-New Zealand yachtsman and America’s Cup commentator.
More specifically, this design change will aid in bringing more teams into the race via a more level playing field come Auckland 2021.
“They really need to try to get 8-10-12 teams and to do that they need to have a boat that encourages new teams, and have new teams feel they can be competitive, and I think monohulls will help to do that and help to make a better event,” said Chris Dickson, a former skipper.
This decision was cemented during the race at Bermuda this year (which we were lucky enough to attend) where towering catamarans were deemed unsuitable against the rougher seas expected at Auckland.
Compounding that was the fact that a little over half of the six teams competing at Bermuda required financial and technical assistance from wealthier teams and the formula for change was set.
Looking forward into the sport, the monohulls will likely feature a high-tech twist in the form of foiling monohulls which are already featuring in events such as the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race and the 2019 Volvo Ocean Race.
As for any worries that Team New Zealand could lose their crown with the new rule changes?
Dickson isn’t too phased.
“Team New Zealand did a better job than everyone else on a new class in Bermuda, and arguably they did almost a better job in San Francisco with a new class before that.”
“Team New Zealand seem very skilled in taking a new class of design of boat and figuring out what makes it go faster.”
The winning team themselves haven’t given much away, only speaking of the effect the new monohull design will have on the sport.
“Emirates Team New Zealand have been consulting with a number of potential challengers and there is an overall desire to have a spectacular monohull yacht that will be exciting to match race,” it said in a statement.
“Also one that the public and sailors can relate to as a sail boat that really challenges a full crew of professional yachtsman around the race track.”
Still confused about what the hell a foiling monohull is?
Watch this short French video with English subtitles for a quick breakdown and why it’s a game-changer.