Oracle Team USA unveiled its new yacht on Tuesday (February 14) developed in collaboration with Airbus, that will defend the America’s Cup this June.
The American AC Class catamaran was launched by the title defender in Bermuda and is the result of a partnership with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, using much of the same technology as the company’s A350 aircraft.
“30 engineers worked over time, people in Europe, people over there. We worked on the structure, on the foils, on the aerodynamics, on the wings, on the instrumentation, on the hydraulics, on the simulation. A lot of stuff that we actually learn and use to develop our aircraft actually went into that boat,” Airbus executive Vice President for Engineering Charles Champion said.
Airbus has provided expertise in the design of a control system for the boat, meaning the team is able to “fly” on foils during the races.
“I think the technology partnership with Airbus has been huge, and fundamentally the big thing for us now is that these boats fly. They fly above the water. And probably the most important part of this machine is the control system. So, like a pilot who has the controls for the plane – if they’re not right, it’s critical. If they’re not right, then the plane goes down and the same for us. They have to be right. It’s a very, very sophisticated system. And we don’t have an engine. So everything’s got to be powered by the humans and the athletes, and you’re constantly on demand. So it really is an important part of this boat,” Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said.
Oracle Team USA won the last America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013, dramatically defeating Emirates Team New Zealand 9-8 after they had been trailing 8-2.