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AC40s & AC75s: 37th America’s Cup

Photo: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Photo: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

Southern Spars has a long history of supporting America’s Cup teams with its world-leading expertise in carbon rig manufacturing. The battle for the oldest trophy in international sport exhibits some of the latest performance technology, and in recent editions has reached levels many would never have thought possible.

The speed of these yachts is multiplying rapidly; we’re now seeing numbers that only 15 years ago could have been one-off sailing speed record attempts. What’s more, AC75s are capable of doing around 40 knots upwind—something that would’ve seemed implausible not long ago.

Alinghi Red Bull AC
Photo: Oriol Castello

 

It has been a true honour to see our products push the boundaries of what’s possible by the world’s best. Who knows what we’ll see in this year’s Cup.

Southern Spars is proud to be the trusted rig manufacturer for most of the AC75s and all of the AC40s competing for the biggest prizes in our sport.

While there are lots of ways the teams can innovate to gain a competitive edge, when it comes to their masts and rigging, restrictions are extremely tight under class rules:

AC75:

 One of the stock components of the AC75, masts are manufactured from high-modulus carbon fibre and feature a D-shape mast tube. Exactly 26.50 metres in length, they must also fit tight specifications in terms of tube thickness and dimensions. They also have the ability to rotate up to 45°.

Although all AC75 masts must be built to the same specification, dependability in the quality of manufacturing is paramount. Southern Spars’ scientific method, including advanced software and manufacturing practices, carried out at our leading-edge Auckland facility, provides the teams with absolute confidence in the accuracy and consistency of production – not only vital in ensuring they follow class rules to the letter, but also avoiding any unexpected setbacks during testing, training, or racing. All the masts we produced for the 37th Cup were delivered on time and on budget – making sure that teams didn’t lose a moment of valuable time on the water.

Emirates Team New Zealand

AC40:

 The entry of the AC40 into the world of sailing has generated a huge buzz. We’ve already seen the world’s most innovative new one design fleet compete at the preliminary events and getting up to the high 40s (knots). The agility of these four-person crewed yachts is also remarkable and will make for exciting racing when the stakes are raised for the Women’s and Youth America’s Cups.

Photo: Orient Express
Photo: Orient Express

 

The AC40 is a one design class, meaning that every element of each yacht is identical, including their 18m rotating Southern Spars masts. The class was conceived and designed by our close partners at Emirates Team New Zealand, it has been a pleasure to collaborate on a historic project which will have wide ripples beyond 2024 – with an international race circuit planned beyond the Cup.

American Magic
Photo: American Magic

 

The America’s Cup is about legacy and innovation. Our history alongside our America’s Cup partners is already rich, but is truly special to be involved in the first ever Women’s America’s Cup.

America’s Cup programmes are incredibly rigorous, even before the first starting gun sounds. The teams rely on the unshakable reliability of Southern Spars and colleagues from our group to deliver for the pinnacle of our sport.