10 knots of north-easterly breeze and glorious sunshine, perfect conditions for the first launch of Groupama Team France’s AC Class at the Royal Dockyard, Bermuda.
With some 73 days to go until the 35th America’s Cup, the French catamaran helmed by Franck Cammas was unveiled on Monday 13 March before an audience that included 50 members of the team. A palpable emotion reigned over the launch site! Indeed, after one and a half years of research and 45,000 hours of construction, it was an eagerly anticipated moment!
Thanks to the dexterity and expertise of the members of the shore crew, under the leadership of Ben Wright and the New Zealand crane driver, Matt Stechman, the catamaran measuring 15 metres in length, 8.47 metres in width, together with its 23.60-metre high wing, soon hit the water.
First sea trial imminent on the Great Sound… It’s now over to the training sessions, as soon as the weather is favourable, likely from Thursday 16 March onwards.
Franck Cammas: "A bit of emotion around today! It’s fantastic! Congratulations to the whole team! Everyone’s put in a huge amount of work with regards the numerous details, with many long hours over recent months. We’re going to see the fruit of our labours during the initial sea trials this week. We’re all eager for that! In any case, it’s great to have made it past this stage. Right now, we, the sailors, will have a bit of pressure on our shoulders to get the best possible use out of this fine bit of kit provided by the designers and the entire technical team!”
The AC Class in brief: Length: 15 metres - Beam: 8.47 metres – Maximum draught: 2.40 metres – Wing height: 23.60 metres - Surface area of wing: 100m2 – Weight of the wing: 445kg – Weight of the platform: minimum 1,887kg – maximum 1,987kg – Total weight: minimum 2,332kg – maximum 2,432kg – Weight of media and safety equipment required by the organisation: 149kg - 12 headsails – 2 T-foil rudders - 4 foils permitted – able to sail in wind of between 5 and 25 knots – upwind flight in upward of 10 knots and downwind flight in upward of 8 knots of breeze – peak speed 45 knots.