BMW Oracle building two 70ft catamarans in New Zealand?
First of all, I want to stress that this story is based on an anonymous comment made in a previous article about Ben Ainslie and his comment on the "massive" advantage BMW Oracle would have if the 34th America's Cup boat were indeed a wingmast catamaran. As a result, there is no guarantee at all it is true. It could be a hoax or a simple lie but it could also be an interesting development.
The official announcement on the type of boat to be used in this edition of the Cup will be made in just 4 days right here in Valencia. However, whatever yacht it turns out to be, it is obvious that the final decision was taken various months ago. Similarly, the decision on the boats to be used in 2011 must have already been taken. In addition, if BMW Oracle's intention is to start next year's pre-regattas in April on yachts they would provide, similar to the format of the Louis Vuitton Trophies, these boats must already be in construction.
One has to bear in mind that these yachts, called "2011 Yachts" in the Protocol, do not have to comply with the America’s Cup Class Rules but only with the "2011 Yacht Rules", that is "the class rules of the yacht determined by the Event Authority to be used in the pre regattas prior to the implementation of the AC Class Yachts, with all interpretations, rulings and amendments.", as per the Protocol. As a result, even if the America’s Cup Class Rules are not finalized before the end of September, the "2011 Yachts" can already be built, as long as the "2011 Yacht Rules" are ready. According to the Protocol, the 2011 rules will be announced one month after the America's Cup Class announcement, that means before the end of October.
So, according to the anonymous comment, "for the past 2 months BMW Oracle have quietly been building 2 70´cats with soft sails for next years LVS, right here in NZ. Have a look at their facility in Warkworth......."
It is a plausible scenario with the two catamarans being ready early next year so they can be tested during the southern hemisphere summer. Last but not least, if you were the Defender and your intention was to have a 72ft catamaran as the new America's Cup boat, the 2011 class would be something very similar!!
Any Valencia Sailing reader in or near Warkworth, NZ willing to shed any light?