The Untold Story of the Birth of Foiling in the America’s Cup

The Untold Story of the Birth of Foiling in the America’s Cup


Foiling in the America’s Cup started on
a little lake in the middle of the Waikato, lake Arapuni. Thinking back to the beginning of 2012, it was a time before simulator use, where Emirates Team New Zealand was looking through a particular rule at the time. One crazy idea that the team had was, that we needed to lift this AC72 catamaran out of the water, something that had never ever been seen before in America’s
Cup history. How do we actually do that? Basically, we got on the water, we
didn’t have any sails, we towed the boat with a ski boat, and learned how to foil. I remember the first day we towed the “Waka”, we had a few of the sailing team there, a few of the design team there,
everyone was quite eager to see how this pretty agricultural platform, if you like,
was going to perform, and we had a few stops and starts, but eventually got the boat going. With the angle that you’re towing, the boat was so efficient getting towed, you’re actually way out the side of the ski
boat, so you’re effectively looking at the boat almost side on when you were
towing. We eventually got to the stage where we flew a hull and then ultimately, later that day actually got the boat hop-skipping and jumping out of the water. Some of the early foils were not very stable, pretty loose and out of
control but much better to test that on a small tiny platform being towed by
powerboat than doing it at an AC72 scale. After a couple weeks of tuning and dialling in, and then some more foils built over the next couple of months,
we eventually got to the stage where we could actually tow the boat and it would
pop out of the water and fly with stability. Some of those evenings where you would sit around the table knowing that you were pioneering absolutely new ground in the America’s
Cup and in foiling multi-hulls and foiling boats at that particular time,
was a pretty special feeling. Sitting there with the boys and the designers and the sailing team, really knowing that you were actually part of such a special period of America’s Cup history. Eventually, we put that technology, we put that testing if you like, into use on our SL33 catamarans for testing, and then ultimately built our first AC72
catamaran with fully foiling in mind. We knew that we could do it, and we knew that we had to push hard, and push big. Because ultimately we could see as a
group, that foiling was absolutely the future of the Americas Cup

23 thoughts on “The Untold Story of the Birth of Foiling in the America’s Cup

  • Innovative thinking outside the square box trails improvements, to where they are leading the ahead of there challenges, continuous improvement is the key to been the best without compromising all the key aspects of the team boat

  • Must have had some good crashes. I know from experience towing from the COE feels good in the groove, but there is no depower option to spill some power.

  • So when do we see the new mono hull version. Britain and the Americans have boats in the water. One suspects Team NZ has some exciting technology waiting to be revealed and we not slow on development. Go Emirates Team NZ

  • I admire the Kiwi ingenuity when it came to developing flying 72' cats. I was there in 2013 to see the big boys flying down SF bay and it was a spectacle that is much more impressive in person than simply taking it in on a screen. However I just don't get the new AC boat's design parameters. The articulating foils – up and down – with a windward scythe flying through the air at 50 knots just seems to be solving a problem that only exists because of the insistence on using a single Archimedian hull instead of two or three. The 72's and 60's were dangerous as it is, but with these mono's, I fear what will ultimately happen in a dialup situation pre-start – especially if Ainsle is driving.

  • Great story,shame to spoil all that technology with a crazy hybrid monohull. I guess you've got some technology you haven't shared that will be another step up? Warren

  • Great video. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how the other teams caught on to your innovation and if you feel you showed your hand too early. If it had been kept a secret longer do you think you would have won the AC32? How and why was your development shared? That's a story for sure! Nice work guys!

  • Sorry nice try Kiwi's in taking bragging rights of foiling AC development, but the Americans had you beat in using it in the Little AC. Much of the US knowledge came from that, along from other non NZ sources. Still hats of to NZ contributions to foiling. The AC75 for the next AC is a bad bad idea, they should have stuck with the cats. If anything this next AC will solidify why cats are better cost wise, safety, foiling efficiency, etc.

  • TNZ were innovative with the AC72 and then with the cyclors and then basically threw it all out by going to monos.

  • Go cousin kiwis, kick some yankee arse for your Aussie brothers lol, you guys are pure brilliant, 11 stars out of 10

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