The AC40 burst onto the sailing scene in late 2022, hot off the easels of the Emirates Team New Zealand Design Office and the Defenders significant investment in creating a class that will be the foundation to a pathway for Youth and Women into the America’s Cup. It has proven a sensation ever since, being adopted by all of the senior teams in the 37th America’s Cup as a training boat as well as being used in the first two Preliminary Regattas in Vilanova i La Geltrú and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The AC40 has also been designated as boat for the Youth America’s Cup and the inaugural Puig Women’s America’s Cup events that will take place in Barcelona in 2024 and usher through to the top echelons of high-performance sailing, the next generation of foiling superstars.
Now, at the World Sailing Awards in Malaga, the AC40 has been announced as the 2023 winner of the Boat of the Year – ‘presented to mark outstanding boat design, innovative concepts and ground-breaking technological advancements that are changing the face of sailing, pioneering change across the world.’
World Sailing described the AC40 as, “a highly innovative and technologically advanced sailing yacht. It is designed to bring America’s Cup foiling performance to competitive racing, featuring self-tacking headsails and an autopilot control system that maintains stable flight. It incorporates advanced hydraulics, electric assistance, and onboard electronic systems to control various aspects of the yacht, such as foil arms, sail control, and flight stability.
It serves as platform for testing different foil wings, flaps, sails, and masts for America’s Cup teams, emphasising its potential for successful designs and technological advancements.
Collecting the award on behalf of the AC40 class was Nick Griffith from Ancasta Yachts, the AC40 Class official worldwide dealer, who attended on behalf of the class and who has been key in promoting the boat to amateur sailors wanting to race at an elite foiling level.
Grant Dalton, CEO of America’s Cup Events, also commented on the award saying: “The AC40 opens the pathway for Youth and Women athletes into the big league of the America’s Cup and with now 12 teams forming, training and getting the buzz for high performance sailing, the AC40 couldn’t have been a better platform to deliver on our goals with the America’s Cup and its future.
Undoubtedly the most exciting foiling class to come to the mainstream, the AC40 is re-defining sailing at the top end of the sport and we look forward to supporting the Youth and Puig Women’s America’s Cup next year in Barcelona with incredible coverage of the Finals of those respective events in between the Louis Vuitton Cup Match races and the 37th America’s Cup Louis Vuitton Match itself.”
Already the Youth and Puig Women’s America’s Cup teams around the world are preparing to sail in the AC40 with the AC40 simulator also developed by Emirates Team New Zealand which incorporates actual AC40 helm wheels, control devices and instrumentation displays that precisely replicate those on the AC40 yachts.
After the news of the AC40 winning ‘Boat of the Year,’ the awards moved on through the various categories and for the America’s Cup community it was another win with New York Yacht Club American Magic helmsman, Tom Slingsby, winning the coveted World Sailor of the Year in the Male division – his third win at the World Sailing Awards.
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