It's time for the 33rd America's Cup Challenge!

The 33rd America’s Cup is taking place this week in Valencia, Spain.

The Alinghi 5 defends the cup against the challenger, USA 17 starting the 10th. (Wind and sea permitting)

The two boats are amazing multi-hull designs with masts that reach over 200 feet tall. In even moderate winds we should see 30+ knot speeds.

The Challenger – USA 17:

With almost 150,000 man-hours of build time, under the direction of Mark Turner and Tim Smyth, the trimaran offers the option of sailing with a conventional mast and soft sails, or with a massive wing sail which towers over 220 feet (68 metres) above the deck. The wing sail is over twice as big as the wing of a Boeing 747 airplane and is the largest wing sail ever fitted to a sailing boat. It was unveiled on November 8th and is comprised of a main element with nine flaps. It is constructed from aeronautical film over a lightweight, carbon-kevlar structure.

The Defender – Alinghi 5:

Alinghi 5 is the fruit of years of multihull development on Lake Geneva and the creation of the Alinghi 23-member design team headed by Grant Simmer, Rolf Vrolijk and Dirk Kramers. It benefited from the scientific advice of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

The innovative catamaran is the result of over 100,000 man hours of building at Alinghi’s premises in Villeneuve, in collaboration with Decision, and was launched on July 8th 2009. The yacht has its roots in previous Alinghi Swiss lake racing multihulls such as the Decision 35’s and the 41 foot Le Black.

After initial trialling on Lake Geneva, Alinghi 5 was flown over the Alps to the Mediterranean. After a few weeks of training off the Italian coast, it was transported to Ras Al Kaimah (UAE), where it was extensively tested and tuned before being shipped to Valencia.

One of the key design features of Alinghi 5 is its light but stiff Y-shape central spine. The yacht’s carbon fibre structures include optic-fibre sensors which provide real time monitoring of the boat. Its canting mast is the equivalent height of a 17 storey building and withstands compression comparable to 50 SUVs balanced on a foundation the size of a tennis ball; its beam is the equivalent in size to two tennis courts side by side; and its gennaker, at 1,100m2, is one of the biggest in the world

I’m excited, can you tell?

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