The Fastest Monohull Craft on Earth
“Returning to Pensacola for a second winter was an easy decision for us because of the fantastic bay, our familiarity with the area, and the hospitality of the community,” says Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of America’s Cup. The current team, American Magic, is the first America’s Cup team to train on the Gulf Coast since 1970. In winter 2018, they brought a groundbreaking 38-foot test boat, nicknamed the Mule, to Pensacola Bay for intensive training sessions. Now, the Mule is back and is joined by the team’s new AC75 racing vessel, DEFIANT, which represents an entirely new generation of monohull sailing craft.
DEFIANT was launched in September 2019 in Rhode Island and is the first boat of its type to both sail and Foil. The 75-foot monohull carries a crew of 11, and after its training here will go on to race in multiple events in the America’s Cup World Series in Europe in 2020. “The testing we have planned for DEFIANT this winter will be helped by the natural foiling venue we have here. The bay is wide, flat and windy, and the Port of Pensacola has helped us establish an ideal base for over 100 team personnel and their families. Pensacola will be a big part of our future success,” Hutchinson says. The DEFIANT and the American Magic team and support personnel will remain in Pensacola until March when the team heads to Italy for the first event in the America’s Cup World Series.
The AC75 Foiling Monohull
The AC75 is the approved yacht design for the 36th America’s Cup and sets the parameters for the teams to develop and race the fastest monohull craft on earth. The AC75 DEFIANT has a hull length of 68 feet, plus a bowsprit of 6.5 feet, a maximum beam of 16.5 feet, and weighs 6.5 metric tons. The mast rises 87 feet from the deck; the mainsail ranges from 1,450 to 1560 square feet, the jib 970 square feet. She features a centerline T-foil rudder with a maximum draft of 11.5 feet and span of ten feet. The twin canting T-foils have a maximum draft of 16.5 feet and a wingspan of 13 feet. The technology behind the design is the result of years of research and fine-tuning, and a team of almost 150 people dedicating all of their time and effort to the cause.
It Takes a Village
“People have no idea what level of manpower it takes to bring a project like this to reality,” says Hutchinson. “Just here in the Pensacola Bay area, we have a hundred people working every day on some aspect of DEFIANT. For every four hours that the boat is on the water, there are another ten hours of setting up, checking out, tearing down, and honing everything. We have designers here, builders here; we have our own sail loft. It’s an amazing and ambitious project. This is the first time a boat like this has ever been built, and it’s an incredible piece of marine engineering – and work of art. I can’t tell you how incredible it is to be out on the water on this beautiful boat.”
DEFIANT’s stay in Pensacola will be over at the end of March, when the boat and the American Magic crew and support team move on to Italy for the first of the America’s Cup World Series races. After that, there are other regattas in Europe leading up to New Zealand, where they will set up shop for the home stretch, the main event – The America’s Cup itself, in March of 2021.
“Pensacola has been an awesome winter home for us, and for DEFIANT,” said Hutchinson. “This venue is perfect – I don’t think there is a better spot in the entire U.S. for our purposes. The city, the mayor, and the whole community have really made us feel welcome.”