Oracle’s billionaire founder Larry Ellison is being linked to a new series involving the foiling catamarans used in the last America’s Cup.
Sailing website Scuttlebutt reports rumours are circulating the yachts are being converted to one design at Core Builders in Warkworth, the company owned by Ellison.
Kiwi sailing legend Russell Coutts, who was instrumental in Oracle winning and defending the America’s Cup in catamarans before Team New Zealand won the trophy in Bermuda last year, said he was aware of the rumours.
“I can understand how a new series in enhanced foiling catamarans could be interesting news. However, until something is officially announced, I cannot offer any further comment,” Coutts said.
It is understood there will be at least five teams in the proposed series, beginning in February. Sydney, San Francisco and Bermuda have been suggested as likely venues.
The boats will have a crew of five and, unlike the grinders and cyclors used by Team New Zealand at the last Cup, the hydraulics will be powered by electric pumps.
C-Tech, a premium composites manufacturer in New Zealand, is building multiple sets of identical foils which are understood to be for the boats used in Bermuda.
Six AC50s were built for the 2017 America’s Cup. The five boats being converted are likely to be from Oracle, Team Japan, Artemis, Team France and Land Rover BAR.
Team New Zealand are planning to put their Cup-winning AC50 on display at their new waterfront base.
Meanwhile, America’s Cup great Jimmy Spithill has broken his silence on Emirates Team New Zealand’s innovative AC75 boat design, predicting the monohulls to take the race to another level.
Spithill jumped ship earlier this year to rejoin Italian syndicate Luna Rossa after both winning and losing the Auld Mug with Oracle Team USA.
The Australian sailor, who famously destroyed one of Oracle’s AC72s in a capsize ahead of the 2013 regatta, has remained unusually tight-lipped since the yacht designs were revealed.
But offering some thoughts to CNN’s MainSail programme, Spithill has described the boats to be used in Auckland as “beasts”.
“The speeds we could have … it’ll be a beast of a boat. It’s out there,” Spithill said.
“This one will be another level.
“Will it work? That’s the question. The America’s Cup has always been at the leading edge of boats. Look at what’s happened over the last decade. The AC72 kind of reminds me of this boat in that it is very, very powerful and never been done before.”
“It’s extreme, it’s expensive, from first take, and what we are seeing, it’s unstable, and it’s going to be very, very physical.”
The first of the new America’s Cup boats are only due to be launched from March 31 next year but a video which emerged on social media last month has already given fans a sneak peek to the radical design on water.