Please select your home edition
Edition
Helly Hansen 2018 728x90

Groupama Team France lifts the veil on its Test AC Class boat

by Groupama Team France 16 Jul 2016 13:01 BST 11 July 2016
Groupama Team France lifts the veil on its Test AC Class yacht © Eloi Stichelbaut

A genuine laboratory boat and fraternal twin to the AC Class

The Test AC Class (13.45m) unveiled in Lorient, Brittany, on Monday 11 July 2016 and christened by the four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost, is a genuine 'laboratory' boat. This is not the boat that will defend France's colours in a year's time, rather it is a virtual carbon copy. Indeed, this foiling prototype will be used for training on Breton waters from July to late December 2016, so as to enable Groupama Team France to validate the technical choices made since October 2015. Equally and above all, it will enable the team to continue making developments and decisions regarding the construction of future parts and systems, which will translate across to the AC Class. The latter, which will compete in Bermuda in 2017, will simply have hulls that are 1.5-metre longer.

The America's Cup protocol prohibits the AC Class (50-foot or 15 metres) from sailing prior to 26 December 2016. In order to train and validate their developments, the six competing teams – one Defender and five Challengers – have built prototypes, which are a 90% replica of the AC Class on which they'll race during the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda.

Groupama Team France has also brought into play this so called Test AC Class catamaran (formerly called an AC45 Turbo). Aside from shorter hulls, everything is exactly alike.

The shape of the hull below the waterline, the beam and the sail area, the cockpits and also the Pod on which the wing sits are one-designs, hence identical to its big AC Class brother.

Designed under the leadership of the German talent Martin Fischer by thirty or so top-flight naval architects and engineers – including the Franco-Argentinian Juan Kouyoumdjian and Brazilian Horacio Carabelli – she has been built by the Multiplast and Décision yards in under six months.

The structure of the wing, the appendages (rudders and foils), the electronic and hydraulic control systems and the fairings are free of constraint. Moreover, the latter are inspired by the double C-Class champion from the Little America's Cup sailed by Franck Cammas and Louis Viat in 2013 and 2015... and provide a gain of a few knots upwind thanks to a reduction in aerodynamic drag.

The Test AC Class Groupama Team France, which will put in her first tacks off Lorient, her port of registry, must not only validate the extremely complicated servo-control foil systems, but also enable the crew supporting Franck Cammas to optimise the flight, which we now know will be the key to victory in the 35th America's Cup.

Main characteristics:

  • Type: foiling prototype catamaran and fixed wing
  • Naval architects: Groupama Team France Design Team
  • Constructors: Groupe Carboman (Multiplast and Décision) for the hulls and the Pod and the aft section of the wing, Core Builders Composites for the forward section of the wing, King Marine for the daggerboard and fairing systems, Lorima for the bowsprit, CDK for the wing system and Heol Composites for the appendages.
  • Material: carbon
  • LOA: 13.45 metres
  • Beam: 8.47 metres
  • Displacement: 2.45 tonnes
  • Water draught: 2.40 metres
  • Wing height: 23.60 metres
  • Wing surface: 101 square metres
  • Upwind sail area: 137 square metres
  • Peak speed: 40 to 50 knots
The Test AC Class Groupama Team France in figures:
  • 2 - The speed gain upwind thanks to the aft fairings
  • 3 - The number of different jibs according to the wind
  • 6 - The number of crew aboard
  • 10 - The number of kilos of paint used
  • 50 - The number of engineers, technicians, constructors... who have worked on building the boat
  • 525 - The total weight of the crew
  • 4,000 - The surface area in terms of carbon material used in square metres
  • 12,000 - The number of hours required to build the wing
  • 23,000 - The number of hours required to build the platform
Alain Prost, patron of the Test AC Class Groupama Team France

The Test AC Class was christened on Monday 11 July in Lorient, Groupama Team France's port of registry, in the presence of Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux, Olivier de Kersauson, all the team, Norbert Métairie, Mayor of Lorient and President of Lorient Agglomération, Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of the Breton region and the public.

A speed freak and fan of high-tech, as well as a passionate and exciting man has agreed to be patron to the French challenge. Alain Prost, four-time F1 world champion, current director of the Renault e.dams racing stable, is thus supporting the French team in its quest for the Silver Ewer that rewards the America's Cup winner.

Alain Prost, patron of Groupama Team France: "What's important for me is the human, technological, regional and national challenge. They are important projects for a country. There are only six syndicates, one of which is French. In France, we have incredible technology and we must find the right synergies. I don't have any experience of flight; I'm longing to go sailing!"

A festive christening ceremony for all

Graced by the presence of the Elite troops with the school of Airborne Troops in Pau, Marine Commandos and the flying board, this ceremony shone a spotlight on performance, precision and the imaginative world of flight, a key feature of this latest generation boat of which the Test AC Class is very much a part.

For all that, Groupama Team France was keen for this celebration to be a simple, festive and social celebration so as to share it with the maximum amount of people. In this way, special pyrotechnics, confetti, a concert for the public and a wealth of entertainment were organised to satisfy this common desire. #TousPourlaCoupe

Quotes:

Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama Team France: "Sailing is a thrilling sport. We started the project three years ago with Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson with a view to conquering the America's Cup. Today, we're presenting to you the first Groupama Team France creation. A catamaran, which required 35,000 man-hours and even more in the design office. Our team is made up of 70 people from 12 different nationalities; there are a great many skills across all the different departments: design, construction, performance, shore team and also management and logistics.The Cup is a tough nut to crack in the sense that we have to beat the world's best crews, people who have a lot of talent. We need to be rigorous, persevering and innovative. Thank you to all our partners for their support and thank you to you all for coming out in force this evening."

Olivier de Kersauson:"It's fantastic; with this boat we'll move up from calculation to measurement. It's about applying intelligence in our quest for performance. Creating the fastest boat of its age, that's the original spirit of the Cup."

Michel Desjoyeaux:"Today is an intermediate step on a technical scale, but it's so important for Groupama Team France, who can share this moment with a wide audience, an audience that has come here this evening in great number! It's very encouraging for us all to have the commitment and support of so many!"

Norbert Métairie, Mayor of Lorient and President of Lorient Agglomération: "The French crewed sailing team's foothold in Lorient comes as further proof of the project's relevance and the investment made in the site over the past 15 years by virtue of the marine network and its businesses."

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence and President of the Breton region: Groupama Team France is aiming to hunt down and bring back to France the oldest sporting trophy and the only major sporting event that our country is yet to win. It's the strength of a group that will lead us forward to success. Indeed, as in the automobile domain, incredible technical advances in the competitive sailing benefit the whole of French industry. Brittany and France are at the heart of these innovations. The spirit of adventure, which has taken France offshore and is part of Brittany's DNA, must again guide us towards the America's Cup."

Thierry Martel, CEO of Groupama: "In a France that is seeking to find itself at times and occasionally doubts itself and can be pessimistic, positioning oneself around a project which aims to showcase the country's excellence and its ability to win is a fantastic image. It's a very proud moment for the Groupama group. What we're hoping for is that this pride becomes countrywide. The fact that our brand, which is established at the heart of the regions, is today carrying the country's flag in a bid to give French excellence global visibility is superb and highly motivating".

Thibaut Derville, Member of the Norauto Strategic Committee, Belgian CEO: "On this festive occasion,Norauto naturally wishes to congratulate the sailors and all those, in the heat and noise of the workshops, who have made this possible. In this way, Norauto is very proud to contribute to the cutting-edge technology and to take the teams' operational requirements to a whole new level. For us car service specialists, having Alain Prost as patron of the project is a great delight and a nod in the direction of our brand."

Jean-Yves Dagès, President of Groupama: "Thank you all for your support for Groupama Team France, its sailors and all the teams who are working alongside them and who will be able to do double the work with this spectacular new boat. We are all very much behind you in the bid to bring the Cup back to France."

Related Articles

Four time Am Cup winner on the State of the Cup
Sponsor shortage and the radical AC75 design are Butterworth's reasoning on low entries - Updated UPDATED - Four times America's Cup winner Brad Butterworth, says a shortage of sponsorship and radical design for the AC75 are the key reasons why only three teams have entered. Team NZ CEO Grant Dalton get a spray - but there is baggage between the two. Posted on 9 Jul
Am Cup: Three Super Teams - and more?
There have always been two ways of looking at entry numbers in the America's Cup. Entries closed last Saturday for the 36th America's Cup, with Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron announcing that just three teams had entered - the same three that had earlier and separately announced their Challenges. Posted on 6 Jul
Emirates Team NZ signs Swedish apparel supplier
Swedish company Sail Racing International has been appointed as Apparel Supplier to Emirates Team NZ The Swedish company Sail Racing International has been appointed as the Exclusive Apparel Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand, Defender of the 36th America's Cup. Posted on 5 Jul
Am Cup: Emirates Team NZ extend design leg-up
Emirates Team NZ confirm that they have offered new Challengers a basic AC75 design Emirates Team New Zealand have confirmed that they have offered new Challengers a basic AC75 design package, repeating the 2013 design deal they had with Luna Rossa, the now Challenger of Record in the 2013 America's Cup. Posted on 4 Jul
Am Cup: A different and busy year for Team NZ
Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton looks back on a big year for the team Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton looks back on a big year for the team since the America's cup win in Bermuda on June 26, 2017. Posted on 2 Jul
Am Cup: Challengers stay at the three Super Teams
At close of entries Am Cup Challengers remain at Britain, Italy and USA Several Challengers appear to have remained waiting in the wings after the first entry period closed a few hours ago on June 30, NZT. Only the three previously announced Challengers were named by the America's Cup Defender today. Posted on 1 Jul
Am Cup Replay: The Lone Wolf's winning ways
On the first anniversary of ETNZ's win 2017 win we re-publish one of the most popular stories on S-W Late in 2016, when they refused to sign an agreement on how the next two America's Cups would be conducted, Emirates Team New Zealand was cast in the role of being a 'Lone Wolf' - Glenn Ashby explains Posted on 27 Jun
Emirates Team NZ gets Am Cup boost for Defence
Long time America's Cup sponsor Toyota has annunced their backing for the 2021 campaign Long standing sponsor of Emirates Team New Zealand have announced they are signing on with the America's Cup Defenders on the first anniversary of the America's Cup Champion's win in Bermuda Posted on 27 Jun
Am Cup Replay: Emirates Team NZ wins the Cup
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron created sailing history to become the first club to regain the Amer Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron created sailing history to become the first club to regain the America's Cup, after Emirates Team New Zealand won Race 9 of the 35th Match on the Great Sound, Bermuda. Posted on 26 Jun
Flyacht design concept for 6.5m foiling monohull
AC75 design concepts transfered to a low cost Briand designed foiling monohull Six times America's Cup designer, Philippe Briand, has created a new foiling monohull which leans heavily on the concepts employed in the AC75 for the next America's Cup Class. Posted on 26 Jun