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AC72 | A NZ-USA BOATBUILDING PARTNERSHIP

After the delight of victory in Valencia in 2010, ORACLE TEAM USA selected Core Builder Composites (now SailGP Technologies) as its partner in precision component building for the 2013 America’s Cup.

Following the introduction of the wing sail for the 33rd America’s Cup in 2010, the AC72 took the design brief for America’s Cup campaign a significant step further than previous campaigns.

In the America’s Cup world the pressure is always on teams to design and build boats at the extreme edge of the rules. While the current generation of SailGP F50s are strictly identical, in the America’s Cup teams can innovate and create as much as they wish - so long as they stick within the rules.

This means that while superficially similar, rivals can be vastly different from each other in the detail.

Continuing to build its components in New Zealand made sense for a team that wanted the continue to be the world’s best and retain the America’s Cup. New Zealand is not only home to many excellent sailors, but also has a strong pool of design and build technical talent, a large amount which was already based at Core Builder Composite (CBC), the operational hub established to build USA17 for the 2010 Cup.

In the build up to the 34th America’s Cup hulls were constructed in ORACLE TEAM USA’s home town of San Francisco in order to observe nationality rules of the regatta.

However, the wing, appendages and balance of the platform were built at at CBC factory in Warkworth, New Zealand utilising the operation’s state of the art five-axis CNC machine to ensure accuracy of construction.

CBC’s five-axis CNC machine is so accurate that it can drill parts to match with a mate half a world away and the teams can be confident that when assembled, they will align absolutely perfectly.

At 18 metres long, 6.2 metres wide and 3.1 metres tall, the CMS Poseidon five-axis CNC is one of the largest machines in Australasia.

At the time CBC received the machine Russell Coutts, then CEO of ORACLE TEAM USA said: “The extreme accuracy of this machine means that the boats are constructed precisely as the designers intended. A more accurate boat is a better boat,” he said.

“It is also an excellent example of technology transfer between countries, and vividly demonstrates the world-class skills and capabilities in New Zealand at Core Builders Composites.”

The machine is capable of direct-machining large scale shapes and objects, such as yacht or fizz boat hulls, architectural supports or blades for wind turbines.

The rest, as you may know, is history. ORACLE TEAM USA went on to win the 34th America's Cup in a winner-take-all 19th race, defeating challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds.

And now the ability of the build team at SailGP Technologies is poised to deliver its expertise to not only high performance sailing and racing yachts but also high spec composite manufacturing, and high spec machining of composites and metals.