they win the ugly contest

That this boat is sponsored by a giant fracking company is all we need to already hate it, but now that it is revealed the ugliest boat we have ever seen, we hope it is a total flop. Fuck them. – ed.

Wow just wow, would you take a look at this. Is it a boat, a battleship, or some kind of low flying jet? It’s the fourth AC 75 to be launched and the British America’s Cup entry looks to be the most radical of all. My jaw dropped when I saw the Italian yacht Luna Rossa come out of the shed earlier this week, but that looks too be a tame design when compared to this one. I am anxious to hear what the design experts have to say about it.

The (very ugly) slab sides are a clear signal that most of the attention went into how to get the boat up and onto her foils as quickly as possible. As soon as she heels there will be almost no boat left in the water meaning no drag and that will facilitate getting up on the foils faster. And speaking of foils, these seem to be much less extreme than the foils on the other three boats, less complicated and not quite as big.

But I get ahead of myself. Let me introduce Britannia, INEOS Team UK’s America’s Cup entry named in homage to one of England’s most famous racing yachts. Launched earlier today in England, Britannia marks a landmark moment for British sailing. After 18 months of design, build and development one of the most complex America’s Cup class boats in the 168-year history of the event was christened. At the launch INEOS Team UK’s Chief Designer Nick Holroyd outlined the complexity of the challenge.

“This AC75 is the first foiling monohull of its size and it’s unlike anything ever seen on the water before. It’s hugely ambitious and it sets out an entirely new type of boat and with only eighteen months to design and build there were some challenges, but that’s what makes the America’s Cup so exciting.” Now that’s a bit of British understatement.

INEOS Team UK are based in Portsmouth on the south coast of England and they will be testing their new boat on the Solent, that narrow strip of water that runs between the Isle of Wight and the British mainland. It’s a storied body of water, indeed the place where the America’s Cup was born. The New York Yacht Club had formed a six person syndicate to build a yacht with intention of taking her to England and making some money competing in regattas and match races.

The schooner America arrived in the UK in August of 1851 and raced against 15 yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the Club’s annual race around the Isle of Wight. America won, finishing 8 minutes ahead of the closest rival. Apocryphally, Queen Victoria, who was watching at the finish line, was reported to have asked who was second, the famous answer being. “Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second.” Six years later the surviving members of the America syndicate donated a cup via a “Deed of Gift of the America’s Cup” to the New York Yacht Club specifying that it be held in trust as a perpetual challenge trophy to promote friendly competition among nations. Thus the America’s Cup was born. I can only imagine that the six syndicate members are rolling over in their graves. They could never have imagined this.

INEOS TEAM UK will face off in the first America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Italy from 23rd – 26th April next year. – Brian Hancock.