Sailing: Japan test new design model for America’s Cup challenge

SoftBank Team Japan went for a significantly different course to other new teams looking for a challenge Oracle Team U.S.A in this month’s 35th America’s Cup.

Unlike Britain’s Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France who developed their own boats from scratch, Japan purchased their design from the United States holders of the cup.

Led by previous Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, the team is the first Japanese flagged challenger since 2000 and sponsor SoftBank has set its sights on “becoming the first Japanese team to win the America’s Cup”.

Under the procedure for the oldest trophy in worldwide sport, challengers can purchase a basic design packages for the one-design 50-foot (15 meter) hindering catamarans.

Getting an America’s Cup boat on the water, not to mention taking on Oracle Team U.S.A and Artemis Racing which are both backed by billionaires, expenses 10s of millions of dollars.

And although Japan’s close ties to the U.S. defenders have raised some concerns about independence, skipper and CEO Barker states they operate independently on key areas of designing and configuring their catamarans.

Orcale Team

This model is held up by the America’s Cup organizers as a method for more hopefuls to install challenges.

SoftBank Team Japan likewise gets know-how in aerodynamics, instrumentation, simulation, composites, infrastructure, hydraulics and data analysis from Airplane, the European plane maker and “innovation partner” to both teams.

Another aspect giving Japan a “home” benefit is that they have based themselves in Bermuda with Oracle Team USA since they were founded in 2015.



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