Land Rover BAR have launched the boat they believe will make sailing history. One of the fastest, most technically advanced craft on the water has been developed with Jaguar Land Rover engineers with one aim: to win the world's oldest sporting trophy.
It's 50 years since England's footballers won a major prize. Tennis lovers waited 77 years for a British man to follow Fred Perry as Wimbledon singles champion. But Britain has never won the America's Cup in its 166-year history.
Launched in Bermuda, the boat was named 'Rita' by Sir Ben Ainslie's wife Lady Georgie Ainslie and daughter Bellatrix. The name has a winning pedigree – Sir Ben has used it throughout his career.
BAR shared the engineering skills used by Jaguar Land Rover to create its newest models. Aerodynamic, self-learning car, artificial intelligence and virtual-modelling technologies are all helping the boat to go faster. Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest investor in automotive research, development and engineering spending billions on new product creation and innovation, the partnership with Land Rover BAR enables the engineers to up-skill and practice new methods in different environment and platforms.
Tony Harper, Director of Research at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “This process of two-way engineering and our wider STEM programme across the business has enabled us to develop, learn and provide our capabilities to the BAR team. We developed industry-first aerodynamic testing to support the wingsail design which you can see on the final boat here today. From the success of this project, and with our knowledge of analysis and construction of light-weight vehicles, we have also supported the structural design of the daggerboards – the surfboard-style structure underneath the boat that allow it to fly and keep it stable when out of the water.”
Each light-weight daggerboard needs to bear 2,400kg, the equivalent of a new Land Rover Discovery, so their job on the boat is crucial.
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of Land Rover BAR said: “Jaguar Land Rover’s input to the final boat design has been hugely significant for us. As the relationship grew, so did their level of involvement.
“The America’s Cup has always been a sailing and design race and the boats have developed from ropes and winches to more technical machines which will fly out of the water at up to 60mph. This complex design requires the latest engineering skill and insight, allowing automotive brands to make a significant impact in the design race – very much like in F1.”
Sir Ben Ainslie said: ““It’s a great moment to see our race boat Rita hit the water in Bermuda. The launch represents the sum of all the team’s efforts to bring the America’s Cup home, and we’re delighted to get her in the water here in Bermuda. We’re a start-up team, and we had to build not just the boat but the design and engineering team, the facilities and the processes to get to this point today. There are just a few short months before the racing starts at the end of May, and we will be working very hard now on the final development and testing of this boat to make sure we are ready for the racing.”
The team have less than four months to make design tweaks and for the sailors to train on the water in Bermuda.
The America’s Cup begins on 26 May 2017 with the first round of qualifiers. The winner will be crowned at the end of June. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to watch the event live in Bermuda and more on TV. Land Rover BAR will be up against teams from USA, France, Sweden, New Zealand and Japan.