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Sail Power

August 18, 2015

Sail Power

 

Words by: Jared Paul Stern

 

BMW is betting big on the 35th America’s Cup,

set to take place in Bermuda next year. The action is already underway to select the challenger in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, which just began in the UK with a win for the newly formed Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslee Racing) team. BMW has no intention of ceding position to Land Rover, and has signed on to back America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA as official Technology Partner – their previous agreement ended following the team’s victory in 2010 – as well inking a new deal as Global Partner of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), organizers of the sailing extravaganza.

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It would certainly be a huge upset if the America’s Cup, the world’s most challenging competitive sailing event as well as the oldest trophy in international sport, ended up in British hands for the first time in its 164-year history. Since both Land Rover and BMW provide engineering and technical expertise to their respective teams, it would also be something of a victory for England over Germany. In 2010 as skipper and helmsman for BMW Oracle Racing, Aussie Jimmy Spithill became the youngest ever winner of the America’s Cup. He credits BMW technology with helping achieve that victory. He also went on to successfully defend the Cup in San Francisco without any new gadgetry from the Bavarians.

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This time the question might well come down to who has the best tech, BMW or Land Rover? The interesting aspect is that there are no engines involved. All of the America’s Cup teams will race in multihull catamarans with manual foiling hydraulics. But the hydraulics themselves are pretty damn important. Ditto the aerodynamics. And there are a lot of variables at work: can an American boat skippered by an Aussie using German technology beat a British boat skippered by a British bloke – Sir Ben Ainslee – using British tech? Well we here at DQ actually think that the Brits might pull it off. So if you’d care to make a small wager…..

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