IN PURSUIT OF THE HAT-TRICK.
In 2015, BMW becomes Global Partner of the 35th America’s Cup, as well as Technology Partner of defender ORACLE TEAM USA. The team’s mission is to win the America’s Cup for the third time in a row. BMW was also on board for the team’s first victory in 2010.
The 35th America’s Cup sees the use of catamarans that lift themselves almost completely out of the water. Together with the wing sail, they are thus able to achieve spectacular speeds. This means that hydrodynamics and aerodynamics play key roles. In this regard, ORACLE TEAM USA can rely entirely on BMW’s wealth of expertise and modern infrastructure. More valuable know-how from the automobile sector is also incorporated in the America’s Cup campaign in the field of lightweight design.
AN INCREDIBLE COMEBACK.
Catamarans that “fly” across the surface on foils are used for the first time in San Francisco in 2013. Even more spectacular than the boats themselves is the sporting drama that develops in the America’s Cup match between ORACLE TEAM USA and challenger Team New Zealand, which leads the competition 8:1 and needs just one more race win to secure overall victory. However, the defender pulls off eight victories in a row to complete one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.
BMW ORACLE Racing wins the America’s Cup for the first time in 2010. The Swiss defender, Alinghi, suffers a resounding 2:0 defeat in Valencia. The winning yacht is one of the most spectacular in the long and eventful history of the America’s Cup.
The “USA 17” is a 90-foot trimaran, propelled by a mighty wing sail. The height of the mast is more than twice the waterline length of 27 metres. In the second and decisive race, the “USA 17” achieves a top speed of over 33 knots (61 km/h) – that is three times the speed of the wind on that particular day. BMW ORACLE Racing sails under the flag of the Golden Gate Yacht Club and brings the America’s Cup, which was lost to New Zealand in 1995, back to the USA.
BMW LIGHTWEIGHT EXPERTISE.
At the 2007 America’s Cup – the first to take place in Europe – the BMW ORACLE Racing team can rely on BMW expertise in the field of intelligent lightweight design.
The majority of the yachts’ hull and rigging is made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFK). Thanks to sophisticated structural analysis and sensory tools, the material can be used in such a way as to keep the yacht light, whilst at the same time making it very stable and resilient.
BMW ENTERS THE GAME.
BMW joins forces with US challenger Oracle BMW Racing to join the battle for the most prestigious sailing trophy in the world for the first time. The Munich-based premium automobile manufacturer supports Larry Ellison’s team on its America’s Cup debut by providing a technology transfer. Among the features BMW develops is a micro head-up display to project real-time race information directly and wirelessly to the sunglasses of the sailors on the boat. BMW engineers also perform tension and stability checks and optimise the ergonomics of the grinder winches.
The Oracle BMW Racing team reaches the final of the Louis Vuitton Cup on its Cup debut, making it Challenger of Record for the next America’s Cup, which is held in 2007 in Valencia.
The first America’s Cup to take place outside the USA attracts 13 challengers from six countries. Team New Zealand lines up with the first 12-metre class to feature a fibreglass hull. Despite this, Dennis Conner wins the Louis Vuitton Cup and also triumphs in the America’s Cup to return the trophy lost in 1983 to the USA.
END OF AN ERA.
The longest winning streak in sporting history comes to an end in 1983. After 132 years and 25 successful title defences, the New York Yacht Club is defeated by Alan Bond’s “Australia II”, a 12-metre class yacht.
At the end of a high-class series featuring seven races, “Australia II” wins a dramatic final race, in which the lead changes hands several times, to take the trophy 4:3. The Australians’ technological advantage, which probably makes all the difference, is a revolutionary winged keel, which is controversial but ultimately permitted by the governing body.
Between 1914 and 1937, the so-called “Universal Rule” is used as the rating rule in the America’s Cup. In the last of his five campaigns, Britain’s Sir Henry Lipton, one of the most tenacious challengers in the history of the competition and an extremely popular challenger in the USA, due to his renowned sportsmanship, lines up with a J class yacht: the “Shamrock V”.
J class yachts, which were equipped with a Bermuda rig instead of the conventional gaff rig, are used up to 1937. The Americans counter this with the “Enterprise”, which owes much of its speed and dominance to the world’s first mast made from Duralumin, weighing just 1,800 kg.
From 1887, a new rating rule leads to dramatic improvements in yacht design and to some of the largest and most extreme yachts ever seen in the America’s Cup. At 44 metres in length, the “Reliance”, the 1903 winning yacht, remains the largest race sloop ever built and has a 60-metre top mast and 1,500 m² of sail area. It also features a ballasted rudder, two-speed winches below the deck, and a cork-decked aluminium topside.
THE FIRST CHALLENGE.
The Royal Thames Yacht Club is the first to challenge the New York Yacht Club, in an attempt to bring the America’s Cup back home to England. The English team fields the topsail schooner ‘Cambria’, without success. It will be another 113 years before a challenger triumphs.
The schooner ‘America’ wins a sailing race around the Isle of Wight in 1851 and is awarded with the ‘100 Guinea Cup’, a trophy that is later renamed the ‘America’s Cup’ in honour of the winning yacht. Ever since, the Cup has inspired the best yacht designers and sailors to peak performances. The America’s Cup – also affectionately known as “Auld Mug” – is seen as the most difficult sailing trophy to win and is also the oldest in international sport.