- ‘Rita’ and Sir Ben aiming for top trophy
- Land Rover tech for America’s Cup
- Will Britain win 2017 Bermuda meet?
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – OK, we know Land Rover makes damn good all-terrain vehicles, but now the British automaker has taken to the high seas with a boat, a sailing boat, that will outrun most speedboats.
It’s capable of close to 100km/h with its twin hulls clear of the water and riding on daggerboards – essentially water-skis on stalks.
Land Rover BAR has launched the superyacht they believe will make sailing history in the 2017 America’s Cup, raced out of Bermuda, by winning the trophy for the first time since the first race in 1851. Jaguar Land Rover engineers have one aim: to have a British team win the world’s oldest sporting trophy for the first time 166 years.
Just launched in Bermuda, the boat was named ‘Rita’ by Sir Ben Ainslie’s wife Lady Georgie Ainslie and their daughter Bellatrix. The name has a winning pedigree – Sir Ben has used it throughout his racing career.
BAR shared the engineering skills used by Jaguar Land Rover in its newest road vehicles: aerodynamic, self-learning car, artificial intelligence and virtual-modelling technologies are all helping the boat to go faster.
ENGINEERS ‘UPSKILLED’ IN BUILD
Jaguar Land Rover believes it’s the UK’s largest investor in automotive research, development and engineering spending billions on product creation and innovation. The partnership with Land Rover BAR has allowed its engineers to up-skill and practice new methods in different environments and platforms.
Tony Harper, director of research at Jaguar Land Rover, told The Corner in a media release: “This process of two-way engineering 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 boat.
“From the success of this project, and with our knowledge of analysis and construction of light vehicles, we’ve 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 (the hulls are) out of the water.”
Each light daggerboard must bear 2400kg, the equivalent of a new Land Rover Discovery… they are crucial.”
The heats and races will be in May/June 2017, starting with the first qualifiers on 26 May 26. The winner will be crowned at the end of June and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to watch the event live in Bermuda and on TV. Land Rover BAR will be up against teams from USA, France, Sweden, New Zealand and Japan.
‘SAILING AND DESIGN RACE’
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of Land Rover BAR and former boss of McLaren Cars, said: “Jaguar Land Rover’s input to the final boat design has been hugely significant. As the relationship grew, so did its level of involvement.
“The America’s Cup has always been a sailing and design race and the boats have developed to technical machines which will fly out of the water at up to 96km/h.”
Olympic sailor Sir Ben added: “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 into the water here in Bermuda.”