Torqeedo powers the 3 challengers of the 36th America's Cup
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 6:32 PM
The eyes of the yachting world were on Auckland on as Emirates Team New Zealand defeated Team Luna Rossa to defend the 36th America's Cup.
The defenders and all three challengers were flying with the support of Torqeedo, whose Power 48-5000 battery was selected to power the AC75's foiling cant system. This cutting-edge technology consists of battery-driven 40-tonne hydraulic cylinders that raise and lower the composite foil arms and wings. The foils are incredibly strong and heavy to withstand the extreme forces of manoeuvring a 75-foot yacht at high speeds.
Foiling entered the world stage in 2012 with Emirates Team New Zealand's revolutionary AC72 yacht, Aotearoa. This "flying" sailboat utilised wing-like hydrofoils, which slightly increase drag at first but, as speed increases, start to lift the hull out of the water. Once the hull resistance is eliminated, the yacht can go much faster. Before Aotearoa, America's Cup yachts sailed at around 10 knots. This year's AC75s reached speeds of up to 53 knots. Emirates Team New Zealand's victory marks the successful culmination of more than three years of intense cooperation between Torqeedo and all four teams vying for the Cup.
When America's Cup Event (ACE) came calling, Maurice Bajohr and Dirk Eikemeier answered. Bajohr, Torqeedo's director of internal consulting, previously led the company's applications engineering team and was Torqeedo's key consultant for the Cup. Applications engineers act as a bridge between Torqeedo's research and development departments and its commercial customers. This group of experts enables electrification projects ranging from lifeboats, water taxis and passenger ferries to the fastest sailboats ever built.
Applications engineers typically don't create new products – instead, they customise or modify existing technologies to meet the client's needs. This requires more than just a strong knowledge of Torqeedo products. They also gain a deep understanding of the customer's systems and their technical requirements - no small task when you're working with the minds behind the most technologically advanced racing yachts on the planet.
"We started working with the ACE on the initial integration of the Power 48-5000 battery back in 2018," Bajohr said. "The battery powers the hydraulic foil cant system which were integrated into every team's yacht as defined by the Class Rule." The Class Rule sets the design parameters for the yachts competing in the America's Cup and was defined by the Defender and the Challenger of Record, Team Luna Rossa.
Dan Bernasconi Talks AC75 Class Rule Design.
For the 36th AC, the Class Rule specified that all teams would be supplied with the same rigging, mast tube and the all-important foiling cant system. Bajohr continued: “ACE chose Torqeedo as the battery supplier due to the well-established tech leadership of Torqeedo and BMW, on whose lithium cell modules the Power battery is based, plus Torqeedo's integrated 5-stage safety system, waterproofing, and a highly competitive energy density relative to the price point."
Dirk Eikemeier, Torqeedo's vice president of electronics and software development, led the development of a customised software version for the AC75 yachts which allowed the Power 48-5000 to operate at a higher overall peak power and allowed access to all battery data.
Teams First Glimpse at the Foil Cant System.
Once ACE released the foil cant system to the challenging teams, Torqeedo's worldwide support and service networks were on alert.
"These teams push every component, every system, every bit of software to its absolute limits," said Eikemeier. The teams were in testing during the early days of the COVID crisis, which crippled shipping. "American Magic was testing down in Florida and needed a spare part. That's when Torqeedo's worldwide logistics and spare parts availability came through. We were able to ship one from our service headquarters in the US rather than from Germany, which may not have been possible."
"Working with the America's Cup teams was a special experience," said Bajohr. "They operate with incredible levels of technological prowess and precision. Nothing stands in their way in pursuit of their goal to win the Cup. The spirit and willingness to solve any problem and to fulfill the mission whatever it takes is inspiring."
"What a thrill it's been to be part of this world-class sporting event," Eikemeier said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the products you work to perfect every day flying in the most technologically advanced boats ever built. Our heartiest congratulations to Emirates Team New Zealand. We'll see you when it's time to defend the Auld Mug again."