Tip & Shaft sail racing have reported that construction of the French Orient Express Team’s first AC75 will begin in May 2023.
The contract with the Kiwis to acquire a latest generation design package of the AC75 was signed at the end of June 2022, at the same time as the French challenge was officially submitted to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the Defenders Team New Zealand’s yacht club.
There is no hanging around waiting for the construction of the French AC75.
Work on the ‘Made in France’ AC75 is expected to begin in May, entrusted to Multiplast (hull), CDK Technologies (masts), while MerConcept will be called in and the sails will be manufactured by North Sails.
This unique AC75 will be launched in May 2024. To fill this yawning gap the French team hope to charter a boat from the last Cup to sail in the winter of 2023-2024.
With all the other Americ’s Cup teams already racking-up time on the water on AC75 and/or AC40 varients, any delay to the French build programme could well see them starting well off the pace!
They will also receive their AC40 next summer, on which they can use for training and that will be the boat for the Women’s and Youth America’s Cup, two competitions in which each registered challenge must participate.
These two programs are delegated to the Team France association, the women’s challenge will revolve around Aloïse Retornaz, 470 bronze medalist in Tokyo, and Paola Amar, also a 470 specialist.
Announcements are expected very soon on the participation of crews under the Orient Express Team banner in flying circuits, ETF26 Series, GC32 Racing Tour or 69F Cup.
Quentin Delapierre will continue to lead the French SailGP team, now also supported by the Accor group under the brand of its loyalty program, All.com.
“With the arrival of Accor, which is a tier 2 partner on this project, and others like ICM.com, we have about half of the team’s sponsorship,” explains Bruno Dubois.
While construction is apparently rushing ahead, the actual budget of the Cup project seems to be less resolved . . . “We are not talking about figures.” says Dubois.
Similarly Sébastien Bazin did not want to be specific . . . “We are dropping the partnership with PSG and it is far less than that!”
The 37th America’s Cup will start in Barcelona, Spain on 12 October 2024.
INEOS Britannia are the ‘Challenger of Record’ from the United Kingdom. Confirmed entries are: Alinghi Red Bull Racing from Switzerland, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli from Italy, American Magic New York Yacht Club from the USA and K-Challenge from France.