America’s Cup: Watch as France’s Orient Express AC40 hits the water

Orient Express France America's Cup AC40

France’s Orient Express Racing Team (OERT) took to the water off Barcelona on its new AC40 for the first time yesterday (22 August 2023).

The French team, which confirmed entry to the 37th America’s Cup in January, is now gearing up to join fellow competitors in the America’s Cup Preliminary Regattas, with the AC40 one-design foiling monohull set for rigorous testing in the coming weeks.

Skipper and pilot Quentin Delapierre and fellow pilot Kevin Peponnet took charge of the AC40 during a short session, supported by trimmers Matthieu Vandamme and Jason Saunders.

Despite light wind conditions causing a ‘glass-out’ sea state — which delayed racing at the concurrent 2023 Rolex TP52 World Championships — the OERT still got the AC40 foiling above the surface off Barcelona during its first test sail.

“We just need to take it step by step, take the days after days and just solve problems, find ideas, new ideas,” says Delapierre. “I don’t want the team to rush themselves and try to like catch the others because there are so many sailing sessions in front of us and we just have to make it simple; be really focused on what are the essentials and make it happen in Villanova.”

The Orient Express Team say they are now keen to gain as many hours on the water as possible to bridge the experience gap with other teams.

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The AC40 is also the race boat for the Orient Express Racing Team Youth America’s Cup and Women’s America’s Cup squads, who are competing in the run-up to the America’s Cup in 2024.

Team Coach, Thierry Douillard, adds: “The conditions were very light today, but we had just enough to get on the foils twice, and we managed to do some sailing and tick off what we wanted to achieve, so it has been a very positive first day. Of course, we have a huge amount to learn, but it was a good first step. We’re looking forward to more typical conditions as the week evolves. We are green light go!”

With two years left to go until the 37th America’s Cup takes place in Barcelona, organisers have recently confirmed further details of the event format, including the agreed race area and 2024 dates.

Orient Express France America's Cup AC40

Racing in the America’s Cup Match itself, which will be a best-of-13 (first to seven) format, will commence on Saturday 12 October, with two races scheduled, followed by a further two races on Sunday 13 October 2024.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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