INEOS Britannia reveal RB3 before dawn

The boat that all British fans hope will have the best chance of winning the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup in 173 years.

Codenamed RB3 for the past two-and-a-half years, the latest AC75 to be revealed is outlandishly stunning with an all-business paint job that accentuates the curvature of the hull form and tricks the eye. Detailing aplenty, it’s a subtly different approach from what we’ve seen so far and represents the very best of design and build.

The most obvious talking point is the hull form. What the British have gone for is a step-on from their prototype boat ‘T6’ with a voluminous, integrated bustle in the bow with a small chine leading back along the keel-line to a razor-sharp edged lower bustle that stops a few feet from the stern.

INEOS Britannia RB3 2

The flaring at the bow is somewhere mid-way between the Kiwis and Italians. Ending the bustle before the transom leaves presumably the majority of the rudder mechanics above deck on the gantry so there’s an aero trade-off with a considerable, but beautifully sculpted, stern gantry that screams Formula 1 design. The almost dead flat stern run off is an area unlikely to be touching water in flight – that’s the thinking at least – and is similar to what we have seen elsewhere.

The area of much interest in this Cup cycle is the aero moulding of the deck and here INEOS Britannia looked to have aced it. Similar in form to both Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli but with perhaps slightly more ‘tunnel’, the deck run off aft is highly aero optimised.

The cyclor pods end with a gradual pinch that flows all the way to the transom and the four pods either side look to again be a big nod to aero – we will see more when RB3 is launched. Up on the bow there is considerable moulding that appears drop-nosed in form, undoubtedly the result of endless hours in the simulations to create the perfect flow into the jibs.

INEOS Britannia RB3 3

Down below the foils were shrouded as today was merely a roll-out and mast step exercise before the team get sailing but the trend for back-slung foils, as far back as possible from the bulb and arm is seen. The British look to be using Version 1 of their foil allowance and eschewing the option of putting legacy foils on for the commissioning phase as we’ve seen with the Kiwis and Italians.

Speaking about the reveal, INEOS Britannia Team Principal and Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie said:

This is a big day for the team. We have been keeping RB3 under wraps for such a long time that it’s almost surreal to see her out of the shed and in public view here in Barcelona. Thousands of hours of work have gone into this boat and so it’s great to finally reveal her to the world. Things are really stepping up in the campaign now, and we are looking forward to launching RB3 and getting out on the water very soon.”

INEOS Britannia RB3 4

The fusion of outstanding naval architect Martin Fischer and the Mercedes Applied Science team in Brackley, Northamptonshire has produced something very special here and with an experienced team of America’s Cup sailors, hopes are high and getting higher that at long last Britain has the design that is capable of going deep into the competition with a shot at winning the Auld Mug.

As ever, what is going on downstairs with the sail controls, power delivery, electronics and mechatronics could be the difference between success and failure – and it’s there where INEOS Britannia could well surprise. The British programme to the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup took a giant leap forward today and the coming weeks will see the campaign go into over-drive with long hours on the water as they work the boat up to race-ready. Could this be the boat that trumps them all – time will tell.


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