America's Cup: AC45 rigging process - takes just 30 minutes

The top of the wingsail - to which the skyhook will be attached for lifting the wingsail and the boat itself. The AC45 waits on the other side of the shed/hangar - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011

One of the serious question marks hanging over the choice of a wingsailed multihull for the America's Cup has been the rigging process.

Those who were in Valencia 12 months ago would have been only too aware of the issues faced daily by the then BMW Oracle Racing team as they tried to keep USA-17 on a short leash between races, and without having to lower the wingsail each night.

A lot of thought and effort has gone into the prototype AC45, and the rigging and launching process.

Sail-World was on hand to document the exercise on Monday morning as a well drilled shore crew went through the process - which took just 30 minutes from the time the wingsail was pushed out of the shed to the AC45 splashing into the Viaduct Harbour.

Step 1: Wheel out the wingsail
Wingsail base showing control mechanisms and the ballast tank to the left - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 2: Fill the watertank on the base of the wingsail
Watertank provides ballast for base of wingsail to help with control in a breeze - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 3: Attach the skyhook to the halyard at the top of the wingsail
DSC02237 edited-1 - - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 4: The remotely controlled skyhook starts the wingsail lift, as the shore team support the trailing edge
Shore crew are there to steady the wingsail not lift - - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step5: Wingsail nears vertical
The wingsail rotates on a universal swivel on the launch trolley - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 6: Wingsail now vertical AC45 is wheeled under the wingsail
The wingsail is vertical and under control while waiting for the platform to be wheeled out - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 7: The wingsail is positioned above the mastball
The wingsail is positioned by a crane operator with a remote control, standing almost alongside the hull and with a very precise view of the wingsail/platform closure. Note watertank in position to top left of picture - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 8: The first set of stays are positioned by winch and ruler
Winding the stay into position is a careful task - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 9: The strain gauges are connected inside the Pelican case
Strain gauges are on the sidestays and forestay - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 10: The waterbox is drained and removed from the wingsail
The stainless steel water box replaces an earlier plywood model - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 11: A second set of stays is attached and positioned using a ruler and winch
Stay lashing - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Remote control is essential.
The skyhook operator is able to get a close up view of wingsail positioning and uses a remote control to drive the crane - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 12: The green lifting strops are attached around the mainbeam
Lifting strops are looped around the mainbeam - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 13: The skyhook halyard tail is tied off and the shore crew step off before the lift
Dismounting the centre spine which is the central structural member on the platform, as well as being quite a hurdle for the crew - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011


Step 14: The AC45 is craned out over the water - just 30 minutes after rollout
AC45 hoists perfectly still and balanced - AC45 Rigging - 14 February 2011