Pete Melvin: What Emirates Team NZ are learning from the SL33 program

Emirates Team NZ is running twin SL33 as part of its development program for the AC72’s

Top multihull designer, Pete Melvin blogs from the design office about what Emirates Team NZ has learned from the SL33 programme:

SL33 goes through her paces
The twin SL33s are getting a relentless workout at the hands of the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing crew that far exceeds anything anticipated during the design process.

They are reveling in winds up to 30 knots and sea states that were never envisaged when the SL33 was originally designed as a light-air European alpine lake speedster.

There has been no let up in the testing. Since taking delivery of the two yachts in June, the team has managed to get in more than 40 days of hard testing.

Loads and stresses generated during the testing program are greatly exceeding original design load limits, and the boats are holding up incredibly well considering what they have been through.

And Emirates Team New Zealand is getting a huge amount of excellent equipment testing data and the sailors are getting to spend a lot of time on the water honing their multihull skills

SL33’s were originally designed as lake boats, and have been beefed up for testing
Good result all round. There’s an additional benefit that we had not considered even four months ago – the learnings of Auckland will be applied to future builds.

The SL33 design pre-dates the America’s Cup decision to go multihull but it has proved to be perfect for AC team testing because as it is just under the 10m Surrogate yacht limit as specified by the AC Protocol and is a very similar configuration to the AC72 and AC45 concepts.

At about 25% of the price, it’s much more cost effective than an AC45.

The Emirates Team New Zealand boats have been configured for higher wind and sea states than the original concept, with shorter rigs and other structural modifications.

Recently we added a hard wing sail to one of the boats and have begun testing.

Pete’s company, Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering, designed the SL33s. They also headed the team that created the new AC72 Class Rule.

Emirates Team NZ - Wingsail test - 3 November 2011