America’s Cup: each team will have two hydrogen support boats (with foils)

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Hydrogen-powered boats: the proposal of Team New Zealand
Hydrogen-powered boats: the proposal of Team New Zealand

The America’s Cup has always represented the state of the art in the sailing world. What if it becomes one for the engine as well? Let’s explain: Emirates Team New Zealand, winner of the last edition of the Cup, is working on an out-of-the-box project: to build a hydrogen-powered boat equipped with foils in the America’s Cup as a support vessel.

Hydrogen-powered boats: the proposal of Team New Zealand

This is the idea of the ETNZ Defender and the challenger team at the Ineos Team UK Cup who aim to make a vehicle that does not use fossil fuel while making room for new technologies. And so the first prototype of this boat, which will be able to support the future Cup boat before, after and during the race in all its logistical and practical aspects by flying on foils and using hydrogen, is being created through a collaboration with the start-up AFCryo. This is not just a quirk of Team New Zealand, but could become the standard. The project is far from simple to accomplish, but the “old jug” as enthusiasts call it has always been a very important testing ground for experimentation, even extreme experimentation, in boating.

Hydrogen boats and foil: Team New Zealand’s proposal

This is according to a communication from Defender ETNZ, which, together with challenger Ineos Team UK, is preparing for the 37th edition of the event. Emirates Team New Zealand designers are currently working on a prototype hydrogen-powered foiling boat, to be built at the team’s North Shore facility, capable of supporting an AC75 (the Cup’s sailboats) in all aspects of an America’s Cup campaign.

Supporting ETNZ is ancche Ineos Team UK, ETNZ’s Challanger of Record who is ready to sign in the protocol (the rules of each America’s Cup edition) that at least twenty boats supporting the event and the regatta be hydrogen-powered. All this provided the boat works and is reliable.


Update – November 18, 2021

With the release of the protocol for the 37th America’s Cup, it is now official that all teams are required to build and use two hydrogen-powered boats for their campaign (subject to testing for operation). The goal? Using the sounding board of this event to show the world that hydrogen technology in the marine sector will help create a path that will change the industry at large. The reason is clear, to significantly reduce emissions. These boats must be at least 10 meters long, and the criteria for use and performance are defined in the protocol.

Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand commented on the choice as follows:

“Teams pollute a lot with support boats through the long days of testing, research and training. Over the past year we have developed, designed and are now building a prototype hydrogen support boat that will have a major effect on reducing the team’s carbon footprint, as well as pushing the development of hydrogen in the marine sector.”


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