Launch of trials vessel. | Ugo Fonollá / America's Cup


They have been building up the excitement with teaser shots on social media, but this week the veil was lifted out at the INEOS Britannia training base in Palma, of the British team’s LEQ12 – its prototype testing platform for the America´s Cup, sailing´s premier event.

Revealing an angular hull form with extreme faring forward that leads to an, almost, full length skeg running aft and a super-flat stern run-off, ‘T6’ as the boat has been named is a hive of detail, the result of an extensive partnership and integration with the Mercedes AMG F1 Applied Science team based at Brackley in Northamptonshire. Its slab-sides are reminiscent of the Te Kahu test boat built for Emirates Team New Zealand at AC36 whilst the flaring is very much a step-on of the Cup winning Te Rehutai design and we wait to see the first photographs of the deck layout and control packages.

The T6 hull was built by Carrington Boats at Hythe, near Southampton in the UK, before being transported up to the Mercedes F1 base in Brackley for its detailed fit-out of the electronics and control packages but James Allison, Chief Technical Officer of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, is clear that this vessel is very much a platform to validate their design and engineering packages that they are deploying for this Cup cycle: “We understand from our F1 experience the vital importance of creating the best suite of tools for designing and engineering the vehicle. We also understand the crucial role that validation plays in improving and coming to trust those tools. T6 has been designed for that purpose, and we’re all looking forward to getting to grips with the data she can provide.”

Capturing that data and analysing the results will be key ahead of the team confirming the final design for their one-build AC75 that will compete in Barcelona at AC37 in September 2024 and with the team’s AC40 now in transit for delivery at the beginning of November, it is going to be a busy time for the INEOS Britannia team. Extensive tow testing of the hull form and, in particular, the almost elliptical foils that feature what is presumed to be a Pitot Tube protruding forward to measure fluid flow velocity, is now scheduled ahead of the team rigging and sailing the boat for the first time.

From the America´s Cup website.