Kiwi-designed inflatables will support Oracle's racing yachts in their defence of the America's Cup.
Naiad Inflatables have signed on as an official supplier to Oracle Racing, and will build four support vessels for the defender's AC45 and AC72 yachts.
The hull designs originate from Naiad Design of New Zealand, which has designed and produced RHIBs for private, commercial, and military use for more than 30 years.
Naiad Design has a long history of producing designs for support tenders for America's Cup teams; their RHIBs have seen consistent duty as America's Cup tenders dating back to the 1992 Cup in San Diego. The hulls are built by Naiad Inflatables of Newport in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Because of the high speeds of the race yachts, all of the new race tenders use Naiad's proven and highly efficient stepped-hull design. These complex hull forms allow Naiad to maintain high rates of speed while retaining a deep-V shape and minimizing drag for maximum fuel efficiency.
Oracle Racing's AC45 tenders are based on the Naiad 10-metre stepped-hull platform, designed to accommodate up to 700 HP; the two AC72 tenders a new 12.9-metre stepped-hull design developed in conjunction with US engine manufacturer, Cummins Marine Diesel. Utilizing twin Cummins QSB 5.9-liter, 480 HP marine diesels coupled to Mercury Racing's new NXT1 diesel stern-drives supplied by Cummins Northeast, these 50+ knot vessels are the core of ORACLE Racing's support fleet. The QSB drives offer the latest in American diesel technology providing outstanding fuel economy and ultra low emissions.
Designed specifically for towing and race support of the AC72s, which will be launched this summer, the Naiad RHIBs are fitted with the B&G Zeus12 MFD, combined with B&G Broadband 4G radar and structurscan, to ensure Oracle has the very latest in marine electronics technology. 4G radar was selected as it has the lower emissions than a cell phone. Zeus offers high performance, ultra-bright, robust chart plotting, and AIS interface.
These vessels also feature hydraulic bow thrusters, cuddy cabins with storage and head facilities, and seating for six crew. Crew connection points will be provided for laptops and equipment. Integrated crew communications systems and shock mitigating seating systems are being considered.
The first hull, 12901, is currently well under construction at the New England Boatworks facility in Portsmouth. It will undergo performance testing in Narragansett Bay in late May before being delivered to Oracle Racing San Francisco.
- Boating NZ