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Crafting world-class racing yachts: A look inside SailGP Technologies' build facility

by SailGP Technologies 19 May 01:49 NZST 19 May 2023
SailGP Technologies 52fter builds in the Top Shed, 2023 © SailGP Technologies

The SailGP Technologies build facilities' rich history in the Americas Cup and more recently building high-performance F50 boats for SailGP, has garnered the attention of yacht owners worldwide.

The SailGP Technologies team has the expertise to collaborate with both global entities and private clients to deliver exceptional, championship-winning race yachts.

SailGP Technologies was first established in 2001, as Core Builders Composite, by Larry Ellison to support his America Cup team, and now the SailGP’s racing league, the world's most successful professional sailing circuit. SailGP is about to start its fourth season, encompassing ten teams and 12 venues.

Over the past 12 months, SailGP Technologies has risen to the challenges of having one F50 struck by lightning in Singapore, and multiple wingsail damage, after a local weather bomb hit the fleet during unrigging in Sydney. Over the course of the last 12 months, new boats rigs and daggerboards have been brought on-stream for the F50 fleet.

Over the past 20 years, the SailGP Technologies' team has built two AC72s, twenty-three AC45s, retro fit and built five AC50s, manufactured a range of components for Artemis Racing’s AC50, modified five AC50s into F50s, built six F50s and have constructed three privately owned 52ft yachts and are currently in the process of building their fourth. And, of course were the builders of 120ft trimaran with a 223ft wingsail, which won the 2010 America's Cup, in what was the most challenging design and build project in America's Cup history.

SailGP Technologies' impressive facilities, used to construct these race yachts, are available to build race boats of all sizes to precisely replicate the designed shape, strength and weight. The TP52's are constructed using hull tooling developed from a male plug cut in one piece by one of the largest CNC milling machines in the Southern Hemisphere, the 5-Axis Gantry CNC milling machine offers a three dimensional working area of 18m x 6m x 3m.

An almost 60 ft long bed allows SailGP Technologies to construct a one-piece male plug for a TP52 - meaning precision accuracy to the designed shape and a perfectly fair hull requiring the minimum weight of paint and elimination of the need for fairing filler.

Other milling devices at SailGP Technologies have the capability of shaping any material including titanium.

SailGP Technologies have built three 52ft foot race boats, including Sled, overall winner of the 2021 52 Super Series Season championship and 2021 Rolex TP52 World Champions, and Caro, which won Division 1 of 2022 Hamilton Island Race Week. One other TP52 is complete and awaiting shipment - the fourth is midway through its build.

Nathan Kerry, Project Manager at SailGP Technologies reveals that the latest new build is a high performance IRC52 racing yacht. The IRC52 complies with the International Rating Certificate (IRC) rule, which takes into account various factors such as boat length, weight, and sail area to determine a boat's handicap rating for a particular race. This will be the second IRC52 constructed at the facility after the success of the IRC52 Caro, which is owned and driven by Max Klink. Caro achieved numerous victories, including winning Division 1 in the 2022 Hamilton Island Race Week and being the first 52 over the line at the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Most of the 52 builds at SailGP Technologies are either an IRC52 or a TP52, both similar in size but differ in key design and rule-specific aspects. The TP52 is specifically designed to race under the Transpac 52 rule, which imposes strict limits on boat dimensions and sail area to ensure fairness among competitors.

A previous build, TP52 Sled, is owned and driven by Takashi Okura. Sled achieved remarkable success as the overall winner of the 2021 52 Super Series Season Championship and the 2021 Rolex TP52 World Championship.

TP52 yacht racing tends to attract more sports teams due to its strictly enforced regulations, making it a more appealing option for serious competitors. On the other hand, IRC52 racing is more popular among private owners, who have greater flexibility to modify their boats according to their specific sailing style.

The SailGP Technologies boat building facility has been consistently investing in machinery, equipment, and skill. Nathan explains that the team specializes in building elite racing yachts working with clients globally to achieve the high performance, high quality builds required to succeed in this industry.

If you're seeking to build your next elite race yacht to the highest standard, do not hesitate to contact the team at SailGP Technologies.

High performance, sustainable innovation.

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