Here's what I think would work, although it's way too late to make any changes to the formula now:
- 60 feet long
- 36 feet wide
- 90 foot mast
- soft sails with a reef point 10 feet from the top
- genaker head 10 feet from the top of the mast
- straight rudders
- Daggerboards loaded from the top
- separate minimum weights for the platform and the rig.
These are just approximations, but I think this approach would yield very fast boats which would also be practical (relatively speaking) to build, maintain AND operate.
The proportion of rig size to platform size is ridiculous on the AC 72. The AC 45 had things about right and produced a great racing series, but the AC 72 is horrifyingly top heavy.
Hard wing sails may be a bit more efficient, but they add a lot of cost, compromise safety and don't make the racing any better. They are also an evolutionary dead end, as they are not practical for any real word sailing application. Also, a fully battened square-top sail with a rotating mast is still very efficient and has the huge benefit of a halyard.
A formula similar to the one above would have the potential to get a lot more teams involved too.
Right now, the whole event is one more AC 72 capsize away from not happening. The AC72s failed to learn the lessons of ORMA 60 and will suffer the same fate, or worse. At least some of the ORMA 60s are still being sailed and their design innovations led to the more conservatively designed MOD 70s.
+1. Well said.