New Kiwi-designed Raptor 11m RIB debuts for America’s Cup 40

The Raptor 11m RIB, a new Kiwi-designed America’s Cup 40 chase boat, hit the water in Auckland recently.

The Raptor 11m RIB, a new Kiwi-designed America’s Cup 40 chase boat, hit the water in Auckland recently.

Built by Fusion Marine Boat Builders in Silverdale, the Raptor 11m RIB showed its paces before being packed up, and shipped away to its new Swedish owners.

A stepped-hull design powered by twin Yamaha 300hp outboard motors, this new craft’s sleek lines shout performance. And performance there is, topping out at 55.2 knots or 102 kph.

Built specifically to service the AC40 fleet in upcoming America’s Cup Youth and Women’s regattas, the craft is built to meet exacting requirements.

Stu Bettany from Fusion Marine Boat Builders explained that there were a few design hurdles to overcome – the RIB must carry sufficient fuel, and provide enough storage and deck space for sails and spares, to stay out all day servicing AC40 yachts. It also contains an onboard toilet that is neatly fitted in front of the steering console.

The design needed to be fast enough to keep up with AC40 yachts and had to fit into flat-rack containers for shipping to AC40 events held worldwide.

Tasked with coming up with a solution, Stu approached Brett Bakewell-White for the design.

The twin stepped-hull design was chosen because it allows the boat to run on a reduced wetted surface area while providing a RIB that runs flat, is stable fore and aft, and handles well.

The boat is constructed from E-Glass in vinyl ester. The floor is solid, which, as Brett Blakewell-White explained, “is simply because the boat is going to be travelling fast in various parts of the world and you never know what could be in the water. The boat could be built lighter out of carbon, but from a longevity and practical operational point of view, the boat is glass.”

The hull plug was CNC-milled in Warkworth at the former Core Builders Composites facility to form a female mould. The precision of the mould is evident in the sharp, straight lines of the final boat.

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