The Aerodynamic HP Foil Pro – Developed with the sailors of American Magic
Since 2018, our developers have worked closely with New York Yacht Club American Magic, Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021. Their mission to win the highest prize in sailing and bring back the oldest trophy in international sports to the United States challenges the performance of everything from crew and boat design to gear and clothing technology, pushing the limits of what is possible. These extreme requirements for innovation have provided the perfect test lab for our designers in their quest to develop the most advanced sailing kit ever.
As the official apparel sponsor, Helly Hansen is responsible for creating gear as aerodynamic and performance-driven as the American Magic’s AC75 foiling monohull sailboat. This has led to the development of the HP Foil Pro Jacket and HP Foil Pro Smock Top – both built with HELLY TECH® Professional 3-layer fabric and featuring ultrasonic-welded seams for reduced drag and waterproof protection.
The America’s Cup is all about pushing the limits of technology, and every fabric, seam, panel, and zipper make a difference in enabling the crew to execute their responsibilities to perfection on deck in such a fast-paced environment and to get within the strict weight target. In the end, every gram and detail count towards making them faster.
Built for speed
Expanding on innovative engineering and aerodynamic designs, the HP Foil Pro Smock Top is a performance-driven piece that is also fully waterproof. Based on feedback from the American Magic team during training, the smock top was designed with low-profile zippers on the front kangaroo pocket and front zipper, hiding a mesh ventilation system. The close-to-body fit reduces drag and improves freedom of movement.
With HELLY TECH® Professional 3-ply lamination, the Foil Pro Softshell Smock Top is also extremely waterproof and breathable, providing maximum protection even in harsh conditions. Additional features of the smock top include ultrasonic-welded seams, which ensure the flat seams do not have threads that restrict the stretch, and double-sealed tape for extreme waterproofness.
“We are honored to work closely with the American Magic team as we continue to evolve our designs to perform at the highest level of professional sailing,” said Øyvind Vedvik, Category Managing Director of Sailing at Helly Hansen. “Every detail, fabric, and seam are examined using their feedback to create performance-driven gear built for high speeds.”
Advanced technical performance
Later this spring, we will launch the Foil Pro Softshell Jacket. This highly innovative softshell jacket features HELLY TECH® Professional 4-way stretch softshell fabric, ultrasonic-welded seams, a close-to-body fit, and a low-profile design.
The fabric and fit provide freedom of movement and make this the perfect jacket for high-intensity activities when you need to stay dry from the water. With this jacket, we have created an incredibly lightweight and aerodynamic jacket that helps the American Magic crew stay comfortable and hyper-focused.
It all adds up
The rules of America’s Cup are strict about weight, and with the introduction of the AC75 class at the 36th America’s Cup, a new weight concept has been introduced, imposing a maximum weight in contrast to the minimum weight that most regattas use.
The 11-person crew can carry a set weight of gear on board, including all clothing, communications, safety equipment, food and water. With only a few kilos of gear allowed per person, this means that wetsuits, shoes, life jackets, jackets, pants, helmets, sunglasses, headsets, radios, and so forth, need to be as light as humanly and technically possible.
Both the upcoming Foil Pro Softshell Jacket and Foil Pro Softshell Smock Top have been developed in accordance with this weight rule. This has made them extremely lightweight while still meeting the demands of durability and versatility from crew members who perform their tasks at speeds of up to 50 knots.
The grinders on board are in charge of pumping oil through the boat’s hydraulics through raw muscle power, and they need to generate an average of 250 watts and keep that level throughout the race while keeping their rapidly moving upper bodies dry. They need unrestricted movement, and it’s a far cry from the role of the skipper or helmsman, who need to hold on and stabilize themselves against full-on G-forces through massive sprays of water, or the work of the wing trimmer, or the flight controller. To keep a 75-foot boat on its foils while performing instantaneous, razor-sharp maneuvers is a highly complex operation involving a number of specialized roles. Their kit needs to satisfy every demand.