Antonov Airlines flies racing yachts to New Zealand

The yachts, designed to rise out of the water on hydrofoils, were carried by AN-124-100 Ruslan aircraft for teams from Italy, UK, and USA.

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The UK INEOS team’s AC75 yacht being loaded onto the AN-124-100 Ruslan. (Photo credit: Antonov Airlines)

Ukrainian carrier Antonov Airlines flew three hightech racing yachts from Italy, UK, and the US towards its final destination in Auckland for the 2021 America’s Cup race. 

Measuring 22.8 metres long, 4.9 metres wide, the AC75 class yachts were safely loaded onto seven AN-124-100 Ruslan with help from Antonov’s in-house engineering team.

Each consignment weighed 20 metric tonnes, including the yacht and support equipment, the carrier noted.

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“Our engineers worked closely with the teams that organised the air shipment of these unique yachts to develop a safe loading and stowage system for the long journeys to New Zealand,” said Andriy Blagovisniy, commercial director of Antonov Airlines. 

“The AN-124 Ruslan, which has a volume of cargo cabin up to 700 cubic metres, was the ideal aircraft for the job,” he explained. 

The first yacht came from Providence, Rhode Island, for the American Magic team, with the second travelling from London Stansted Airport, for the British INEOS Team, and the third departing Milan Bergamo Airport for the Italian Luna Rossa team. 

Antonov noted the transport from Rhode Island to Auckland took three days and included two scheduled fuelling stops in Chicago and Honolulu, whilst the air shipment of cargo from the UK and Italy both took three days as well, with stops in Dubai and Surabaya for scheduled refuelling. 

The AC75 yachts, which can reach speeds of up to 50 knots (92.6 kph), have been designed to “fly” by rising out of the water on hydrofoils. 

The three yachts transported by Antonov will compete against defending champions the Emirates Team New Zealand and Stars and Stripes Team USA in the 36th America’s Cup next March. 

(Updated with edits on the first sentence from “Russian” to “Ukrainian”)

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