America’s Cup 2021: Team New Zealand refute claims they copied leading designer in construction of AC75’s hydrofoils

Team New Zealand have rejected claims they copied the design of the hydrofoiling system to be used on AC75s in next year’s America’s Cup. Photos / Getty Images, Richard Gladwell

Team New Zealand have hit back at allegations they copied a leading Brazilian boat builder’s design for the foiling monohulls to be used in next year’s America’s Cup.

Naval engineer Manoel Chaves last weekend reportedly threatened to take Team NZ to court — saying he patented the hydrofoils on the impressive AC75s. According to Brazilian sailing website, Chaves claims to have obtained the patent registration on the designs both in Brazil and New Zealand but TNZ refuse to “recognise his property rights” despite repeated requests.

Team NZ, along with Challenger of Record Luna Rossa, announced in September 2017 a move to 75-foot monohulls for the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland.

The AC75 Class Rule was published in March 2018, including “supplied foil arms and cant system to save design time and construction costs”.

According to the report, Chaves will seek to obtain “legal credits for hydrofoil system, as well as specific recognition at the patent and industrial property rights office in New Zealand”.

“For more than two years, Team New Zealand’s lawyers have been dodging our lawyers,” Chaves told

“Initially, they did not respond to our letters or emails. Now, they refuse to meet with our lawyers.

“It is possibly the typical case of an isolated bureaucrat, who knows nothing about boats and who thinks he is above the law.”

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton at the launch of Te Aihe in September last year. Photo / Getty Images
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton at the launch of Te Aihe in September last year. Photo / Getty Images

In a statement to the Herald, TNZ rejected the allegations, adding “every good idea has 1000 fathers”.

“In July 2020, we responded to the allegations made by Mr Chaves. The design of the AC75 foil cant system has not been copied or inspired by Mr Chaves’ design in any way, nor does it infringe any patent,” the statement said.

“As we have explained to Mr Chaves, his patent requires features not found in the AC75 yacht.

“We simply reject the allegations and have explained why those allegations are wrong.

“Emirates Team NZ will strongly resist any infringement allegations Mr Chaves may choose to bring.”

With a top speed of up to 50 knots, the AC75s have proven a challenge to operate for several of the syndicates — with US outfit American Magic yesterday releasing footage of their second boat Patriot’s close call on the Waitematā Harbour.

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