Raptor reception

A new Kiwi-designed America’s Cup 40 chase boat has hit the water in Auckland.

10 May 2024


The Raptor, a custom 11-metre RIB by Fusion Marine Boat Builders, has been tested in Auckland before being packed up and shipped to its new Swedish owners.

The RIB has been built specifically to service the AC40 fleet in upcoming America’s Cup Youth and Women’s regattas, which kick off in Barcelona in October.

The new RIB, which has a stepped hull design and twin Yamaha 300 hp outboard motors, tops out at 55.2 knots, or 102 kph.

Stu Bettany from Fusion Marine Boat Builders (a division of DW Bettany Boat Builders) explains there were a few design hurdles to overcome.

Bettany explains the RIB needed to carry sufficient fuel and provide enough storage and deck space for sails and spares to stay out all day servicing AC40 yachts. It also required an onboard toilet, neatly fitted in front of the steering console.

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


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

He reveals that 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 vinylester. The floor is solid, which, as Blakewell-White explains, “is simply because the boat is going to be travelling fast in various parts of the world, and you never know what’s going to be in the water.”

He adds: “The boat could be built lighter out of carbon, but from a longevity and practical operational point of view, it is glass.”

The hull plug was CNC-milled in Warkworth, in the old Core Builders Composites facility, to create a female mould.



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