Hydraulink gives wings to lightning-fast America’s Cup

Hydraulink hydraulic hose and maintenance expertise of the type that keeps Australasian and Asia-Pacific industrial machinery performing 24/7 to global standards will go on display to millions of people in 225 countries when the 36th America’s Cup begins in coming months.

The defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand – and entire field of challengers which will fight it out to meet the Kiwis in the final – all use Hydraulink hoses and fittings to control their complex hydraulic systems, such as the vital foil cant technology.

Rapid and sensitive hydraulic actuation of the foils is vital to the performance edge of each boat as it skims above the waves at speeds reaching 47-50 knots (90+kph) in what is expected to be a lightning-fast defence series from March 6-12.

The super yachts demand quality products that perform where the absolute pinnacle of engineering standards and reliability is required, in the same way that Hydraulink protects the uptime and dependability of individual pieces of expensive machinery and multi-million-dollar mobile fleets and industrial plant.

The event will be seen around the world by the biggest audience ever expected in the America’s Cup’s history, when the 36th America’s Cup begins with the Prada Cup Challenger from January 15-Feb 22. Preliminary races, including the Prada Christmas Cup, commence in December, with more than 120 broadcasters already signed up in the first wave of support announced in October. Digital platforms are expected to help make this the most widely accessible America’s Cup ever.

Hydraulink is widely known in industrial markets as a leading supplier to major construction, civil engineering, infrastructure, manufacturing, resources, mining and energy, forestry, primary industry, transport and marine companies in Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia and the Western USA. The company provides quality hydraulic hoses and fitting and operates to world-class standards of safety and standards compliance, providing maintenance, and service life optimisation for often huge and complex machinery working 24/7 that depends extensively on hydraulics for safe and efficient operation.

Hydraulink’s introduction to involvement in the America’s Cup began when Hydraulink director Lee Short was watching a race in the build-up to the NZ win in the America’s Cup in San Diego in 1995. “A hydraulic leak on the mast boom of Team New Zealand sprayed oil into the cockpit, causing a few issues. I thought, ‘We can do better than that’, so, when the team arrived back ready to defend the Cup, I organised a visit to Team New Zealand and offered our expertise for the next defence. Twenty-five years on we are still the exclusive supplier. This 36th America’s Cup is a bit special though, because we are supplying the hose and fittings for each challengers foil cant system.”

Fellow Hydraulink director Noel Davies says that – while the America’s Cup involvement is a bit out of Hydraulink’s usual line of business – the culture of excellence and innovation it inspires among Hydraulink staff benefits work teams and customers alike of the 400-plus Hydraulink service points.

“We encourage a constant improvement and a can-do attitude that accords with our national spirit. The win by Australia to break the US stranglehold on the America’s Cup – and the multiple successes of New Zealand since then – show just what standards of excellence can be achieved by constant dedication to team excellence, in the sporting arena and in all our workshops and customer’s workplaces. Lee has taken a great initiative in making this happen, and we believe this delivers a strong ethic of excellence throughout Hydraulink,” says Davies.

Short says that – in addition to being the world’s old trophy in international sport – “The America’s Cup is a monumental engineering achievement. The Emirates Team New Zealand Defender alone is the culmination of more than 100,000 work hours from a design-and-build team over the past six months, incorporating the knowledge from the first big boat Te Aihe and the smaller test boat Te Kāhu. With hydraulic systems on board that utilise Hydraulink hoses and fittings, this is a project very dear to our hearts and we are incredibly proud to have contributed to the build of this ground-breaking yacht, which is set to defend the Cup in March.”