Antonov utilises AN-124s to fly racing yachts to New Zealand

By Damian Brett

Offloading in Auckland

Antonov Airlines has completed the transportation of three racing yachts from Italy, the UK, and the US, to Auckland, New Zealand in preparation for the 2021 America’s Cup race.

The carrier’s in-house engineering team worked to ensure the safe loading of the 22.8-metre-long, 4.9-metre-wide AC75 class yachts on board AN-124-100 aircraft.

The total weight of each consignment, including the yachts and support equipment, came to 20 metric tonnes.

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

The journey from Rhode Island took three days and included two scheduled fuelling stops in Chicago, Illinois, and Honolulu, Hawaii.

The air shipment of the cargoes from the UK and Italy both took three days as well with stops in Dubai, UAE, and Surabaya, Indonesia, also for scheduled refuelling.

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

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

Antonov Airlines operates a fleet of seven AN-124-100 aircraft, including two modernised -150M variants, with a payload of up to 150 tonnes, together with the AN-22, with a payload of 60 tonnes, the AN-225, the largest aircraft in the world, which has a payload of 250 tonnes, and smaller AN-26 and AN-74 aircraft.

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