Archive for September, 2009

It’s Official!

September 24th, 2009 No comments

The World Sailing Speed Record have now confirmed L’Hydroptere as the fastest sailing boat in the world.  Official announcement is here.  Check out the video of this amazing feat further down on this page or on YouTube.

WSSR Newsletter No 177. Hydroptere World Records. 23/09/09
The WSSR Council announces the ratification of 3 new World Records:

Record: World Sailing Speed Record and D class World Record

Yacht: l’Hydroptère

Name: Alain Thébault FRA and 10 crew

Dates: 4th September 2009

Start time: 17: 44: 58.7

Finish time: 17:45:17.6

Elapsed time: 18.9 seconds

Current variation: .08 kts

Distance: 500.05 metres

Wind speed/direction: 30 kts: 260˚

Average speed: 51. 36 Knots

Previous Records: Outright World Record: Alexandre Caizergues (kitesurf), 50.57 kts: D Class, l’Hydroptère, 46.88 kts

Record: World Nautical Mile Record

Yacht: l’Hydroptère

Name: Alain Thébault FRA and 10 crew

Dates: 4th September 2009

Start time: 17:44:25.1

Finish time: 17:45:38.9

Elapsed time: 73.8 seconds

Current variation: .08 kts

Distance: 1852.61

Wind speed/direction: 30 kts: 260˚

Average speed: 48.74 Knots

Previous Record: Nautical mile, l’Hydroptère, 43.09 kts

Formula 1 Intrigue Continues ..

September 24th, 2009 No comments

Just who is this mysterious “Witness X” (or is it Witness A as in Alonso?) who spilled the beans to the FIA about the Renault deliberate crash?  And is it just vaguely possible that Piquet – already miffed at being fired – doctored the story a bit in his favour?

Indeed it is alleged in this morning’s Telegraph that it may have been his idea all along!  In which case why is he getting off scott free and Briatore carrying the can?

Given that he (Piquet) is now immune from prosecution thanks to his deal with the FIA there is not much impetus to seek the truth further.  Unless Briatore strikes back.  Which he could.  God knows he can afford to!  And one has to guess that motor racing is in his blood, and right now he is looking at exclusion from his passion for the rest of his life, with a history that is sorely smeared at the end.

So don’t write off some form of comeback for Briatore.  Imagine his thoughts – “that little prick came to me with the idea and now I carry the can for it!”. Mind you, he would still have responsibility as team principal for allowing the act to happen (unless he could allege that Piquet did it all on his own).

The game is not over yet.  Watch this space – add the RSS or come back frequently as we keep you informed on this high octane, high stakes hitchcock thriller!

Categories: Arthur, Formula 1 Tags: , ,

Alinghi and the ISAF letter

September 23rd, 2009 No comments

Perhaps I was too hasty in my “analysis” of the ISAF letter. In an excellent article this morning legendary sailing journalist Bob Fisher points out that the letter in effect gives “the Swiss holders of the America’s Cup carte blanche with the sailing rules for the event, in exchange for a sum of €150,000 (£136,000).”

BMW Oracle are not happy, predictably, with this situation.  “We don’t know when we go out to race what trick they are going to pull,” said the challenging team’s owner, Larry Ellison. “We can finish first, only for them to say, ‘You have broken this or that rule.’ We probably will be ruled out of every race.”

So – the battle rages on in the courts.  From my side I just want to see these amazing racing machines on the water!  Oh – incidentally – it occurred to me that this could all be irrelevant!  Either of these boats could capsize rather easily (even in the placid waters of the Arabian Gulf). Were that to happen the race would be over since both parties have only the single boat each…

The ISAF “secret” letter

September 22nd, 2009 No comments
Alinghi - Defender of the Americas Cup

Alinghi - Defender of the Americas Cup

Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) have decided to publish the agreement regarding the conduct of the 33rd America’s Cup dated 5 June 2009.

ISAF has also filed an Amicus Brief before the New York Supreme Court, clarifying its role in the 33rd America’s Cup, stating its position in respect of the rules and regulations for the Match in 2010 and confirming SNG as the organising authority for this event.

Click here to read the ISAF release. I did.  And to be honest – it doesn’t seem that controversial to me!

I have steered away from all this bickering and court visiting in this column to focus on the amazing machines that seem almost a by-product of the legal ding-dong.  Not changing that now, but I guess it’s relevant that the race will be conducted more or less in the format expected – the only “bombshell” being that powered controls will be allowed (which we all know anyway).

Next interesting thing will be the actual Notice of Race to be published no later than 6 November – I wonder if they will include clauses about not having courses too close to Iran!

Categories: Arthur, Sailing Tags: , ,

Briatore is out

September 21st, 2009 No comments

Never to return it seems.  Effectively banned from any involvement including management – as well as Nelson Piquet Jnr, he manages the careers of Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Renault’s Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen – it seems he will now have to retire to his rather large yacht and contemplate his navel (or check our his retirement investments).

I saw the boat in Monaco when I last went to the Formula 1 race there – it was very big!  Hard to feel sorry for him – he has made his fortune and although his career in motor racing is well and truly over he still gets to keep the cash.  No doubt he can get a nice home cinema put in on the upper deck to watch the races …

Yet another chink in the armour of this King of sports. All driven by “win at all costs” which in turn is driven by money.  Buckets of it.  According to the commentators Force India’s maiden win at Spa a few weeks ago is worth $20M in sponsorship money.  Wouldn’t want to guess how huge the Alonso driver’s championship win payout must have been!

I wonder where this will go from here?

Categories: Arthur, Formula 1 Tags: , ,

Formula One Shennanigans

September 21st, 2009 No comments

Having just read the Independent article on the Renault Formula One race fixing scandal it starts to make the antics over the America’s Cup look like child play!

It struck me how much I have enjoyed this season.  Not least because some of the lesser teams have done well and the racing has been less predictable.  I find it to be arguably one of the best years in the sport – from a sporting point of view – but what a horrible mess from any other point of view.

First we had the teams threatening to break away, the ridiculous (in my opinion) rule change to a single engine supplier and of course “Lewisgate” – the lies from McLaren in Australia.

Now we have recently sacked Piquet Jnr accusing Briatore of having instructed him to deliberately crash in order to secure the drivers title last year for Alonso.  Cant say I would like that instruction!

Either way – I wonder if the sport will survive all of this.  With the pull out of some great teams (Renault perhaps next?) the sport is poorer and no addition of new teams from the US CART series or elsewhere will make up for that.

World Sailing Speed Record Video Footage

September 7th, 2009 No comments

Check out video footage of this awesome record breaking trip here.

World Sailing Speed record broken!

September 6th, 2009 No comments

It’s a development we have anticipated for some time – the large multihulls taking the speed record from the kitesurfers and specialist (often one-tack-only) machines such as Yellow Pages and Macquarie Innovations.

Now the team on L’Hyroptere have done it – setting a new record of 51.36 knots over a 500m course with a peak 55.5 knots (thats over 102 Km/h or around 64Mph!).  Designed with this purpose in mind, Hydroptere is a specialist speed sailing trimaran with advanced floats modelled on a sea-plane float and foils that allow the entire yacht to sail 100% out of the water when the speed is sufficient.

55 Knots!

55 Knots!

And it was today – sailing at 55 Knots in only 28 knots of wind.  Those of you wondering how this is possible – think of a car travelling at 20mph in no wind.  The wind felt out of the window (the Apparent Wind) would be 20 mph in your face.  Much the same effect happens with this high performance sailing.  A yacht that is efficient at converting wind energy into speed effectively makes its own wind.  So the wind over the deck on the trimaran would be about 28 Knots + the effect of the boat’s speed.  Given that the boat would have been tight reaching, the 55 Knots of boat speed would probably translate into an additional 20 Knots over the deck – so she was sailing in about 40-50 knots of breeze!

Yes! 55 Knots!

Yes! 55 Knots!

What’s next?  Will the BMW or Alinghi boats beat this?  Possible – in lighter air.  It boils down to issues of sea state.  When the wind is blowing north of 20 knots the sea gets lumpy.  While the foils help with this, as does a carefully chosen racetrack (the Trench for kitesurfing records or sheltered bays for the other attempts), ultimately the speed records will be held by the most efficient boat, since the higher speeds can come in less wind which means lower sea state.  Both the Alinghi and Oracle boats are super efficient.  And dont believe they dont have some trick with foils that we haven’t seen yet!

I think there is way more to come in this arena.

55 Knots - what's next?

55 Knots - what's next?

Alinghi 5 Damaged!

September 2nd, 2009 No comments

Our favourite catamara in the whole wide world broken????

From the Guardian:

Alinghi 5, the catamaran built by Ernesto Bertarelli for Switzerland’s defence of the America’s Cup, is reported to have suffered a major structural failure while testing in light winds on the Mediterranean. The 120ft high-tech craft, flown over the Alps by helicopter from Geneva to Genoa, is reputed to have cost in excess of £20m to design and build.

Observers of the testing claim that the carbon-fibre structural beam that runs from the centre of the main crossbeam at the mast to the aft cross beam close to the starboard hull, was fractured in the incident, which occurred in nine knots and a flat sea. The sails were dropped and the catamaran towed slowly back to its base, where the mast was removed immediately.

A video of Alinghi 5’s arrival by air undeniably shows the starboard aft ‘corner’ going into the water and the boat twisting on it. This could have been the root cause of the damage to the catamaran.

Alinghi sources say that for the past week the team have been doing nothing more than “ongoing work and routine maintenance” and that this was afforded by “a suitable weather window for carrying out this work.”

The video is here :