Posts Tagged ‘Alinghi’

All done and dusted

February 16th, 2010 No comments

The Beast has prevailed over Beauty.  I am still shell-shocked, although not entirely surprised.

In the words of the Swiss :

Alinghi put forth a tremendous effort today in its attempt to defend the 33rd America’s Cup. The Swiss team from the Société Nautique de Genève led for most of the first leg of the triangular course, but couldn’t hold off the Challenger BMW Oracle Racing. Alinghi lost the race by 5m26s and the America’s Cup Match, 2-0.

Team president and principal helmsman Ernesto Bertarelli congratulated his competitor after the race: “Congratulations to the BMW Oracle team. The boat was faster, there’s no question about that.”

Today’s race was postponed for more than six hours from the scheduled start time of 10:06 as, similar to Friday, the race committee waited for the wind to settle. Around 16:10 the race committee set a windward mark bearing 100 degrees, just south of due east, and the two crews started at 16:25. Bertarelli guided Alinghi 5 onto the race course on port tack about mid-line, despite receiving a penalty. The crew wanted the right side of the course, hoping for the favourable wind shift. Almost 14 minutes into the race Alinghi 5 tacked to starboard and into a right-hand wind shift that lifted the 90ft load waterline catamaran into the lead. For the next 35 minutes or so both boats held starboard tack with Alinghi, now steered by Loïck Peyron, to windward of the challenger and holding the lead in the wind shift.

Alinghi crossed the challenger near the windward mark, but lost the lead when it tacked to port to approach the mark. The challenger led by 28 seconds at the first mark and then, propelled by its wing, increased that lead by more than 2 minutes at the second mark.

Alinghi showing better upwind speed (c) Guido Trombetta / Alinghi

Alinghi showing better upwind speed (c) Guido Trombetta / Alinghi

So its all over.  The cup goes to GGYDC and Larry Ellison – to be fair he has tried for long enough to win it so he probably deserves it!  And Russel Coutts still the man in the middle – now with the most amazing run of cup wins.

What next for these mammoth boats?  Mothballs?  Ernesto going to compete on Lake Geneva with Alinghi (I be he does)?  And whither the America’s Cup?  Back to monohulls and processions around a short course?

GGYC have accepted the Italians as challenger of record in a multi-challenger series, so it is now clear that the 34th cup will return to being the jamboree (and providing employment for many more) that it was last time.  Ellison has sortof said it could be Valencia but I have to say my money would be on San Francisco for the next cup.

Coutts rates failure chance at 30%

February 8th, 2010 No comments

According to Eurosport Russell Coutts (CEO – BMW Oracle Racing) rates the chances of failure as high as 30%!  This is in line with some of my comments over the past few months – it may well end up being the boat that manages to finish that wins.

Still waiting for wind in Valencia.  BMW weighing in 4 tons heavier than Alinghi, 5m higher rig and of course that huge wing rather than a more conventional soft cloth sail.

Beauty and the Beast. Let the games begin…

The race is on!

February 8th, 2010 No comments

Just got back from Valencia where I tried to see the boats – decided the action is better followed at home on the telly!

Wonderful huge machines, but unfortunately along with their tremendous speeds comes a race that takes place out of sight of all who dont have a RIB!  I did get to see Alingi go out yesterday and saw her sailing at a distance. Also saw USA (at a distance).

Hats off to Alinghi in the pre-race area.  They took the effort to put an exhibition in place (and of course showed off their cup).  They also moored “Beauty” in the Darsena harbour where the public could get within 50m of it.  The Americans not only moored in the commercial harbour where access was impossible except by boat, they also didnt bother with any sort of facility beyond the inevitable shop.  So most people’s view of BMW Oracle is a shop surrounded by all the BMW courtesy cars and thats that. Oh – and the tip of that 75m wing showing over the cranes.

Will post pictures in a short while – for now the race is about to begin so its off to the telly!

Categories: Arthur, Sailing Tags: ,

Beauty and the Beast – Alinghi vs USA

February 5th, 2010 No comments

Next week monday two very different boats take to the water in a best of 3 race series.  Alinghi – the Swiss entry – is a beautiful, stiff and light catamaran.  Clearly able to sail in very light air she looks to be the favourite for low wind conditions. BMW Oracle – USA – is a typical american – loud, brash and strong.

Prior to the fitting of the wing sail to USA this scribe would not have rated her chances against the beauty that is Alinghi.  A clearly heavier boat, with a trimaran configuration that is only as efficient as the cat if the center hull is out the water.  Added to that this is a bendy boat (she clearly flexes – stiff it is not) and it all looks a bit messy.

But what have we seen in the past few months?  USA flies her center hull in nearly all conditions, so she is more a cat than a tri.  Very early on they removed the centerboard and rudder on the center hull.  She added a wing sail that made her way more powerful without adding load to those obviously stressed hulls.  If she does emerge victorious this wing sail will be the weapon that delivered the knockout punch.

The wing is almost twice as efficient as a normal cloth sail in delivering lift (propulsion).  Added to that it is a lot easier to control which means they were able to go bigger with the wing.  And that they did!  Just compare the picture below of Alinghi to the USA one below that and it is clear that the wing is a huge sail area advantage (remember you can almost double its size in terms of the propulsion it can supply).  So now we have a somewhat bendy, relatively heavy, trimaran that looks more like a cat with a sail plan that could just make the difference.

On the Swiss side we have a work of art – a catamaran built to outclass every cat before it – an absolute picture of perfection.  Except it doesnt have a wing sail.  Is this important?  They say not. Not much change for some time on Alinghi apart from the centerboards.  USA went from a straight board to C shaped boards to provide added lift on the leeward hull.  Alinghi, interestingly, went the other way. They launched with really interesting looking S shaped foils but now seem to have settled on straight ones.

Alinghi in Valencia (c) Ed Baird / Alinghi

Alinghi in Valencia (c) Ed Baird / Alinghi

Look at how perfectly setup that rig is.  Forestay nice and tight.  Sails beautifully shaped.  Hulls parallel (no twist).  Clearly a boat that is perfection in the design that it is.

So – will Beauty slay the Beast?  Monday will probably yield the answer.  Clearly the weather will play a huge role, but I dont go with the argument that USA will struggle in light air – they have shown with this massive wing that they can fly the center hull in glassy conditions.  Having said that,inidications are that there will be a fair amount of wind Monday, so it may end up being a heavy air race.

I doubt that by the end of the first race there will be a series left.  I expect one boat to dominate – they are just too different for it to be otherwise.  My money is undecided at this point, although the wing would seem to tip it in USA’s favour.

One outcome still quite possible is significant failure of either boat.  These are huge boats, with significant loads and forces.  Dont rule out surprises!

I will be in Valencia tomorrow to check the boats out first hand.  More from the front line!

America’s Cup to return to Valencia

November 10th, 2009 No comments

In a letter written today to New York Supreme Court Justice Kornreich following the unsuccessful discussions with the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), the America’s Cup Defender, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), has confirmed that it will conduct a Deed of Gift Match with GGYC in February 2010 in Valencia, which is the date and venue repeatedly requested by GGYC and previously ordered by the Court.

Good news for those of us living in Spain!  There must be a few rather angry chaps down in the Gulf though.  We now will see how these boats hold up in the winter in Valencia.  I stand by my theory that the cup will be decided by whoever still has an intact boat at the end of the series.  Valencia can deliver some nasty seas this time of year. Bring it on!!!!

No more RAK for the America’s Cup

October 28th, 2009 No comments

Yesterday the NY court considered a number of issues on the latest Cup fiasco with at least one significant decision …

“The most significant ruling from yesterday’s hearing was that Ras Al Khaimah will not be the venue for the 33rd America’s Cup, despite the government there having, according SNG lawyer Barry Ostriger, already forked out $125 million in preparations.”

So – Valencia for the giant multihulls???

Americas Cup

October 4th, 2009 No comments

The nonsense continues in the courts with the swiss contesting the length of the Oracle boat (seems Oracle didn’t include their rudders in the length calculation which would be normal practice) while the Americans aren’t too happy with the choice of venue, citing lack of wind and security as issues.

So they return to court and we return to boredom.  It’s a real shame that this cup has become such a legal farce.  To keep you – the viewer – content I publish below pictures of the two boats…

BMW Oracle Trimaran

BMW Oracle Trimaran

Stunning shot of the American tri showing just how large she is!

Alinghi 5 Catamaran

Alinghi 5 Catamaran

Ahh – yes – the rudders on the cat stick out the bottom (thus don’t contribute to the length).  All seems a bit nitpicky to your scribe I have to say.

Our favourite catamaran in the whole wide world arrives in the Gulf

October 2nd, 2009 No comments

The Swiss Defender of the 33rd America’s Cup docked in the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah on Wednesday morning after a 12 day, 4,400nm voyage aboard Rickmers Singapore, a cargo ship.

The 193m ship left Genoa, Italy, on 18 September with the giant catamaran, Alinghi 5, two masts, seven support vessels and approximately 20 containers on board. It travelled across the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal and Gulf, across the Red and then Arabian Sea before docking in Saqr Port, Ras al Khaimah in the Arabian Gulf at 06:30 CET on Wednesday 30 September.

Alinghi coming off the cargo ship in Ras al Khaimah

Alinghi coming off the cargo ship in Ras al Khaimah (Photo Carlo Borlenghi)

“We are extremely happy that the shipment, including Alinghi 5, arrived safely in Ras al Khaimah,” said Grant Simmer, design team coordinator. “All the equipment that we used in Genoa was onboard so now we can set up our base and workshops and get going. We will be doing some modifications to the yacht over the coming days and the team members are arriving and getting settled so it’s going to be a busy few weeks, we hope to be sailing again as soon as possible. We greatly appreciate the support that we are getting from the local community and from the government of Ras al Khaimah,” he added.

Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO of RAK Investment Authority, added his pleasure at the team’s arrival: “We welcome the arrival of Alinghi to Ras al Khaimah for the preparation of the 33rd America’s Cup event and we also look forward to welcoming BMW Oracle.”

The Alinghi catamaran will travel to the America’s Cup Island of Al Hamra over the coming days along with its entourage and for the next four months the team will be focused on training for the Match for the America’s Cup which starts on 8 February 2010.

Story from Alinghi website.

We now wait for the Americans with their giant trimaran, and then – as they say – “Let the games begin!”.

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: , ,