Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

Thrills and Spills at Americas Cup in Plymouth

September 22nd, 2011 No comments

Had to share this video – all the crashes from the final day in Plymouth of the prelim america’s cup series. There are a number if tit-bits one can take away from this:

  1. The wings will break if you fall through them
  2. These boats are GREAT FUN!!!
  3. I can’t imagine how a similar scenario in the eventual 90 foot versions will pan out – consider falling throught he wing from 50 ft in the air rather than 20 foot on these things
  4. The wing provides a handy bit of floatation which stops them going completely upside down
  5. You need lots of money for repairs when you sail in these conditions on these fragile boats

The last point got me thinking.  It would be awesome to have a large multi with wingmast for long trips – in theory would be way quicker than the current record holders.  Problem is – are they manageable in extreme conditions? On the balance at the moment the answer would seem to be no, but no doubt over time more technology and ideas will surface and perhaps that will change.

I am finding the current slant on the AC to provide entertaining watching (particularly in these conditions) and it would seem a more open playing field (think “overtaking” in Formula 1).  We dont have domination by any one team which bodes well for an interesting AC – unless one team gets a far superior big boat to the others.

Categories: Arthur, Sailing Tags: ,

Alinghi spear Team Extreme in a big Cat Crash!

May 31st, 2011 No comments

Team Alinghi showed just how much damage can be done with a small miscalculation in the ferocious Extreme 40 Catamarans when they misjudged a duck around the stern of starboard tack Team Extreme in the recent Istanbul round of the series.

With damage so severe that the Team Extreme boat is a near right-off – the Extreme team can be forgiven for being more than a bit pissed off with the seemingly light sentence handed down in the post race protest meeting. Having said that, it is this author’s opinion that the accident could have been hard to avoid given that Alinghi’s rudders were practically out of the water at the time so steerage would have been tricky!

The really interesting thing will be to see if this classic catamaran nosediving tendency carries forward to the Americas cup boats.  So far they have seemed to be more buoyant in the bow but I am not sure they are really pushing them yet.  For sure what will make for exciting sailing is the speed of these machines – the 45s will be way faster than the extreme 40s and the AC90 will be beyond extreme!

Bring it on!!

Which multihull for the Olympics 2016?

May 5th, 2011 No comments

The following article appeared in the daily Scuttlebutt email this morning.  Very relevant for my pet topic – sailing multihulls – so I have reproduced it here.  I think its probably unlikely but it would be really great to have an 18 foot version of the AC boats (see the pictures in the previous article) for the olympics. It puts this radical new technology into the reach of the average you and me – Yee HA!!!!

With the selection of events to be decided in the next few days in St Petersburg, the multihullers look set to get back in for 2016, with every submission put forward having either one or two multihulls on the slate. Given that the most likely outcome is a mixed multihull, the main topic of discussion in St Petersburg is what to do between now and November 2012 when the decision on the boat to be sailed and which class should be chosen for 2016. Given that there is only one multihull, it is extremely difficult to cover the whole spectrum of multihull sailing, so ISAF needs to decide if they want a simple “Laser equivalent” boat, or a high tech “49er equivalent”. Going the simple route would guarantee a large number of new nations would have a shot at Olympic selection, while the high tech route could catapault sailing into the 21st century.

After each Olympics, the IOC presents their Gold Rings Award to the sport that provided the best TV coverage of the Games, and in 2008, in a huge surprise to everyone, this went to sailing. Given all the negative comments about suitability of sailing for TV, this was a great achievement and a huge coup for ISAF. The way the award is decided is that the IOC Broadcast division put together a highlights package for each sport and these are then judged by an independant panel. The highlights package for sailing was put together exclusively on the Tornado medal race, with a mix of onboard, helicopter, boat level and tracking graphics. So the class that provided ISAF with it’s greatest media coup was immediately dumped from the event lineup. However this then provides the opportunity to upgrade the boat, much the same as the Flying Dutchman being dropped for 1996, and replaced by the much more modern 49er in 2000.

As for classes, the following are the likely candidates and a few fors and againsts for each one. With the multihull likely to be a mixed disciplines, one of the key aspects of choosing the boat will be whether the design dictates that the skipper could be either the male or the female member of the crew.

Everyone in the multihull fraternity agrees the Olympic Mulithull should be a twin trapeze boat, true one design (so no development costs) with spinnaker. The only real discussions have been about whether it should be a 16, 18 or 20 foot boat, with most likely boats being an F16 such as the Viper, an F18 one design such as the Hobie Tiger, or the 20 foot Tornado or Nacra. However, a very recent addition into the mix is a proposal from the design team behind the America’s Cup multihulls to design an AC18 with either a soft sail, or preferably a wing mast. So as of today, the most likely candidates for selection in November 2012 are:

* An F16 design – such as the Viper. Most inexpensive, loads would allow a female to be either skipper or crew. Other manufacturers such as Nacra likely to have an F16 soon.
* An F18 design – such as Hobie Tiger. Well established class and dealer networks for all major F18s, heavy boat, would probably mean skipper has to be female. Would mean instant Olympic fleet by many countries and probably the largest number of boats attempting to qualify.
* Tornado – Well established Olympic boat. Needs to work on one design issues. Longevity of platform keeps costs down, but development costs of rigs made it unpopular with not enough countries willing to campaign. Skipper would almost certainly have to be female.
* Nacra 20 – New kid on the block. Manufacturer class, so race it straight out of the box. Skipper almost certainly female.
* AC18 – New design, with a wing mast. One of the advantages of a wing mast are that the loads are significantly less, so skipper could be male or female.

There will no doubt be more information about the AC18 in the forthcoming months, but this look a very exciting project – on that will provide a very clear career path for sailors from the Olympic Games to America’s Cup and bring the sports two premier events closer together. What does remain to be seen is how many countries are prepared to take the step on campaigning such a high-tech boat.

America’s Cup Multihulls AC45 Race for the first time

March 27th, 2011 No comments
BMW Oracle AC45s out training

BMW Oracle AC45s out training

The AC45 is a 45 foot “training” version of the eventual 70 ft Americas cup catamaran that will contest the next America’s cup. A few days ago the new fleet of training boats met up for their first fleet race – here is some footage from New Zealand TV.

I have welcomed the move to multihulls for the next America’s cup – they truly present a more interesting sailing experience and anyone who follows this blog will know that I have a passion for them.  My first true multihull experience beyond a Hobie cat was to take part in some of the Fomula 40 events – any multihull could take part as long as it fitted into a 40 foot container!  We had some truly exciting and fast (for its day) racing, but these new Extreme 40 and now the AC45 cats take the racing to a new level!

The wingsail, difficult to manage in port, is way easier to sail with although I doubt it will survive a capsize as well as the Extreme 40 more conventional rigs do.  When you get to the big boats, however, capsizing is a terminal event anyway so it doesnt matter as much.  The wing is also way more efficient than a conventional rig – as was demonstrated so ably by BMW Oracle in the last Americas cup when they walked all over the way prettier Swiss Alinghi entry.

Some more footage here from Oracle.

I for one cannot wait to see the big boats out on the water – thats when we will really see how this next America’s Cup will come together.  One thing is for sure – the demand for super fast RIBs (chase boats) will be high as these beasts will move very fast even in quite choppy water!

Bring it on!

The future of Sailing from the Moth Worlds

January 7th, 2011 No comments

One has to look no further than the Moths to see where sailing is heading.  Forget giant mulithulls and the America’s cup – to my mind there is nothing more beautiful and exciting than seeing these little dinghies come out of the water and take on an entirely new perspective and speed.

It’s not just that they are so much faster than their water borne siblings – its also the beautifully symetrical balance achieved by canting to windward and allowing the sail and the wind to carry the weight of the crew.

We saw some of this mast cant on the BMW Oracle AC trimaran, and you see it a lot on the ORMA 60s and grand priz multihulls, but nowhere is it quite so obvious and pronounced as in the moth class and of course on the windsurfer – the origin of the concept.

I think mast cant has been restricted on bigger boats because of the physical difficulties in achieving it, and perhaps with this new genre some of these will be addressed to produce an entirely new way to sail fast across oceans on a large boat.  Cant wait!

34th Americas Cup Training Boats

November 29th, 2010 No comments

Work has now started on the scaled down 45 foot catamarans that are the “training” boats for the next America’s cup.  The boats will all be built to the same design by the same team – this is for the introductory races (called the Youth Americas Cup) and will pro0vide some cat experience for the teams (although one has to wonder why they didnt just merge with the Extreme 40 series).

Here is a video of the boats being put together in New Zealand.

Categories: Arthur, Sailing Tags:

Its a Cat!

September 13th, 2010 No comments

The next Americ’a cup will take place in 2013 on a Catamaran (with some sort of centre hull).  It will be 72 foot long and will have a wing sail. As we have seen already in the last cup, this promises to be a beast of a boat, fast and furious.

A new 45 foot version of this wall also be launched as a training ground for the AC.  Called the “youth americas cup” this seems to me to be out to compete with the Extreme 40s series.

More information on the boat here.

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.

Its a go!!

February 12th, 2010 No comments

The postponement flag is down and the race starts in 10 minutes.

At last its underway – the 33rd Americas Cup.  Live on Eurosport.

USA looking way more powerful than Alinghi.  Swiss have a penalty as well.

The Beast is looking very powerful – I dont like Alinghi’s chances at all now.

Categories: Arthur, Sailing Tags:

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…