Posts Tagged ‘Catamaran’

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!

Multihulls back in the Olympics?

November 18th, 2010 No comments

So it looks like the insane decision to drop the multihull from the olympics could be reversed.  I will be one of many sailing fans around the world that applaud this re-emergence of common sense in the ISAF.

In fact the decision is not yet made – it has to be finalised at the ISAF md year meeting in May next year – but the indications are that there will be a “Mixed Multihull” class – effectively this means one male one female on the boat. It is unlikely that it will be a Tornado – there are more modern and faster potential boats – but it will be a fast cat around 18 foot long. The full list of events proposed for the 2016 games are:

  • Men’s Board or kite board – evaluation
  • Women’s board or kite board – evaluation
  • Men’s one person dinghy – Laser
  • Women’s one person dinghy – Laser Radial
  • Men’s skiff – 49er
  • Women’s skiff – evaluation
  • Mixed multihull – evaluation
  • Mixed two person dinghy (spinnaker) – 470
  • Women’s keelboat – Elliott 6m (format of racing TBC)
  • Men’s 2nd one person dinghy – Finn

The video above shows the Tornado in action – surely a better spectacle for those all-important TV viewers than many of the slower classes. With the emergence of the Extreme sailing series on 40 foot catamarans, and of course the recent announcement that the next Americas Cup will be fought in multihulls, there is no doubt that multihull sailing provides a fantastic spectator experience and is at the pinnacle of the sport in so many respects.

It was shere lunacy that caused the Tornado to be dropped from the 2012 games and there are many regretting the decision.  Bring it on!

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.

Tres Cool – Syz and Co catamaran

June 8th, 2010 No comments

What a beautiful boat – Lake Geneva sure is the breeding ground for hte world’s best looking multihulls!  You may remember a rather nice 90 foot catamaran called Alinghi which orignated here not so long ago?  Well here is her smaller foiling cousin – not technically correct since there is no relationship except that they are both on the same lake, but you get the idea.

Syz and Co Catamaran on Lake Geneva

Syz and Co Catamaran on Lake Geneva

Syz and co built this rather beautiful catamaran to go for outright speed records and contest the Bol d’Or Mirabaud (the annual long race on the lake).

For outright speed the foils may be the way to go

For outright speed the foils may be the way to go

We wish them luck with their endeavours (with more than a twinge of jealousy!).

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 :

Can’t Resist posting more piccies of the Monster Multihull

July 23rd, 2009 No comments

This thing leaves me gobsmacked!  Here are a few more shots of the Monster Multihull – also plse look at the video it is totally awesome.


Moere Awesome - look how little wind there is

And on a slightly more technical note, check out the mainsheet.  Where in the old days one would see ropes and blocks we now see two rams attached to that V8 snowmobile engine.

Use of hydralic rams instead of ropes and winches on the main sheet.

Use of hydralic rams instead of ropes and winches on the main sheet.

And over she goes!  Well – it kinda makes you wonder how robust this all is.  How do you dump the mainsheet when its a ram?  What happens in a puff?

Going ... Going ...

Going ... Going ...

Alinghi 5 – the Monster Cat sails!

July 21st, 2009 No comments


Well – it didn’t fall apart.  Yet.

Alinghi Monster Cat on Lake Geneve - Maiden Voyage

Alinghi Monster Cat on Lake Geneve - Maiden Voyage

Still a fair amount of controversy over that engine (which I have heard is from a snowmobile).  Apparently it runs (noisily) all the time and supplies power to the winches.  Observant observers will notice the lack of winch pedestals (the handles to wind the winches found on normal big boats).  How they will get away with this under the rules is still to be disclosed.  As defenders of the cup they are able to change the rules, but since they already announced that the match will be to ISAF rules they will have to be amended for this.  There is some precedent – the really large monohulls also use hydraulic power for winches.

Look closely at the hulls - those specs are grown men!  Gives you and idea of the scale.

Look closely at the hulls - those specs are grown men! Gives you and idea of the scale.

More on Sail World and the Alinghi website.  More pics also on Flickr.