It has been decided that the next two challenges for the America’s Cup will be in the same class of boat and there will be discussion over what parts can be standardised to reduce the costs.
There is now a nationality clause which is inline with the original Deed so there is no more “Guns for Hire.”
The New Zealand designer said it was unfortunate that during the series the light wind never showed the true potential of the NZ boat and in 20 knots of wind close to 60 knots was possible.
The boats were truely an amazing piece of engineering and I spent some time wondering about the forces involved with some 7 tonnes of boat and crew balanced on a foil to leeward and an horizontal trim tab on the rudder.
The helm looked like a formula one racing car wheel. The “flight Controller” kept the boat at the right angle and main sheet trimmer had more instruments that I haver seen on a boat and helped with the tactics. The 4 grinders worked like hell to supply all the hydraulics to make it happen.
When running downwind they looked for wind shifts ahead of them, definitely a young mans sport.
Most NZ sailors start out in a 7 foot cat rigged yacht called a P-Class developed in the 1950’s. They are demanding to sail and the Tauranga cup sailed by children up to 14 is fiercely contested.
was it boring or will it attract people and sponsors to sailing?
It may attract people and sponsors to itself, but it has little or nothing to do with sailing.
It was contested by some of the best helmsmen and tacticians in the sailing world in a vessel on the water powered by the wind that makes it sailing in my book. We have had grinders before, this time the power was transmitted hydraulically instead of mechanically.
It is never going to replace what I would want to sail but I wouldn’t fancy going for a Sunday drive in a formula one car either.
With respect, I would suggest “a vehicle above the water” as the proper description. And the fact that the grinders were used to replenish stored energy rather than directly actuate the winches removes a level of skill and engagement from the equation. Apparent wind sailing, where the speed of the vehicle generates its own wind, is a completely different game from true wind sailing, where sail handling skill must be applied to extract maximum VMG from whatever angle the wind is coming from. The limited stadium sailing course eliminates the need to navigate or even apply tactics most anywhere but the start.
So yes, the vehicles extract energy from moving air and convert it to forward motion, so by that expansive definition it is “sailing.” Just about all the other aspects of sailing that charm and fascinate are missing. And the parallel conversion into a for-profit corporate spectacle has eliminated almost all character (and characters) from the event.
But that’s just me, YMMV. I wish the Kiwis and all the associated professionals well and hope the event runs in the black but what they have made of it is not something I choose to pay much attention to.
In previous America’s cup boats the grinders have been generally selected on some sailing ability but mostly on the amount of sustained power that they can bring to the winch handle. The skill comes in trimming the headsail around the winch. On the Kiwi boat, the helmsman controlled the Mainsheet and traveller, the flight controller the trim tabs on the foils and rudder and the tactician trimmed the jib and controlled the shape of the mainsail using the Cunningham and the out haul plus some other adjustments. The mainsail was complex and in two layers. At least one of the grinders controlled other aspects of the boat. The three in the afterguard formed the tactical group.
One of the grinders was second to Peter Burling ( the helmsman)who won the 49er world championships . Only one grinder was in the boat solely on his physical attributes.
The thing I can’t explain is VMG. It was closely monitored but I’m lost when the apparent wind is ahead of you and the true wind is behind you and the vessel is said to gybe but it looks like a tack.
VMG is the number you should look at an any yacht to the top and bottom mark
I’m aware of what VMG is when it comes to the kind of sailing that I did. The apparent wind is always in a position where the vessel is sailing close hauled on these vessels, even when running, and because the course is aligned with the wind the VMG is important but it still seems counterintuitive.
It’s OK guys, if you enjoy it, be my guest. Prior to foiling, watching the America’s Cup taught me a lot. These things teach me nothing, so I find other things to occupy my time.
I think the analogy of a Formula One car is spot on. Very few people will ever get the chance or even have the skill to pilot something with so much performance and that is pretty much how these Cup boats should be viewed. The spectacle of it all is enough to attract people to the sport of sailing who may have never thought about it before and for that reason, I think it has value.
Hogsnort mentioned the 49’ers earlier and I would pay to view coverage of that spectacle as well.
Either way, no one can say that any of these people involved in this level of the sport are not the top of the food chain and the flat out best in the world. I will be interested to see how the nationality rules affect the future challenges of the cup. I suspect that New Zealand will continue to dominate though. They have asserted themselves as the sailing capital of the world.
cant see why, going slow or sailing in apparent the VMG to the mark is the only important number.
High and slow or low and fast, how to measure the result, VMG.
Over the years I have sailed the waters of the earth I have successfully managed small centre board yachts, navigated yachts on an ocean passage before Satnav, steam reciprocating engines, steam turbines, diesels, diesel electric and finally DP. I sailed with early New Zealand sailing instruments and Brookes and Gatehouse instruments when the use of such equipment was in its infancy but all of these craft stayed on the water. I’m aware of my limitations.
I would suggest a better analogy would be a Top Fuel dragster rather than a F1 car. F1 cars are designed to go around corners gracefully. The current AC75 vehicles have more than a bit of uncertainty associated with windward mark roundings, as the NYYC crash showed.
I love the J Boats and the 12 Meters are a close second. Everything after is …meh.
I know the boats are cutting edge and the crews are the best in the world, but it is so far off anything I will ever do I just can’t relate.
THIS is what I want to see:
I also want a return to the rule that the boats have to sail from the challenging club to the race course. This was always an advantage for the New York Yacht Club, the challengers had to be built heavily enough to cross the Atlantic, the defenders had to make it 10 or 20 miles from Newport to the course. To even the playing field the defenders would have to sail 1,000 miles round trip to some random place.
Its GPS that gave us VMG, a speed to a waypoint, great tool sailing in current around the cans or an ocean race.
Great tool to work out your best angles to sail at.
The early instruments didn’t have any geographical input. The true wind was calculated from the apparent wind and the log speed and the VMG was calculated from this. Having a GPS feed and knowing the position of the top mark would have made the calculated VMG really awesome but it was still in the realms of science fiction when I was involved.
The J class were beautiful yachts and without Covid we could have seen a couple down here for the cup.
If you are a fan of the J’s, you might enjoy the paper I wrote for the 2010 Classic Yacht Symposium on the technical history of Yankee:
The traditional VMG gauge told you your speed on the assumption that you were trying to go straight upwind or straight downwind. GPS added a whole new dimension
I race sailboats, paid for the NBC subscription and streamed all the races live - I’m an enthusiast. But this Cup left me cold - the races were generally decided within 30 seconds of the start and there were only two or three people sailing each boat. Bring back the J-Class. There have been J-Class regattas in the last 10 years with more entries than the last three Americas Cups. Real boats, real sailors, and real technology, too.