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America's Cup and the AC72

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I've recently gotten into the America's cup and I find it all fascinating.  I admit it's highly political and seems the rules are always changing to help the favor the winner holding onto the cup.  Still the mix bag of boats and strategies is intriguing.  The recent change to the AC72 and the foiling technology I find a really cool.  I read somewhere that they are reaching speeds of 100 KPH.  Have to admit that's crazy fast for a sailing vessel.  

 

I've also read a lot of skeptics.  Many don't like the AC72 because the cost involved is keeping teams out of the race.  Seems though except for maybe just after WWII part of the strategy for holding onto the cup or obtaining the cup was who can through the most money around.  So really has anything changed? 

 

I am still new to the Americas cup and honestly I don't know a whole lot so I figured there maybe some people out there who have followed this more closely that can share some opinions and thoughts on the upcoming races or the America's cup in general.    

 

Oracleac72march2013-600.jpg   

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I am an absolute fan of America's cup. I can boar you to tears with all kinds of info and history (I know I have done it before! :huh: ) It certainly is imperfect and has set as much precedent in the court room as on the water but it is the America's Cup and there is nothing else like it. 100 KPH might be a bit on the high side. All I can tell you is that these new AC72s can go 2X wind speed! That by itself is amazing. Just think lifting 7 tons of boat & crew on 2 tiny struts!

 

Have I mentioned that I will be in SF for 2 weeks for the finals in Sept! I will post pics here is anyone is interested.

 

Also remember that the original America was built by 5 Fat Cats in NY who wanted to win some wagers against the Brits! I think they would be very surprised to see what they started.

 

I have a ball Cap from the San Diego Campaign and a T shirt from the NZ cup. Gifts from friends. I wish I had been there. 

 

Also since I am not a Larry Ellison fan I may just root for the Kiwis! Besides everyone knows the best sailors come from Down Under. 

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Crackers, your claim to being old fashioned seems to fit will with this forum. :) I do have to agree with you regarding the graceful lines of the earlier J class Yachts though. That said the technology spin offs from the cups over the years have benefited all of the sailing world.

 

Michael

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I too am a fan of the J boats! They were beauty and grace and power all rolled into one. But you don't think they were as radical a departure from Sail racing in their day and the RC72 is now? If I had my druthers the America's cup would still be raced on sloops. But this is where the sport is headed and it is exciting. Has anyone looked at the moth class? a mono hull and foiling!!

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Floyd- is it weird to say I would love you to bore me to death with the history.  That's cool that you'll be there in September.  Pictures would be very appreciated.      

 

I too like the J class.  They are absolutely beautiful.  When I first watched last years Americas cup race I thought Catamarans? I guess it's still sailing.  Then I saw the strategies playing out and the crew running back and forth with the tacks.  It's very exciting and fun to watch.  I hope they post a lot of the races on the youtube channel because I'm not sure where else to watch it.

 

I do like Team America and I think I'll route for them but just from the videos I'm seeing I think New Zealand will be a tough competitor.  It could be just the videos but it seems that boat is always flying.  That and they have had the boat in the water longer so they have the experience.  We'll see what happens.  

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I started my career at NASSCO's shipyard in San Diego, in part because the '95 regatta was going to be held there.  it was well worth it!!!  ESPN's chase boat commentary was broadcast in the clear so if one had a scanner, you could listen in.  Amazing the conversations they held during commercial breaks, that when you really found out what the commentators thought!

 

While in school I worked at the tow tank doing work for the PACT (YOUNG AMERICA) syndicate so that got me a space-available ride on their spectator boat.  Only happened a few times but it was great!  Was an incredible feeling when Dennis Conner approached PACT to say "um, you know, you guys have a better boat.  mind if we use it for the defense?".

 

A lot of the racers hung out at Fiddler's Green just off Point Loma.

 

And if you ever get the opportunity to visit the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club, clear your calendar.  You're going to be in there for a while!!!

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I used to be highly knowledgeable about the America's Cup (had a book on the 100 year history).  And I agree, it's become too political and deep-pocketed.  Furthermore, I also think that the gorgeous J-boats define what America's Cup racing is all about!!!

 

The 72's are INSANE!!!  I watched some videos on the AC's website- those things do FLY!  (Personally, I'm not a big fan of the cats, but the tech involved and performance are ridiculous- even as a Physicist myself I find it hard to believe!)

 

Floyd- you are one lucky man to be in SF for the finals!  I saw pics of the stadium and events they have going on!  Pics would be awesome!

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Yes, Lipton and other billionaires/giants (I think Rockefeller had a J or two) have always been drawn into the Cup.  Even during the Depression era, the J-boats were EXTREMELY expensive, yet they still raced, built, and trained these large boats.  But the J's were getting too expensive to race, and in order to facilitate other clubs to enter the race, they downsized to the 12 meters in the 1950's I think...  

 

Nowadays, you have the likes of Oracle (multi-billion $ corp) backing these gigantic cats!  It's crazy as to the $$$$$$ involved, but I guess that's what it takes when you have the fastest boats in the world competing!

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The objectives of these rule changes were to level the playing field in the hopes that the best riders won the medals.  At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Germany, USA, Canada, France, Australia, Netherlands, Italy, Russia and Japan won ALL track cycling medals.  Since 2000, the list of countries that won Olympic medals grew to include New Zealand, Cuba, Spain, Ukraine, Argentina, Switzerland, Bulgaria, China, Mexico, Denmark and Columbia.    

 

 

 

 

I seem to remember Great Britain winning a few cycling medals at Atlanta and since then.  Maybe not on the track though . . .

Edited by Yambo

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I seem to remember Great Britain winning a few cycling medals at Atlanta and since then.  Maybe not on the track though . . .

 

In 1996, Great Britain won two medals on the road, none on the track.  

Sir Chris won his first medal in 2004. 

 

More info at:      

http://www.olympic.org/olympic-results

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To me part of the fun of the America's cup is that it changes so often.  It doesn't just involve the sailors like the Olympics example where they wanted to find the best cyclist.  America's cup is as much about the R&D as it is the sailors.  The two can't really be compared because they aren't the same.  The very design of the America's Cup races is to do what ever it takes to keep the cup not to see who's best.  Which is why it's fun to see how creative they get.  

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Dan - I think you have it right. While in principle I agree with everyone's sentiment about excessive money and toys for the overly rich. I go back to what I said earlier. We all need to keep in mind what happened with the very first America's cup. Just in case you don't remember (it was 1851). Here is a brief story -

 

5 wealthy Businessmen in NY decided to hire a guy to design a radical new yacht. They launched this boat and hired a crew to sail it across the Atlantic to race against our cousins. They expected to be able to recover their investment with the winnings from wagering on the race. The boat (America) & her crew sat at anchor for approx. 1 yr before they could get anyone to agree to race them! So I ask you who has the money to pay for the complete design of a new Yacht, salary for a crew for 1 yr and provisions for a cross ocean voyage. By the way the owners were so discouraged about the losses incurred they sold the boat outright to a Swede. They lost their shirt on the deal. From the very beginning America's cup has been about radical new thinking in Sailing and out spending the other guy for bragging rights. Do you really think the NY Yacht club held fair campaigns? The best thing that ever happened to the cup was Dennis Losing!

 

The point is that like it or not the America's Cup has always been the play thing of the super wealthy. At times I wish it was otherwise. but wishing will not change history. So I try to forget all this political crap and just enjoy the racing. I have spent 4 seasons as part of a race crew and now own a Cat. So to a degree I can identify with what is going on here. If the recent changes get more people interested in Sailing that is all good. Holding the races so that they can be viewed from shore. Not bad.

 

Just in case anyone misunderstands. I am not wealthy by any means. This trip is a dream of a life time and a very special 60th birthday gift from my wife. She has save most of her income for 6 months for this trip. We have spent close to $2000.00 just for 1 weeks of tickets.

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reliance-full-hull-reliance-full.jpg

 

Call  me old fashioned and not with the times, but I like the grace and sleek design of the old America Cup racing sail boats. As example is the RELIANCE, (above) the 1903 cup defender. She just screams speed and agility.

 

Montani semper liberi  Happy modeling to all and every one of you.

      Crackers  :o:D:P

The base is as gorgeous as the sail boat!

 

RAG

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Living in Auckland, and watching 2 of these new boats working up, the speeds atained are just amazing - I think they were getting over 40 knots in 10 knots wind. They had to keep repowering the chase boats just to keep up. With these high speeds, things happen very quickly, with the crews in body armour, canned air, etc. Safety is paremont, but accidents can and do happen and can be fatal.

With the high costs of these campains, it has been stated in the local press that if we don't win this time, then this will be our last time - the Country can't afford too much more.

I have to say that when out fishing,and one of these cats screams past, just amazing. After all the Americas Cup Boats are the rquivilant of F1 cars.

Cheers

Greg

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If would be a tragedy is NZ did not compete. But of course there is at least one Kiwi in each of the crews. They are better that F1 cars! :)

 

I think it is interesting to note that one of the new safety modifications is small fins on the rudders to defeat the Pitch polling.

 

I fully expect to see the NZ team win the Louis Vuitton Cup. The Swiss & Italians are way behind in their boat design & crew development. 

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Any one have any details on what's going on with the safety rule change?  I read something about it having to do with the rudders but I can't find any details. Just trying to figure out what's going on.   

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OK, this will come as no surprise to those of you who know me.  Here is a proper America's Cup  boat:

 

post-56-0-38640400-1373125353_thumb.jpg

 

 

Yes, I'll watch the Cats race.  But I'll feel like an old  Spitfire pilot watching a helicopter race.

 

 

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If would be a tragedy is NZ did not compete. But of course there is at least one Kiwi in each of the crews.

there was an article in the NY Times yesterday that logged the nationality of the crew members. Only the Italian boat had more Italians on it. Of the 21 crew members on the US boat, 17 are either Australian or Kiwi. In fact, Australia and New Zealand provide most of the crews for all the boats. In the same article was a picture of one of the boats having completely left the water, or foiled.

Tom

 

Found it: notice both hulls out of the water

 

post-106-0-52468300-1373145865_thumb.jpg

Edited by TBlack

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Dan - There are 37 safety regulations that all teams must adhere to. They have been written into the US Coast Guard's permit for the event. Without the permit they would not be able to hold the event in US coastal waters. I don't know all 37 of them but there are a couple that have to do with the rudders. The key problem with the rudders is at high speeds the boats become unmanageable and round up. Every Sailor is familiar with this. It occurs when the sails overpower the rudders. So there is a new reg about increasing the size of the rudder. This gives the crew more control but it also adds to drag and slows the boat. This is why there is so much controversy about this rule. You will note that most of the boats have gone from a Tiller bar design to a Wheel. This is partly in response to this problem.

 

For non sailors let me describe the situation. The sails act like a huge weather vane. Can you imagine a sail as big as the total wing span of a 747? And when the wind gets going the sail/wing tries to go in the direction of the least resistance. Just like a weather vane it will point into the wind. On the boat this means that the boat is now pointed directly at the wind and losing power fast. There is another problem specific to a sail boat, Waves. The waves tend to be coming from the direction of the of the wind. So imagine a boat that is traveling about 40 knots and now turns into the wind and starts to slow down. The bow dips and hits a wave. Now you have a huge problem, it is like slamming into a Brick wall. The boat starts to pitch pole. That is flip end over end. I have done this on my boat. Thank goodness for me my boat is not as large and I wasn't going that fast. The result is a very large boat upside down. Very dangerous situation. With all that rigging it is easy to get trapped. And remember all of this is happening faster than I can explain it here. Including crew these boats weigh 7 tons. Once 7 tons starts to flip there is nothing the crew can do to stop it.

 

To date we have had 2 boats that pitch poled. The first was Oracle and the boat was beat to pieces in the wave action. But no one was hurt. The 2nd boat was the Swiss boat and the boat had minor damage but a crew person was killed. Considering that there are only 7 of these boats having 2 of them flip is pretty bad odds of it happening again.

 

So the 2nd regulation in question has to do with Winglets on the rudders. These are small wings on both sides of each rudder (a catamaran has 2 rudders). These winglets can be tuned. That is the angle can be adjusted. The rules say that the angle can be adjusted as late a 5 min before they launch the boat. This allows them to adjust for the condition of that particular day. Think about it, These winglets will act as anchors and defeat the tendency to flip. But they will also cost speed and increase drag. 

 

It is unfortunate that these rule changes have come so late in the process. The first race in on Sunday. So there are protests etc.

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Augie - There is no boat more proper that America herself. And you have found the perfect picture. I would suggest that the J class would give her a run for the money. Crew of 35 and the largest spinnaker in history. Imagine a main boom that you could walk on? Yes my heart goes out to America and the J's. But Since I recently became a Cat owner I have developed a understanding of these new boats. And if it gets people into sailing. It is hard to fight it.

 

Just like your Spitfire. I can admire it but I will gladly fly in a 747 thank you.

Edited by Floyd Kershner

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Don't get me wrong.  Modern machines are fantastic.  But there's nothing like slowing down, just a bit now and then, and enjoying the romance.

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I can tell you that if I was given a choice between sailing on America II or an AC72. I would pick America hands down! Now if the choice was Endeavor or America. Wow that would be hard. I have sailed on the Californian & the Amistad. The crew of the Amistad could not understand why I wanted to be at the bow sweating the jib! :)

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Finally had a real race today.  So much nicer seeing both boats on the coarse.  I had thought that New Zealand would win but not by as much as they did.  Team USA better watch out.  

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Dan I agree. I wish the Lois Vuitton Cup was going to be a better competition. But the America's cup finals will be a real show! NZ is a good boat and one of the best crews! I predict the next cup will be back down under.  That would be Wonderful!

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Yea I had originally thought of rooting for USA but after this whole debacle I'm also thinking it may be better if the cup goes to New Zealand.  If magically I had it all my way I'd like to see the AC run with foiling AC45s.  That way the speed would still be higher and we could also have more competitors in the race.  I'd also like to see a fleet races with foiling ships which probably won't happen with the AC72s for a long while if it all.  

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The Kiwis have really done an outstanding job on tactics! Did you see how that slammed the Italians at the start? Completely trapped them. Then on the downwind leg the boat literally jumps out of the water! And doing a jib without coming off the foils! Wow! And they also broke the 40 knot barrier. Oracle better be very ready.

Edited by Floyd Kershner

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Yea that was incredible they had them beat before the gun went off.  What confused me though is was Luna Rasa not allowed to slowdown and let New Zealand pass?  I would think that if they would have let them go by early enough on they could sail behind them and not be trapped like they were.  

 

Also did you see the race previous where New Zealand shows up to the side of the coarse while Luna Rasa is sailing alone.  The announcers seemed to think the wind was too low to pull off a foil to foil jibe sine Luna Rasa wasn't doing any.  New Zealand shows up on the side and does one and then sails off the other direction.   

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Wow I didn't see that. I am afraid the LV Cup isn't even going to be close. Remember the Swiss were not even going to foil until the last min. This campaign is going to be a bit boring for the next 4 weeks.

 

If they had slowed and tried to go under the Kiwis. The Kiwis would have tacked to cover. They were trapped.

Edited by Floyd Kershner

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I've been a fan of the AC series since the 50's and the start of the 12 meter boats and the rules that the boat, crew and equipment all had to come from the sponsoring YC's country.  Once those rules were abolished, it has become a designers and money race.  The designers then started tweeking the rules and as a result we have seen one boat break in half and a couple of other almost sink.

 

Of course the monied proponents all say the new designs and technological developments all "trickle down" to the family sailboats.  BS, how many family owners of cruising or racing boats can afford the new developments?  When the AC class started even the race syndicates were compaining about the cost of hulls and rigs ($500,000 booms). So the boats now all look like floating advertisements & highway bill boards!  How many "family boats" or even "yachts" do you know that have anything close to six figure masts, booms, & sails.

 

Don't get me started on the Professional Crew situation or I'll be writing all day.

 

I've been boating and sailing for 50+ years; I've enjoyed the America's Cup, but now I couldn't care less about the (no longer) America's Cup series nor do I know many sailors (Floyd is one) who now give a damn.

 

Jim

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