America's Cup Disaster

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by bistros, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. Zed
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    Zed Senior Member

    So they spent a fortune to win a trophy that they decimated the value of in the process. However that dose not matter because they won, at any and all cost. It has to be a cultural thing, there is competition then there is "scorched earth", the ground here is smoking. Pity, it detracts from what should have been a real technical triumph & not a largely forgotten event.

    I can't see how any nation can take pride in winning such an event, just consider how impressive the whole thing would have been if all the potential players ran. How much more pride could be had in the eventual victory. I say that with my reservations about the designs, but hell, the fleet racing leading up to the challenge would have been something.
     
  2. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    I don't expect that you'll get full consensus from the concerned parties in any major league sporting event to be held on a world stage. There will always be objections and you will virtually never see one big happy family.

    As to 8 teams signed on... I'm sure that there were more than 8 major league baseball teams that would have told you, off the record, that it was just fine with them that the hitting studs were shooting "Roids". That doesn't make it right. It just means that they are OK with it as long as it trips the turnstile.

    In my opinion, what Larry did was long overdue. Who else was going to stand-up to the swiss prince and his pocketbook? It's fairly obvious that our boy, Ernie, was taking the game pretty far afield from what it had been up to that point. He so disgusted some of the sponsors that they completely bagged long standing relationships with the sport. If you want to point at a culprit for putting lots of sailing pros on their butts, then look at Ernie and his visions of eternal grandeur... then you can bag on Larry for having some of his own.

    Extending that commentary, I believe that a goodly number of sailing pros would have been on their butts anyway, considering the full impact of the global recession. That issue, alone, renders much of the concern moot.



    I'm guessing that you are primarily kidding here with this comment. Lots of us have seen Australian Rules Football, Cricket and Rugby on TV. The games are broadcast in the US regularly and one can follow the whole thing with a degree of awareness. Talk about winning at all costs and a scorched earth policy for banging on the opponent until barely able to crawl off the field. I'm afraid that if you want us to buy that opinion, then we'll have to lighten-up the diatribe a bit or whole bunches of folks worldwide are going to start switching-off their sets.




    The reason this iteration was run, was to take it back to the place where we can, as you say so nicely... "... Consider how impressive the whole thing would have been if all the potential players ran?"

    As to pride in a victory... maybe you don't understand just what kind of business world it is that Larry functions within day in and day out. Cutthroat would be a nice thing to say about the sense of what it takes to win. In that environment, any and all wins are just that... wins. Wins are not losses. This is big time professional sports, not nice guys fiddling around with one another over a beer and a few laughs.

    Perhaps that is one of the great dichotomies of the whole thing surrounding the AC. There seems to be this entrenched attitude that folks are going to be sporting and Corinthian in all that they do within the circle of the AC. I'm of the opinion that this sort of take is much more like a Disney movie than the real thing. If we believe that warriors are going to act like honorable folk hero Princes, we are only going to leave the theater disappointed. Better to get it together as to the real energy, either accept it or reject it and move on if the acceptance issues are bothersome.

    Only time will tell if Larry has anything in mind like some form of equanimity for all the teams involved. The next collection of months will show all of us as to what he plans to do to counter the arrogant machinations of our friend Ernesto and give voice to the collection of interested parties.
     
  3. peterraymond
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    peterraymond Junior Member

    OK, based on Bill's post I'll try to talk about design here. I'm going to base this on my memory of the two races and sprinkle in a little from the press conferences and I guess it will include sailing these beasts, not just designing them.

    This is obvious, but in both pre-starts it was clear that these boats don't turn too well.

    In the coverage of the '95 San Diego America's cup where DC lost the cup for the second time, on one windward leg Tom Widden made the quiet comment "they're higher and faster", then latter, "still higher and faster". In the first windward leg of this cup those comments probably weren't necessary. I think we assume that's due to the wing and that's a good initial assumption.

    Part way up the leg BMW-O took down the jib and started losing ground. I suspected that in testing they found they were faster with wing alone above some wind strength, but took the jib down too soon. Maybe they should have switched to a smaller jib, but a little later the boat speeds started climbing and BMW-O started walking away again. After the first day Spithill commented that they had learned a lot about switching modes. In the final news conference Bertarelli commented that they underestimated the importance of drag and that in the puffs under wing alone USA-17 just outpointed and walked away from them.

    At these speeds and these apparent wind angles, it looks like sail selection is more important than ever. These boats are easy to drive, so drag from the sails becomes more important and power less so. At low speeds you need enough power to sail on one hull, but if with more wind you can lift with just the main, or instead keep the jib and add water ballast, It seems that reducing sail can be the right answer. Tom Speer has talked about the performance of main-jib combinations. Dropping the jib reduces the maximum lift coefficient you can get from the sail plan, but also reduces drag. Induced drag depends on total lift, so the powered up configuration with ballast will have higher induced drag along with the higher power.

    On the leeward leg BMW-O claimed they had more wind. You should actually expect the speed difference to be similar to what it was upwind. There was an "end of spinnakers" comment, because they only have a few more degrees of apparent wind angle headed down wind.

    Headed downwind though the apparent wind is more volatile. Small changes in true wind will shift the apparent a lot. Was this why Alinghi was altering course so radically downwind? Maybe. It reminded me of watching hot-shot vs beginning Moth sailors. The experienced pilots balance with the sheet, while the novices seem to try to balance with the sheet and the tiller. Maybe BMW-O can balance better with the sails because they power up and down faster. I don't know.

    I did notice that for this downwind leg Alinghi was using huge overlap on the sails, as if power was really important at this wind angle. Both boats were tacking to leeward on the final leg on the second day, so it was essentially a repeat of the first day's downwind leg. BMW-O pulled out on this leg too, but not as badly. Maybe Alinghi was using a smaller headsail on the second day.

    There was a time on a leeward leg where Alinghi was seen dumping a lot of ballast but they were not changing sails at the same time, so I don't think it was a mode change, just lighter wind.

    On the second day, it looked like Alinghi was cooking upwind, but the separation was around 2200 meters. There was also a 20 degree wind shift and the combination of the two gives you a 750 meter wind shift gain. Rumor was that there was more pressure on the right too. Still, this was Alinghi's best leg.

    The section near the windward mark? I'd say that was timing and tactics. Alinghi did not want BMW-O to sail under them and kill them all the way to the mark and BMW-O can point higher, so Alinghi had to significantly overstand the mark to maintain clear air. Overstanding will kill you in any race. The sail track did actually show BMW-O sailing closer to the wind than the lay line, so even if Alinghi could have tacked directly in front of BMW-O, I'm not sure they could have fetched the mark, while BMW-O could easily.

    The first reaching leg was supposed to be 120 degrees off the wind, but was probably only 100. This was an amazing leg, unless you were Alinghi. They got buried. The announcers estimated that BMW-O was going 12% faster! The problems with steering a straight line while balancing Alinghi might be part of it, but I noticed a few other things.

    I saw good comparative views from the air and there was a wider stripe of churning water behind Alinghi. USA-17s amas are narrower that Alinghi's hulls. They also have less rocker and less freeboard. this seems like a receipt for a pitchpole, but there was no tendancy towards that at all. If your hull drag could be zero, the boat would accelerate until drag from the sails limits speed. Obviously BMW-O drag was not zero, but being low helps. Also, I think the lifting foil helps out here, even if it seems like putting it further forward would help more. Like a Moth on the foils though, less drag means less pitching moment. Also, the sail being to windward of the hull drag tends to create a torque to leeward, so the lifting foil and dagger board can be moved forward some to compensate.

    Alinghi also seemed to have no pitchpole tendency, but their hulls were wider and had much more rocker. That probably was as much to control the measured waterline length as to resist pitchpoleing, but maybe they could have paid a smaller drag penalty with less power in the hull, a narrower beam and a lifting foil. It seems to me there are advantages to the lifting foil that are even more important than the reduction in surface area that you get. It lets you take beam, volume and rocker out of the hull.

    I wonder if you could build a cat sort of like USA-17, with the same total beam but just no center hull.

    Peter Raymond
     
  4. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ======================
    You're right. And you sure could build a cat like that and it would work well in a race like this. But the biggest advantage in this Race was the Tower of Power, with the lifting foils a nice second ,in my opinion. The cat with a wing and lifting foils would have been significantly faster.
     
  5. Zed
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    Zed Senior Member

    I really don't see how anyone in their right mind can draw the comparison between what went on to 'win' this AC and quite well defined team sports. What happens in those sports happens within the rules or is penalized. With this AC they all but totaled the game in court, destroyed any interest from other competitors and {yey!} won! No my friend its the winners that now need the rest of us to take it seriously and at the moment its an expensive circus.

    LOL ... "lighten-up the diatribe" ... "Talk about winning at all costs and a scorched earth policy for banging on the opponent until barely able to crawl off the field." --> lighten up on the ******** you mean Chris. You are talking about Cricket and Aussie rule's here !!!... NRL, well, that is more physical but talk about stretching it. You have such a quaint view of this... it made me giggle! Thanks for that :D

    I can't really see how anyone can come to the conclusion that this was actually a worthwhile exercise in a sporting sense.

    Yep I know a little about Larry and his business.... thanks for the lesson though, no really its appreciated.
     
  6. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Significantly faster than what?

    Itself?

    BMWO?

    Banque Populaire?


    The whole exercise is pretty moot, isn't it? It wasn't faster.

    The boys in Switzerland had all kinds of time to pencil-up a boat that would be fastest and they bungled the whole deal. BMWO snookered them with a soft sail up front and dropped the wing on them when there wasn't any time to reconfigure effectively. You saw the scramble when they tried like hell to postpone the event. They were cornered legally and outfoxed/sandbagged on the water (however you'd like to describe it) by a better organized and much smarter bunch.

    2 - Nil suits an opponent when they are all about posing and not working on solutions.
     
  7. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    It not obvious to me that "these boats don't turn too well". Please expand on this and say by what measure they don't turn well in your estimation.

    USA certainly turns quite well as the video footage of her sailing in San Diego shows. Alinghi cannot turn with USA for a very good reason.

    When looked at from the standpoint of how many boat lengths are needed to turn, I would agree, a 8 knot boat turns a tighter radius than a 20 knot boat.

    When looked at as time through a tack or time from speed before a tack to speed after a tack, the stopwatch shows USA to be the equal of the boats used in AC32.

    It is possible that dropping to 10-12 knots through the tack from 20+ means a tack is more expensive in terms of boat lengths to windward.

    It appears that both boats have issues when tacking down speed. Part of that is lack of practice and part design.

    IMO the key to USA's superiority tacking is the big reason that you would NOT want to build a boat like USA with no centre hull. The centre hull is the key to the whole deal.

    Alinghi is dead slow in tacks because she is a 75 foot beam catamaran. USA does not have both amas in the water through a tack except for a very short time. For must of the time she tacks like a catamaran with a 45 foot beam, then sails with the RM of a 90 foot beam. Without the centre hull USA would lose this advantage.

    The centre hull has other advantages that are not readily apparent.

    Alinghi must duplicate sail controls on each hull. Half of the hardware is sitting as dead weight when sailing. USA need only one set of sail controls because they run the boat from the centre hull.

    The major masses in Alinghi are in the hulls, far from the CG. For turning and yaw control whilst sailing, weight far from the centre requires greater force from the foils to counter = extra drag.

    The centre hull allows the placement of the cross beams to be independent of the mast step location.

    The centre hull has lower drag aerodynamically than the struts and wires the catamaran uses to handle loads.

    When sailing on one hull USA's centre hull is only 45 feet from the leeward ama. Alinghi's windward hull is 75 feet away. In a lull both boats roll upright at about the same speed, but Alinghi's hull hits the water with much higher velocity than USA's to the the distance from the roll axis.

    When the windward hull of Alinghi slams down (repeatedly in Race 1) the inertia is high and boat is upset. Alinghi slams down on a large relatively flat hull area. Compare to USA ... the centre hull is has very little beam, it has no flat surface to slam into the water. When USA's centre hull drops it seems to kiss the water and not upset the boat as much as Alinghi.

    Going back to the 45 foot effective beam vs the 75 foot beam, USA's amas don't need much rocker to help them turn. The runs for and aft are much fatter for that reason.

    So IMO what we saw is almost a complete miss on the design side from Alinghi. Their boat was at the least 5% slower than USA.

    This was going to be the case as soon as they decided to stay with a 75 foot beam knowing they would face a 90 foot beam. Alinghi never had a chance.

    R
     
  8. Zed
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    Zed Senior Member

    Some funny quotes from the sailing proletariat

    12345....:p
     
  9. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    -----------------------
    I don't agree with the tacking thing at all-I've seen square rc cats tack on a dime and boats like the Rave which are over square tack on a dime as well-and it has nothing to do with the center hull. Be that as it may-you said "at least 5%"-I'd say the WING added at least 10% to USA vs their no wing configuration and someone on BMW's team said if they hadn't used the wing they would have lost. I say if Alinghi had used a wing as well designed and implemented as the Tower of Power, more beam(to make up for the deficit from lifting foils) and lifting foils they would have won...
    from SA:
     

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  10. peterraymond
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    peterraymond Junior Member

    The limitatioms of common sense

    There was, or is, a high performance multi-hull racing class. F40's? Anyway, I've heard that tri's were proven faster there. I don't disbelieve this, or understand it.

    RHough talked about the advantages of the tri. I separate them into two categories - speed and maneuverability.

    Speed:
    - I guess that any structural advantages can be done on a cat with parts optimized for strength and weight and a hull is not that shape. A cat can be lighter.

    - If the lowest drag shape has minimal rocker and is hard to turn, so be it. The fastest boat almost always wins.

    - With motors, the controls should be duplicated on each hull and controls don't weight much. Did you see the BMW-O sailors running into the center hull to make changes and then running back?

    Peter Raymond

    Maneuverability:
    - I agree that the tri should turn better, but maybe because when the boat is close to flat not much of the amas are in the water.

    - I would not want to compromise speed for maneuverability, but maybe cats are so bad you have too.

    Maybe I shouldn't say that the boats don't turn well, but I think I can say that there were many fewer turns in these races than in previous cups. Now I'm maybe most interested in speed sailing and I'm an engineer, so I'm not fixated on turning and I like technology, but I think it's nice to have match racing tactics a big part of the AC, otherwise it undermines the match race aspect, which is a big part of the appeal of AC for me.

    Peter Raymond
     
  11. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

    And a splendid list it is.
    But I would prefer separate threads for each of the items.

    Leo.
     
  12. Zed
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    Zed Senior Member

    I agree...

    I also think that if you can get away from the massive cost of running these huge machines you are going to get more interest, more competition and eventually more innovation. A smaller formula with a good size fleet will do more to win gains in design than two mega budgets colliding. Really USA17 only beat one boat in the end, one that it seemed to have a massive speed advantage on, hardly the conditions under which you are going to produce rapid development and refinement.

    Not what they cup is about I hear you say?
     
  13. Zed
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    Zed Senior Member

    What about rules that include sea trials in 20 to 25 knots and whatever sea state prevails... you know tests that measure the boats as capable craft so we don't get these 'inbred' specialists. Then we can have races in conditions the average club sailor has to deal with!
     
  14. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

    But what if I design narrowly for the mean wind speed and mean sea-state for a particular harbour? If those conditions do eventuate, I will probably beat a more broadly-based design. That makes it a sort of lottery IMO.

    Leo.
     

  15. Zed
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    Zed Senior Member

    Surely you can't design that narrowly if you have some meaningful sea trial and bench marking. Surely it must be possible to define a bench mark criteria that precludes building an extreme one trick pony?
     
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