America's Cup sailed with Multihulls

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by brian eiland, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    I was heavily involved with the multihull business back in 1988, when for the first time ever a wing-sailed 60' catamaran was unveiled to meet the rogue challenge from NZ by an unusally large custom monohull. The press went wild for awhile with stories and photos.

    We thought, finally multihulls are going to get some respect. Well the Stars & Strips catamaran did clean up on the race course, but not that many minds were swayed.

    A couple of days ago, the infamous hi-speed monohuller Bill Lee wrote a short editorial in Scuttlebutt.....boy did he get some responders, and I don't think its over yet.

    It is clearly time for the America's Cup to be raced in multihulls. If
    The Cup is to include technology, it should be real breakthrough
    advancement, not just trying to make the basic leadmine go 0.1 knots
    faster. If is often argued that heavily ballasted boats are good for The
    Cup because they can't squirt away from each other in a local puff,
    Instead they will remain close and the racing will be tactical and
    exciting. In reality, with the current boats and format, once one boat
    wins the start, the lead seldom changes and the racing is rather boring.
    If keeping the boats closer together is an objective, a far more
    effective approach is to have much shorter races and many more of them.
    An afternoon of racing should be the best 5 out of 9 with 15 minute
    races and a strict 5 minutes in between.

    Multihulls do have a much wider variety of spectacular and catastrophic
    failure modes. For the team, avoiding these failure modes is the key to
    winning. For the spectators, it is often the best part. There are other
    advantages to multihulls. They weigh little more than a current AC boat
    mast. What a savings in carbon fiber! The land based compounds can be
    simpler and the need to ship (or fly) 40,000 pound bulbs is eliminated.
    Less draft means venues can be closer in for better viewing. Multihulls
    would attract huge new interest, both in technology and spectators.

    "The Wizard says it's time." -- Bill Lee

    * From Peter Johnstone:
    Carrying around a 40,000 lb keel is sort of like
    hooking up a horse buggy to a Formula 1 car. How can the America's Cup
    regard itself as a pinnacle when it's fleet is based on 16th century
    notions of stability? Great to see Bill Lee's comments. Ever faster is
    ever more fun.

    * From Rodger Martin:
    Bravo Bill Lee! I apologize to many friends I have
    who are deeply involved with the America's Cup as it is, but all of them
    would be even more deeply involved if the designs were contemporary.

    * From Tom Fischbeck:
    Horray! Mr Lee is correct! Finally a Corinthian
    wizard that will bless Multihulls for an Americas cup Make-Over! Come on
    people, it is ok Not to push lead through the water. Why must we still
    insist on having Long/ Deep keels (that do not fit in most pleasure
    harbors), canting keels, blatter bags, dangerous racks that fall off
    monohulls. all these crazy million dollar gadgets, when we can simply
    use multihull technology, heck the French have been doing this for
    years! I still do not understand this American Yachting elite that still
    demands monohull naval architecture, can't be just sailing angle
    advantages? I think it is old Corinthian dogs that do not want to accept
    new simple tricks!

    * From Wiley Parker:
    Point me to the Yellow Brick Road, oh mighty wizard
    Bill Lee's proclamation that the A Cup's time in over priced, overly
    fragile and still slow monohulls is over is right on. Hmmmm .. seems a
    previous thread spent a lot of time and energy trying to "save the
    sport" and "create a new fan base to attract some of that TV money and
    interest". The V70 race may be as challenging as it gets for this life
    long keel boater, but the most interesting races were the 40 foot
    multi's screaming around the harbors helmed by Mr Smyth and company. As
    the Wizard says, "Fast is Fun !"

    * From Doug Gardner:
    Bravo to Bill Lee for hailing out "The Emperor has
    no Clothes" I went to the Long Beach YC presentation of BMW Oracle's AC
    team, and asked the same question: Why limit AC boats to non-canting
    keel monohulls? I was given the insane answer "to keep the budget down."
    Budget? What budget? When Dennis Conner can't fund a successful AC
    campaign, and there is only one US boat competing in the cup, the budget
    is already out of whack. Soooooo, why not make the AC what it started
    out to be, the fastest wind powered vessel to finish the course wins.
    Let it be canting keel monohulls like the V70's, hydrofoils like the
    Moths, or multihulls like the 60-foot tri's. Run what you brung, like
    the good ol' boys. Technology just might leap ahead faster than a
    speeding bullet, and be more fun to watch because as Bill says: "Fast is

    * From Ralph Taylor:
    I started to dispute Bill Lee's advocacy of
    multihulls for the America's Cup, based on "once one boat wins the
    start". But anyone who disagrees with the genius behind so many fast
    boats should be wary. So I asked myself "What is the America's Cup,
    really?" It's only a little about the boats and the sailing. The real
    game is a contest of money, engineering, recruiting, contracts and

    There's a reason why the resource costs are so high; they "keep out the
    ribbon clerks" -- to limit the risk of an upstart winning. People who
    play these sorts of games don't like risks they can't control. In this
    context, a "lead mine" is the perfect vehicle. Changing to lighter and
    lower-cost multihulls would bring a completely new set of risks for the
    syndicate heads. Finally, our opinions don't count, only those who head
    the winning syndicate and the challenger of record.

    Attached Files:

  2. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    I'm not sure that the AC should go to multi-hulls just yet. Of course there are new design challenges, and yes, multihulls are faster, but that's not the point of the AC. The AC is all about getting the best out of a pretty limited design spec. If you want faster boats, just allow canting keels.

    Tim B.
  3. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Somehow I have to agree with all that.
    The AC always used to be a sailing race. Lately it's turned into a sponsor-vs-sponsor showdown of who can spend the most money on top designers, builders and publicists.
    With the latest version of the AC rule, too, the design space has become so restricted that the entire field will be virtually identical. To a casual spectator it already looks like a one-design class. And spectacular though the boats are, they really aren't as fast as they look.
    So why not open up the field? Turn the designers loose with a limit on crew and a limit on cash, and see what they come up with. Pit a 70-foot CBTF against a maxi cat and a foiler tri.
    I just got back from the SailBot mostly-autonomous race today; among the field were two cats identical except for rig (one conventional, one had a three-metre wing sail) and a couple of very exotic-rigged monos. These boats are only 2 m long but seeing the radically different designs against each other is far more exciting than watching AC boats throw money overboard as they round each can.
  4. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

  5. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    ...more from Scuttlebutt...

    * From John Longley - Chair of America's Cup Challenger's Committee 1988-89:
    Here we go again. When we all met in Southampton in the late 1980s to
    develop a new class for the Americas Cup to replace the 1905 developed 12
    meter class, a contingent from the multihulls turned up suggesting that the
    Americas Cup should be raced in multihulls. They were thanked and sent
    packing then as they should be today. The Americas Cup is a match racing
    event, not a thrills and spills event. We can go and watch big truck racing
    at the local showground if that is what we are into.

    The Cup has survived over the past 154 years because of its interesting mix
    of subtle speed variations with the skill and athleticism of the crews that
    compete. At times pure speed is enough, at other times the fastest boat does
    not win. I suggest Bill Lee's call is simply the multi hull fraternity
    looking jealously at the most successful yachting event on the planet and
    trying to take it for themselves.

    * From Scott MacLeod:
    I have to respectfully disagree with Bill Lee on
    changing the America's Cup to multihulls or for the matter any other leading
    technology (canting keels). Having just returned back from Valencia and
    having watched some of the closest and most exciting races, I believe the
    America's Cup is doing just fine. The Version Five boats are even closer in
    speeds, which will make for even closer racing and with more lead changes.
    Who said the America's Cup has to be the leading technology in the sport? It
    doesn't and "leading technology" just drives up the cost making the sport
    even more prohibitive for the general public and sponsors.

    I am aware that the designers and industry don't want to hear this but the
    general public could care less if you go 2 knots or even 10 knots faster.
    NASCAR has proved that you don't need technology or faster cars to sell a
    sport to the public. We should focus our attention and media coverage on the
    "game" and the competition between the teams. The "game" being played on the
    water is a fascinating and complicated chess match played by compelling
    personalities. This will make the sport more interesting for the public.

    Curmudgeon's Comments:
    Whether you support Bill Lee's comment or not, you're
    likly to enjoy the video of the Volvo Extreme 40 catamarans racing in
    Portsmouth. Particularly of the wipeouts on Day Two: And then there is that great series of photos on
    the Pacific Fog website of a big cat pitch-poling in this year's Swiftsure

    * From Barry Ault:
    Wondering why the America's Cup is sailed in lead mines
    is like wondering why most Americans still play football with their hands.
    Some things are almost impossible to change and others are even harder.

    * From Christopher A. Palabrica:
    I loved Bill Lee's comments and couldn't
    agree more. We should change the way we race in general. Several years ago,
    we set up a training day and held 4-5 "short" races. None lasted more than
    an hour. It was one of the greatest sailing workouts you could ever get. The
    racing was close, the competition fierce and the scoring was like keeping
    track of a hockey game. There are lots of variations that could bring
    excitement back into not only the America's Cup by club racing as well.

    * From Richard Johnson:
    "If cats would be so great for the America's Cup,
    why is the 'Little America's Cup' (which is raced in multihulls) so
    god-awful boring every time?"
  6. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude


    Match Racing is a whole different game than fleet racing or ocean racing.

    I'm a big fan of choosing the right boat for the right event. For Ocean, that means a big Multi-Hull. For Match Racing the IACC boats are pretty good.

    Tactical racing is all about angles. If there is a knock on the IACC boats it is that they can point too high and sail too high angles downwind. As it is, an IACC boat can only cover on one tack or gybe, the angles they sail make it geometrically impossible to cover on both tacks.

    Greater speed and non-displacement speed limited boats will just make it worse, not better.
  7. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    J Boats as well

    Lets really go retro...

    Plans to build three new J Class yachts revealed​

    Plans to build three new J Class yachts have been revealed by the J Class Association which has also announced changes to the J Class Rule to introduce a maximum rating and do away with the current waterline length limitation.

    The American J Yankee, the British yacht Endeavour II and a Thor Holm design for a Swedish challenge started in 1938 but thwarted by World War II, have all been submitted to the J Class Association with a view to building replicas.
    To control the development of the class which currently includes Endeavour, Velsheda, Ranger and Shamrock V, new builds have to be based on a design from history.

    Comprehensive design projects for Yankee and Endeavour II are underway at Gerard Dijkstra and Partners, the specialist naval architects based in Holland. Both yachts are thought to be for Dutch owners. The Thor Holm project has be re-started by a Swedish-Dutch syndicate.

    Yankee was of particular interest to UK yachting enthusiasts because she crossed the Atlantic and raced on the UK circuit before World War II competing in regattas in Southend, Cowes, Fowey and Falmouth.

    Endeavour II was built in 1936 to take on the might of the so-called Super-J Ranger, but was completely out-performed in the 1937 America's Cup. Endeavour II was 10ft longer than Endeavour, the latter being the first of the Js to be completely restored late last century.

    The Holm design was also of Super-J proportions and if she is finished in 2008 as proposed it will have taken 70 years to complete the project!

    The decision to re-write the J Class Rule and do away with the waterline restriction will be music to the ears of John Williams and the Ranger crew who have struggled in vain to reach the 91ft requirement. Instead Js will be bound by overall length (as dictated by the length of the yacht they are replicating) and mast height and a TCF based on the new rule will be calculated accordingly. The main restriction will be an upper rating limit.

    If these three new Js do come to fruition, and the prospects are extremely promising according to secretary of the J Class Association David Pitman, there would be the prospect of seven Js lining up on startlines at some of the great regatta venues in the world. And we could even see a re-match of the America's Cup contenders of 1937, the Super-Js Ranger and Endeavour II, the last Js to compete for the Cup.

    For more details read the next (August) issue of Yachting World, out in early July.
    David Glenn/Yachting World, 5 June 2006

    for anyone who hasn't seen these vessels, you owe yourself a look...they are beautiful
  8. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    still more from Scuttlebutt

    * From Ron Wall:
    Well, I've picked myself up off the floor, and am back
    in my chair. Hooray for Bill Lee. Leave it to Mr. "Fast is Fun" to come
    up with this idea, or at least put it forth at this time. Catamarans for
    the America's Cup -- what a great concept. He's right on all points.
    I've been an avid Mariner for over 40 years, on vessels of all types. My
    introduction to Cats came in San Clemente & Dana Point, and has
    flourished ever since. Not that I'd turn down a ride on a SC 70 or
    comparable Sleds, but there's not a monohull around that can compare to
    the speed & responsiveness and just the darn thrill of a similar sized

    We tried a few years in the Vic-Maui Race to include Multi-hulls and
    though still opposed by the mainstream, they brought more technology,
    speed, and fun to the race than any other single class, except perhaps
    the Sleds. Look at the effect on Trans-Pac. Any regular reader of
    Scuttlebutt can't have missed the plethora of coverage and continuing
    hoopla over the Big Cats and their speed & distance records.

    Mr. Lee's dead-on as far as spectators go too! Shorter courses, more
    races, greater speed, and in many ways, more attainable for yachties &
    non-sailors as well. Heck, even Switzerland got a few lakes big enough
    to host 12 or so of these 60+ foot, shallow draft speed demons. Wouldn't
    that open up the AC competition.

    * From Chris Upton:
    The wizard, whose motto is Fast is fun, may have
    forgotten that in match racing being fast is not important. What is, is
    being "faster."

    * From Geoff Brieden:
    While the multi-hull slappies out there laud Bill
    Lee and his call for an AC boat change, the reality of the situation is
    that it will not happen, as it does not translate in practicality. Never
    mind that the lack of a tactical duel with two cats match racing would
    be a yawner (regardless of how fast you're going), it's just simply
    doesn't make a connection with the majority of the sailing population.
    Multi-hulls are very fun to sail off the beach or in a straight line,
    but remember, sailing isn't just about speed. Otherwise, we'd all have
    powerboats. Multi-hulls do not appeal to the vast majority of the
    sailing population (sailing, mind you, not necessarily racing), who,
    like it or not, do make up the majority of the audience, and
    furthermore, marketplace. After all, it is about the flow of money. For
    the majority of folks, they are just simply not practical. For
    multi-hulls, you can't find decent mooring for anything other than a
    beach cat, they are harder to control and can be more dangerous in the
    wrong hands, you can't take the young family (or the big, sedentary
    customer) out cruising on it, and there is more risk of catastrophic
    failure (capsize) when the 'stuff' hits the fan. The reality of the
    situation is that, even as slow boats, huge lead bulbs, ridiculous
    budgets, people can relate to them Sorry multi-lovers, you just have to
    live for 'The Race.' The AC isn't changing.
  9. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    * From Garry Hoyt:
    A number of years ago I made some written suggestions for enlivening the AC competition. These were routinely ignored, but passing time has added to their validity. This is the plan:

    1) Schedule a total of 7 race days, with 5 short races planned for each day. The winner to be determined by the highest score of races won.

    2) The first race each day would be an 8 mile windward leg, with a mid-course gate to force proximity.

    3) The finish line for the first windward race becomes the starting line for the second race, which would be an 8 mile downwind leg, starting 10 minutes after the finish of the first race. Again a mid course gate would be employed and downwind starts would require a whole new strategy, with high risk and reward.

    4) The 3rd daily race would be to windward, the 4th race to leeward and the 5th race would be triangular in order to introduce a test of reaching speeds, a vital facet of sailing ignored by the current format.

    5) Thus the 7 day series would involve a total of 35 races,14 upwind, 14 downwind and 7 triangular. In terms of TV appeal, viewers can tune in at any time and be guaranteed a continuous flow of action, along with compressed review of earlier races. To maintain interest to the end, bonus points would be awarded for the last day's results. The greater number of starts would multiply this factor of highest interest, and the increased number of scored races would lead to the higher interest of bigger scores.

    In my view, this changing of the format is a better way to build interest than changing the boats, but I agree that boats of a higher performance level are desirable.

    * From Cliff Bradford:
    While I'd love to see the AC done in Multis or
    anything faster than the boats currently used, I disagree with the
    implication of several of your posters that the boats would be cheaper.
    As long as so much is at stake people will put in money to pay the best
    people, do the most R&D and use the most hi tech materials. The AC has
    always been expensive whether its been in Js, 12s, or IACC boats or
    whether they've been built of wood, aluminum or composites; switching to
    multis would not change that.

    * From Richard Little:
    If America's highest net worth consumers think
    the America's Cup is one of the three most prestigious global sporting
    events (as reported in 'Butt 2110), it sounds like the event is not
    'broken' -- which hopefully will discourage some of your readers from
    suggesting ways to 'fix it.'

    * From Bob Merrick:
    The notion that catamarans are non-tactical
    dragsters is simply false. It's true that in fast boats the tactics are
    shifted more towards connecting the puffs and less towards wind shifts.
    That however does not make them simply dragsters. It also does not
    render wind shifts insignificant. Add to that the fact that catamarans
    jibe at angles much higher than any keelboat making them significantly
    more tactical on downwind legs. There is more to the tactics of sailing
    than ticki tacking with the compass. There are so many blatantly false
    claims circulating against racing catamarans that it makes me wonder if
    the people making these statements have ever actually raced a multihull.
    As sailors you all owe yourselves at least one good catamaran regatta
    before you die. If you don't like it that's fine but don't wait too long
    to try it. If you like it you'll want to have some time left to enjoy a
    bit more.

    * From Hugh Elliot:
    I wonder why - other than for the lure of speed -
    people would sail a boat that is more stable upside down than rightside
    up? Aren't multi-hulls (and canting keel monohulls) inherently
    unseaworthy? Perhaps there is a good reason why the Sailor's Prayer
    begins: "O God, your sea is so big and my boat is so small."
  10. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Cross Reference

    I must appolgize for not following my own advice to first 'search' for the subject matter on the forum before starting a new thread. I failed to do so when I quickly posted these discussions concerning the America's Cup when there was already considerable discussion.

    So I will make a cross-link between the two subject threads:
    America's Cup
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    MAINSTAY Junior Member

    We already have an America's Cup for multihulls.
    What can be done in getting greater interest in it?
    Drumming up interest may be alot easier than changing AC minds.
  12. frosh
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    frosh Senior Member

    Mainstay is quite correct. The little America's Cup commenced around 1963 I think, was a multihull development concept with only length, beam and sail area being controlled. It seemed very popular for a couple of decades but since then has been fading away until the last competition around a year ago was specified for production F18 cats, and no longer match racing.
    The "rebel" Aussies and Yanks simultaneously ran an alternative "Little America"s Cup", in the original C class Cats.
    In my opinion both championships were non events, and should be scrapped, as they do not represent any sort of mainstream yachting interest.
    This must be an omen for this entire thread. Stick to monohulls, and there is nothing wrong with the existing AC yachts. We just need to get a better format of racing and hopefully the televised media would take it on in a bigger and better way.
  13. imagery1jw
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    imagery1jw The neophite!

    I disagree with the AC format as it is. And here's why. You say you want tradition, you want the monohulls what I hear from you all is you dont want anyone else allowed in on a shoe string budget. If you want pure racing of the "best captian wins" then you would have one design firm for all teams, one builder for all teams and all the same technology and parts. If you want in buy the same boat and get ready to race. No has any advantage best racer wins. Thats what I hear. Call it what you want but thats fact. If you dont want the fastest boat to win then just say no monohulls otherwise give them a shot we all know they'll win.
  14. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    No one is allowed "in on a shoestring budget" at the top level of any sport. One design racing included.

  15. imagery1jw
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    imagery1jw The neophite!

    The reason that NASCAR can be sold to the public and watched by all is that you can see the cars up close, something you can't do with the boats of today, the teams are cheap (3-5 million to start) compaired to the 100+million it takes to race an AC boat. And even if you start first your odds of finishing let alone winning are small. If its compatiton you want let them race multi hull designs multi hulls included.

    Tell that to the Kenyans that whoop our butts in running. Now thats a fair event. Both parties have two legs both parties are only at fault if they didnt train. So if that's the kind of racing thats wanted then throw out all the design firms but one, all the building firms but one and mass produce the boats equal parts and equal costs to all teams that want in. Best Captian wins. And if we are mass producing them Im sure we can get the price down under 100+ million to run. If anything the Cup has turned into a gross display of spend as much as you can to keep everyone but a few out. Some of the best racers in the world didnt grow up rich or with training facilities they grew up understanding how to race not out spend the next guy.
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