Americas Cup: whats next?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    Jeez Paul, I can watch fast multihulls like BMW-O and A5 for hours, same thing watching the foils of my own boat slide through the water - also the same for the superb filming that came from G3. Have to say your engineering friends sound a pretty cold, boring and dull lot.
  2. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    Apparently my yacht designer friends and yacht racing friends as well!
  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  4. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Apples versus Oranges

    From a technology perspective the AC just past was spectacular. From a sailboat racing perspective it was underwhelming. Just depends on which perspective you are talking about.

    Most sporting events are about the economic impact - if not direct then by association. BMW and Oracle paid one hell of a lot of money to be associated with the event and the attendant visibility and exposure gained. Since there was no TV, no ESPN-level newsworthy coverage and no real excitement (other than the technology triumph) it just didn't raise a pulse.

    Every stadium in North America gets millions for the naming rights - so some corporate entity can gain exposure and prestige being associated with the professional sports teams housed within. Same with all marquee sporting events. Ernesto Bertarelli and his Alinghi team were very unusual in not getting the corporate value from their expenditures.

    As a sailboat racing enthusiast, the extreme technology used in this AC was divisive and contentious. I disagree with replacing grinders with diesel engines. I also think there is a point where computer-optimized sailing ceases to be about the sailor and starts to be more about the technology. I love my Velocitek, but where do we stop? To me, once the line is crossed it ceases to be sailing and becomes power boat racing.

  5. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    I've heard a lot of ridiculous comments about the last Cup but to call the racing between these two extraordinary sailboats "power boat racing" is without a doubt the most preposterous comment of them all!

    Attached Files:

  6. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    That's right, the people I know with some expertise in these matters did not think the racing was great, regardless of "alarms going off all over the place". Of course, if you actually watched the races you would know we did not hear these alarms during the race. Just how does an alarm going off actually make a good yacht race?

    Some of us race on boats where we change the rake of the mast often. Gee, how does raking a mast make an exciting yacht race?

    Ditto the other "techo-weenie" drivel. If one boat is 5% or 10% faster than the other boat in a match race it is not an "exciting" race.
  7. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    People watch car racing, downhill skiing and other such for several reasons. Sure there's national pride, appreciation of technology, awe at the human ability, but the apparent and visible speed is the biggest thrill of all.

    Yachts can be exciting, the Volvo race certainly is, and the way it is presented on TV it can hold the viewer's interest despite the fact that the yachts are usually miles from each other. You get to see them battling through monster waves, meet the guys, see strange places, hear the inside story (maybe) and see the technology make it or break.

    Problem with the AC is most of that is not visible, unless you are physically present to appreciate the scale of these things. Seeing a couple of incredibly large boats plow majestically through almost calm seas, on and on, just doesn't convey much of an impression on a TV screen. The size, technology, human effort is all there but it doesn't come through on the screen. They're just so big that everything else is overwhelmed by their scale, the waves and the people are so small as to be almost invisible, the speed is not apparent and the ending is inevitable after the first few seconds.

    It's about as exciting as seeing the pyramids on TV. How big are they? Well imagine that! Lord, it made me yawn just writing about it. Now power boat racing IS spectacular!
  8. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    I think you have summed it up very nicely with these two points.

    For the same reason NASCAR is exciting. At any moment someone just might end up upside-down.
  9. bistros

    bistros Previous Member


    Can either of these boats be raced without a diesel engine running to provide hydraulic power?

    That aside my comment was trying to make the point that somewhere there is a line. I did not offer an opinion as to whether or not these particular boats crossed it.
  10. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    Yes. The USA boat was originally configured and sailed using grinders. When they changed to the wing it would have made it even easier to use manpower.
  11. idkfa
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    idkfa Senior Member

    Excitement? The IACC rig groaning, as she powered up her stride, after lying on her other side, would make even a non-sailer Dick Trickle....
  12. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Agreed, but listening to the interviews with the design team and people on board quickly made us aware that maneuvering speed, speed of adjustments and response to the many data collection / interpretation systems was dramatically better with the powered system versus the manual labor. I don't know if there was any major difference in overall weight of grinders versus engine and fuel - although it would be nice to know.

    Would the difference have been enough to affect the outcome of the series? I certainly would not offer an opinion, but suffice it to say they drank the powered Kool Aid instead of just saying no.

    Given the result and then thinking how the commentary applied to what we saw happening, a lot of the rock steady, powered-up sailing with the boat fully flying on the leeward ama was probably enabled and helped by the powered systems. Precise and fast response to conditions is aided by precise and fast mechanical systems.

    Then again, perhaps I'm wrong but I don't think so.

  13. peterraymond
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    peterraymond Junior Member


    As a sailor I like the tactics and particularly the start. As an engineer I like the technology, but if you want viewers, you need spectacle.

    Spectacle may not be exactly the word I'm looking for, but it will have to do and that's what brings in the viewers. I think you get it from close racing with a lot of maneuvers, lots of wind and waves and even from the obvious money, the big boats and the team uniforms. Like F1, all the effort and all the attention are part of the show.

    Speaking of F1, I don't think the budgets are all that far off. In each case 100M seemed to be about the starting point for a serious effort, although I did hear that Ferrari had 700-800 people working on their effort and one or more of the teams have two wind tunnels because they can't get all their testing done in just one. Maybe the difference is that for F1 it's a budget per year and the budgets are perhaps double, while for the AC it's for a 3 year campaign.
  14. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    A top sailors view:
    "What a fantastic race. I'd like to congratulate Alinghi for bouncing back and really coming out swinging. That was one hell of a boat race. It was on the whole time and I enjoyed every minute of it."James Spithill,April 2010 Sailing World

  15. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    I remember when John Wooden's UCLA teams would crush opponents by 30 points he would always say things in the post game interviews like, "They were really tough tonight. We couldn't let up for one second against those guys."

    Regardless of what Spithill said, that race was over BEFORE the starting gun went off. With a pre-start penalty and a 5% to 10% speed disadvantage Alinghi was not going to compete in that race, even with the good tactics of catching a nice shift on the first beat. They lost by 5.5 minutes going away.

    Try again.
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