The America’s Cup
28 September 2013
I watched, with interest, the videos of the 34th America’s Cup. At last we have fast sailboats engaged in a competition that is fun to watch. The virtual images (such as course boundaries, distance grid lines, separation between boats, etc.) overlaid on the real images really helps to keep the race understandable and interesting for almost anyone. Very well done to all those involved with the video presentation.
Larry Ellison is to be congratulated for having the vision that sailboat racing could be fast and fun to watch and for being the driving force that helped to bring this about. I only hope that the AC competition continues to progress in terms of speed and excitement.
Both Team New Zealand and Team USA were class acts and put on a great battle. For perhaps the first time, I’m looking forward with great interest to the next AC competition.
Over the years, as I was developing Sailien, I would mention to someone that I was developing an exotic high-speed sailboat. The non-sailors would often become quite interested and say things like: “Are you going to race it in the America’s Cup?” or “You should enter it in the America’s Cup”. I’d laugh and say: “The AC guys don’t want to see me; they’re not interested in fast or innovative sailboats”. This would shock them, but I would go on to explain that the AC was really the fastest and most expensive examples of the slowest sailboat design. Meanwhile, the windsurfers were going up to 3 times the AC boat speeds. But now, at last, the AC finally got into the 20th Century!
Hey Bob, where you been, sleeping? This is the 21st Century! True, but I like to think that the most prestigious sailing competition should be on the cutting edge of innovation, and the first successful hydrofoil sailboat I know of was the “Monitor” designed by F. G. Baker. It is reported to have sailed at 30 knots and this is in the 1950’s (from the information I have.)
The 1988 AC race featured the catamaran “Stars and Stripes” with a wing instead of a soft sail. I was quite interested in this as I hoped it would open the way to faster more innovative sailboats. But that was not to be as the traditional old sailing geezers must have been having heart attacks watching that much fun happen. They agreed to rule the AC back to slower boats; I fell asleep.
Larry Ellison changed all that by challenging for the 33rd America’s Cup under the “Deed of Gift” rules and specifying a trimaran; I started to wake up! While the legal battles were disliked by most, that’s what it took to get the AC onto fast boats. Resistance to change is often incredibly strong.
The only real error that I think Ellison made is specifying craft that were too expensive for most to build, resulting in too few challengers with only NZ being competitive. However there is hope as Ellison addressed that point immediately following winning the cup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhQsk16EKtw
I wonder what it would take to get my Sailien design into the AC?