Friday, September 17, 2010

Straight-line drag race?

Update: It would be interesting to know the deltas of each match race and compare them to the total time they lasted in order to see how close they were. Since I wasn't in Newport during the races I don't have the data myself. However, I sent the New York Yacht Club an email asking if that data is available and if I could have it. It will be posted if and when I get it.

CNN's most famous sailing program "CNN Mainsail" was in Newport, Rhode Island last month in order to report on the International C Class Catamaran Championship, or the Little America's Cup as it's popularly known. After last Monday's presentation in the BMW Oracle base in Valencia, the C Class catamarans are the closest we can get to the future America's Cup yachts. As a result, by watching those catamarans race we could at least get a rough idea of what America's Cup racing could look like 2 years from now. In fact, many America's Cup big names such as Juan Kouyoumdjian, Tom Schnackenberg and Paul Cayard, among others, can be seen in the video inspecting the yachts and wings, after having dropped in by "chance".

In all the videos, Shirley Robertson hails these yachts as "fast", "extreme", "radical", etc. There is absolutely no doubt that they are fast, indeed much faster than any comparable monohull, their acceleration is dramatic and that the images of the flying hulls are spectacular, at least for a little while. Yet the America's Cup, or any other yacht race, is not about breaking the speed record. It's about close boat-to-boat action and exciting racing and there is little of that in Robertson's report, or at least in what she decided to talk about. All images show the C class catamarans in straight-line sailing, no tacks or gybes, no prestart action. At no moment are these yachts praised for their maneuverability or close combat they provide.

The majority of media were enthusiastic about the brand new AC72 catamaran for the 34th America's Cup, describing it as a leap to the 21st century or the dawn of a new era for sailing's pinnacle event. Again, nobody will argue that they will not be technologically advanced and challenging to design, build and sail but will they provide the spectacular racing Coutts promised? I think it's too early to judge and we'll have to wait until next June when their "baby" sisters the AC45's hit the water in the first ever regatta of the America's Cup World Series.

Shirley Robertson reports on the Little America's Cup in Newport. Video copyright CNN Mainsail

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At 1:30 PM, Blogger hughf said...

Bingo. The faster the boats are the further apart they will sail. Add in the lack of manoeuvrability of a multihull and, as you say, we're set for a bunch of drag races.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too early to say if the show will be good or not. But in any case for people to follow they need their team in. Useless to require big nation flags on teh boat and sail -ironic from team who claimed 15 flags in 2007 - if tehere are only 3 at the end. What a good show needs are challengers. But Coutts not clever enough to understand this. He know s better, MLB and NBA told him...

Good on you Pierre to tackle a bit BOR actions though. That is what is needed.

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Hemi said...

I am a fanatical sailor, mega AC fan and big time reader of Valencia Sailing. I have however noticed that recently (perhaps since AC33?) I have become completely bored of any of the match racing tour stuff that appears on this blog (and any other blog). I barely read the headlines any more - I just keep on scrolling.

This makes me question the importance of close racing at the expense of speed and spectacle?

There is close racing galore on the tour, but if I as a passionate monohull sailor (1/4 tonner) am not interested, I can't imagine the wider public is likely to be any more captivated than I am.

I think this quote (via Sailing Anarchy via Rule 69 Blog) best sums up exactly why winged multis surely are the best thing to happen to the AC since I've been alive:

"What a fantastic time to be in the sport. God I wish I was 20 again or a kid just coming through the youth squad...this is amazing and I just can't get over the whiners and moaners in the Forums around the world complaining about it. YOU GUYS ARE DINOSAURS. Get with the programme you muppets! You are worse than the Euro yachting press.

This is exactly what the sport has been crying out for, for years! I can't understand the ridiculous bumbling, illiterate buffoons who are harking back to a byegone era some 23 years ago...the game has moved on and at last we have a team that are genuinely dragging this sport kicking and screaming into the 21st century."

At 4:19 PM, Blogger WetHog said...

Besides the AC34 Cup match, when was the last time a Cup match wasn't a 5-0 blowout and a complete disappointment? 1983?

Multi's might be a drag race, but unlike past AC matches that were one sided routes, at least the races will be fast.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah probably is too early, but i'll hazard a guess - It's gonna be a predictable Oracle walkover with rubbish racing.

At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

+10,000,000 Hemi!!! Could not have said it better myself.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2007 WetHog
Alinghi 5 ETNZ 2
amazing and close racing, I saw it live in Valencia.

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a professional photographer who was also in Newport for the C-Cats, I can honestly say this next America's Cup will be fast, yes, but utterly action-less. It will be hard to follow, tough to keep up with, and there will be few instances where the boats will be close. Very unfortunate...

At 8:07 PM, Blogger WetHog said...


Yeah I meant to put AC32 instead of AC34 in my previous comment. My mistake, but once again, besides the Cup match for AC32, when was the last time a Cup match was competitive and exciting? Its been a while.

The AC32 Cup match was exciting because it featured two of the best boats from a design that had reached its limit. Moving forward, whether it was Mono or Multi, a new boat was going to be introduced for AC34. That means with a new boat there is no garuntee the racing was/is going to be close an exciting no matter how many hulls it has.

Me Personally, I had no problems with the AC continuing with the IACC boats. The AC32 Cup match proved if those boats were used again the racing would of been just as good, but it wasn't to be.

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time you change the rule, the fleet will show up with huge differences. Keep the rule unchanged for a few editions and the race starts to get close. This has happened with the ACC and VOR70. So it will be a walkover this time (maybe) but it will eventually get close, on a really fast and fragile boat. The only thing I'll miss is some crew action. It was always an emotion to see if they could take the spi down fast enough, or something like that. Anyway, it is good to change. If it doesn't work, we'll change it again until it does.

At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just how much can the media be onesided no matter what?

It's just like politics:
Would one party do or suggest something good, the other party will allways say that is bad.
Politicians use a method called "propaganda" to make the general public believe all the lies.
General public are the sheep that don't use their brains to tell good from bad. They just follow the flock. They swallow all propaganda. Because they avoid thinking they become stupid. They form most of the population and the politicians like it to stay like that.
General public is easily controled by propaganda.

I know that I'm asking for too much but I'd like to see some of the population make a huge effort and... Think:
If Bertarelli had won the 33rd and then do what BOR is doing, the media and blogs would be crucifying him. But because is LE and RC everyone says it's the best thing.
Actually, EB honestly said during the 33rd that if he'd won he'd do a 34th in multihulls. And he was crucified for saying that.
And he kept trying to have a multi-challenger 33rd through a really democratic process letting the several teams involved actually decide.

7 months over the 33rd and finally some blogs and forums are realizing who were the bad guys in the past 2 years
One thing BOR is doing is making it unfair as the American defenders allways did in history. This time around they are making it big time unfair!

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey WetHog. You appear to be the expert... Is ther any reason why a cat cant have Non furling asymetric kites? Sails that have to be hoisted and dropped?

At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Hemi on the World Match Tour, its incredibly boring to read about, its just the same thing over and over again, if they want to survive the really need to reinvent the wheel a bit.

At 4:11 AM, Blogger WetHog said...

@10:53 AM

You must work in a sail loft. Hey don't jump on my ass because BMWO wants to use a wing and they in effect put you out of work.

And once again, I am no expert and a authority on nothing. I'm just a fan of the AC that has been following it for a long time. I have my opinions, and thats all they are.

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a irony that the 2 teams that, only 3 years ago, said that the protocol between SNG and CNEV was the most biased and unfair ever, have now signed the most biased and unfair protocol ever: The 34th.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the 2 teams signed but only one wrote or read.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WetHog. You misunderstood.I was genuinly asking your opinion on whther or not conventional kites can be used on a cat. I ask in reference to 8:53´s comment on missing spi hoists and drops.
I dont understand the reference to "work in a sail loft". I dont, but what relevence does that have to my question anyway??

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ernesto, it's over. Time to move on and stop posting anonymously on VS.


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