Oracle Racing's newsletter for 02 May 2011 covering the latest entries and America's Cup World Series and more.
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Monday, May 02, 2011
Wing technology trickles down to youth sailorsBy ORACLE Racing Comms // May 2, 2011The America’s Cup is such a technology-driven event that it often benefits the sport of sailing as a whole. Past innovations such as the wing keel have helped cruising yachts achieve shallower drafts so that they can get closer to shorelines. And advancements in sail technology benefit every layer of the sport.When it was announced that wingsails would be used in the 34th America’s Cup, many wondered how the technology would trickle down through the sport. While the final applications are far from decided, the technology has trickled down to the youth sailor in the form of a wingsail for an Optimist dinghy.The optimist is one of the oldest, most used trainers for youth sailors. It was designed in 1947 by Clark Mills, and the square bow design with gaff rig has withstood the test of time. The International Optimist Dinghy Association has national associations in 126 countries and there are more than 130,000 Optimists registered worldwide.It is such a popular trainer that the children of some of ORACLE Racing’s teammembers own an Opti as they start what could be a career long path towards the America’s Cup. Several of the design team took the initiative to adapt a wingsail for the Optimist that was trialed recently ahead of the New Zealand Optimist Nationals.“The idea came about when talking with some 470 sailors at Wakatere Boating Club, who are always building things for boats or skateboards or surfboards,” said Mike Drummond, a designer with ORACLE Racing. “The top section of our A-class catamaran wing is removable, and about the same size as an Opti rig. It was very easy to add a standard Opti mast tube to be able to step it into a normal Opti.”The wing was constructed with the aid of James Turner and Logan Dunning-Beck, the 470 sailors from the Wakatere Boating Club.“James made up the plywood control arms, Logan rigged it up; then it was stepped and sailed within a couple of days,” Drummond said. “The rig is a little far forward so the helm is a bit light, but it sails easily. It hasn’t lined up against a conventional rig though – as you can see it is a bit smaller in area.”When it was trialed ahead of the nationals Drummond was impressed the sailors asked very good questions about how the wing works and why it has a slot. The wing isn’t class legal so it won’t be seen on the racecourse in the immediate future, but down the road wingsail technology will undoubtedly become widespread.Link to article:Wing technology trickles down to youth sailors Photo above:President of IODA, Peter Barclay (left), with 2011 Optimist Worlds Committee member, Peter Dawson and the mysterious wingsailed Optimist (courtesy Terry Nicholas). From Opti to AC45 – the stuff of dreamsBy Tim Adair, Sail-World.com // Apr. 28, 2011On a damp Wednesday morning on 27th April 2011, six excited young sailors – selected from the recent 2011 NZ Optimist Nationals – were lucky enough to be invited to crew on the AC45.We met at 0900 for an introduction to the boat by ORACLE Racing’s Design Team member, Mike Drummond. We learned many facts and figures on the mammoth wing-sail and its design origins from the C-Class.We then changed ready to hit the water for the sail of a lifetime. It became apparent to us when being towed out to the racing area that we were in for an amazing ride. I was aboard one of the two Oracle Racing boats and it shone out from the other four boats due to its distinctive white mast.To my surprise, skipper James (Jimmy) Spithill invited me to take the helm as we entered the Hauraki Gulf. Shortly after, I put in the first tack of the day! I was very nervous but with Jimmy by my side, my nerves were calmed and I started to feel like this is what I could do in the future. It was an amazing piece of machinery / art, you could feel every little adjustment made by the crew, with the helm surprisingly light and ultra-responsive.Tacking was like a military exercise as you had to crawl over all the ropes and the central spine which is like a long beam running the length of the boat. One intimidating moment was crawling over the spine and seeing the huge boom and wing-sail above that could fall on you anytime.After my turn on the helm, my two friends William and Leonard had a go to skipper. After we had all had a shot on the helm, Jimmy showed us how to really control the big Cat. Day 2 practice racing followed, so we were put on the big ORACLE Racing support RIB.Watching first hand, close-up, full-on racing from the comfort of the RIB was an amazing spectacle, like a clash of the Titans. It was a great day that I’m sure none of us will ever forget. That’s one of my 'things to do before I die, ticked off'!Thank you, ORACLE Racing,Tim AdairPhoto above:Optimist sailors get a thrill ride aboard ORACLE Racing’s AC45 (Gilles Martin-Raget). Photo gallery:AC45 test event, Day 2Piet muscles around the AC45By ORACLE Racing Comms // Apr. 29, 2011If the AC72 turns out to be anything like the AC45 in terms of the sailors’ physical requirements, the 34th America’s Cup will be as draining to watch as it is for the sailors who bounce around the trampoline from one job to the next.“It’s a really tough boat to sail,” said ORACLE Racing bowman Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen. “Everything is big and the apparent windspeed is high.Watch the video:Match racing pre-start“The hard jobs are grinding and pulling the sheets,” van Nieuwenhuijzen continued. “A lot of different people are doing those jobs. Because there’s so much happening and the boat is so wide you can’t be in the right place at the right time, you have to do the job that’s in front of you. We’re all filling in for each other and that makes it more difficult.”Watch the video:Simeon Tienpont, on board ORACLE RacingThe dynamic movement of the AC45 adds another layer of complexity. A displacement monohull is predictable in its acceleration and deceleration, but not so for the AC45.“The whole platform moves around so much that you struggle to stay on your feet,” said van Nieuwenhuijzen. “If you take a tumble you have to get back up and finish the job.”So what’s the telltale sign that all’s well on the yacht?“If we’re hiking out that means all’s going well,” van Nieuwenhuijzen said. “If we have a chance to sit down, we’re in good shape.”Photo above:Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen has one hand for the boat and one for himself as he secures the gennaker (Gilles Martin-Raget). View a photo gallery:Total match racing
34th AMERICA'S CUP
Pre-season trials aim to provide framework for ACWSSource: America’s Cup websiteThe first week of the America’s Cup Race Management and America’s Cup Event Authority pre-season trials in New Zealand produced some useful results."The purpose of what we've doing has been to test the equipment - prototype equipment - as a forerunner to what we'll use in Cascais in August," said Iain Murray, the ACRM CEO and Regatta Director.Watch the video:America’s Cup test sessions: A brave new world"Having the luxury of having six boats here in Auckland has been a great benefit to us... We've assembled our race management team and prototypes of our equipment and we're putting it to real use out on the race course,” said Murray.Murray said that to date, the equipment has performed to spec with only minor failures. The system tracks the race boats to within 2 centimeters of their position on the racecourse and is the basis for what the Race Committee uses to set the courses. The Umpires work with the same information to assign penalties and it will also be used to generate next-generation television graphics.The biggest challenge, Murray said, has been in getting the people comfortable with the machines and systems, which feed information back to the boats via a display the skipper can read for information and interact with to appeal for a penalty, for example."I think the largest difficulty we've had is everyone getting used to it," he said. "It’s getting very much like Formula 1, where you have a steering wheel with hundreds of functions on it. This is all part of the technology that's required (now) to sail these boats."Principal Race Officer John Craig spoke about some of the course configurations his team has been testing and said they'll continue to experiment over the coming days."It's a balancing act," he said, describing the techniques the race committee is using to generate fair, close, and exciting racing. "We've still got a ways to go to figure out what's going to work best.""I think it's going to change according to the windspeed," Murray added. "A light air racecourse is going to look very different to a windy day race course. The tacking and jibing angles of these boats vary a lot with the wind strength."A little leverage can turn into a big gain at times, so what might look like a big lead can turn into a loss very quickly... The emphasis on downwind sailing is becoming apparent and the short upwind with the long run seems to be a nice recipe."Go to:America’s Cup website Photo:AC45s slice through a choppy Hauraki Gulf during the ACRM pre-season trials in New Zealand (Gilles Martin-Raget).
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