Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Gladwell's Line- Welcome to the Stadium of Sailing

by Richard Gladwell on 9 Sep 2013
America’s Cup - Day 1, Oracle Team USA vs Emirates Team NZ - Race 2 - flying past Alcatraz © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com

Walking to the America’s Cup yesterday felt much the same as going to a major rugby match. Crowds were shoulder to shoulder. All going the same way. All in plenty of time.

They were wise to be early, there was a capacity house at all venues. Organisers quoted some impressive click-in numbers for the spectators, but from the water it was apparent those didn’t even scratch the surface.

The main pier was closed by Police after its maximum legal capacity was reached, and there were similar stories from around the waterfront.

Those up on Marina Green had two shows – the America’s Cuppers, followed by the Flying 18’s.

The latter were probably more the swimming 18’s as strong winds and an strong tide, ebbing seems to be an understatement, played hell with the fleet and the practice race was abandoned. Several boats were swept out under the Golden Gate Bridge – fortunately all were eventually retrieved, however there were some very cold boys afterwards.

The Kiwi 18fter sailors have had an interesting few days. After their plane was delayed for several hours they enjoyed the hospitality of an airport lounge with all you can eat and drink. They finally boarded, well fed and watered – and had the hangover set in about two hours into an 11 hour flight.

The physical 'punishment' continued a night or so later, with the boys having a quiet little drink in their local 'The Twisted Pig'. At the point they were about to head for bed the winners of the Red Bull Youth AC turned up with one of their winnings, in the form of a double decker Red Bull Bus. Theirs for the night – and empty.

The Kiwi 18fters poured out of the pub, into the bus and had a night touring San Francisco – again with all you can drink. Does it get any better than this? That was another night out, with the Kiwis keeping the great drinking traditions of the class alive, and finely honed.

The hangovers the next morning were duly suffered, with all sorts of promises being made to live a quiet life for the rest of the week.


On the America’s Cup course, it was a very steely affair as the two gladiators faced each other in the San Francisco Stadium.

This was the Rumble in the Jungle, that the sport had been awaiting for years.

No-one knew the outcome.

Some suspected the Emirates Team NZ, the Challenger, might have an edge. It looked that way at the first mark as Dean Barker steamed over the top of Oracle Team USA’s Jimmy Spithill and round the first mark a clear leader.

Emirates Team NZ was the first to gybe – their standard foiling number.

To the surprise of some, Oracle reciprocated – and everyone realized there was going to be a boat race, not a walkover.

Next surprise was on the downwind leg, as Oracle seemed to be sailing lower than the New Zealanders – again the first time that has been seen all summer.

A close rounding at the bottom mark, and Oracle was through the Kiwis. Cheers all round from the spectators and USA supporters on the Media Boats.

For a few minutes it looked like being a long week for the Kiwi’s as they trailed the Defender. But then we saw the theme of the day, as Emirates Team NZ pushed one way and then the next and crossed ahead of the US team.

Barker said afterwards that the atmosphere didn’t change on the Kiwi boat, when they got behind, nothing different was said, and they sailed the same way they always do.

From there it was a matter of sailing out the course. Oracle did not seem to have the answers to the Kiwis questions, and Barker maintained a small but useful lead at the top mark which multiplies by a factor of two, in terms of distance as they flew down the final run hitting speed that would have been expected to be in the vicinity of the high 30 -40kts.

Race 2 was a repeat of race 1, without the lead change at the bottom Mark. This was a more convincing affair with the Kiwis always in front.


What were the differences?

Essentially it was a matter of finesse and more time in the boat. Emirates Team New Zealand slipped through their 100th day of sailing about the time of the start of this America’s Cup.

Oracle Team USA certainly have a fast boat, they seem to be able to sail the same angles as the Kiwis – downwind anyway.

The performance data would indicate that they are pretty good upwind too, with both boats sailing the same distance in one race, and the US team sailing the shorter distance in the other. Given what we have seen previously in this regatta with the NZers sailing up to 1800metres less than their rivals – those distances sailed are a telling statistic.

The New Zealanders have too many modes and tricks for the US team – on what we have seen today at least. Their ability to shift gears and work this with a tactical and boat positioning strategy has to be seen to be appreciated – if you can see it at all on any one medium.

The key difference seemed to be upwind, with the Kiwis able to roll tack their boat using the foils – so they were quicker out of the tacks – and that could explain the lead gain out of the bottom mark in Race 1.

They were also able to move into upwind foiling mode, with consummate ease – and used that to extend as required.

Oracle Team USA may have the same arsenal – but should have been able to hold the lead they enjoyed over the Kiwis in Race 1 - and a loss for the Kiwis in the opening race would have been a severe cage-rattler, which would probably have given Oracle the confidence to do the same again in Race 2. That would have wiped out their Jury penalty, and it would have been back to all square today.

As it now stands the Kiwis have two of their nine points, and for Oracle the slope created for them by the Jury penalty, has got steeper, and they cannot afford the same outcome after Day 2.

Overall the Day was just outstanding. Everything that had been promised. These boats are just fantastic to watch on the water and it is a huge privilege for anyone who is here in San Francisco to see with their eyes what cannot be seen on the TV.









Wildwind 2016 660x82Hamilton Island LuxuryNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Emirates Team NZ launches shadow AC50
Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC4 Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC45S - as the test boats are called in the Protocol which governs the 2017 event. The bloated Protocol, which now runs to 83 pages of legalese, is restrictive on the size of boat that can be built as a test platform but doesn't restrict the number that can be built.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Rio 2016 - Double Olympic medallist on the delights of Guanabara Bay
Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist Bruce Kendall updates on the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist, and now a windsurfer coach, Bruce Kendall has made several trips to the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. He updates on the pollution issue which is clearly not going to be resolved in a couple of months, and also shares his views on the venue from a sailing competition perspective.
Posted on 14 Jun
America's Cup - Artemis win Chicago as Team Japan wins two races
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. After losing the first official day of racing due to light winds and the non-arrival of the onshore breeze, Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. From a racing perspective this was probably the best day of racing yet in the series which counts for points in the Qualifying Series of the America's Cup in 11 months time.
Posted on 12 Jun
America's Cup - Emirates TNZ NZ and Oracle capsize in Chicago Practice
Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA capsized in Practice Racing at the Louis Vuitton ACWS Chicago There was action aplenty on Practice Day at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago, after Emirates Team New Zealand capsized in their match with Oracle Team USA, and then Oracle Team USA capsized later in the day. Team NZ's skipper skipper Glenn Ashby performed some impressive acrobatics ejecting from the AC45 capsize, without injury.
Posted on 11 Jun
America's Cup - Changes proposed to control future Cup options
Changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing according to the Daily Telegraph (UK) News that changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing is being floated in the Daily Telegraph (UK) by the British Challenger, Land Rover BAR. According to the Telegraph, some of the teams in the 2017 America's Cup are keen to lock-in parameters which would bind successive holders of the a style and frequency for the next America's Cup Match.
Posted on 8 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 construction uncovered - Part 2 - Wings and Costs
Second part of a two-part series looking at the AC50 construction progress at Core Builders Composites Second part of a two-part series looking at the construction progress at Core Builders Composites, and features of the AC50 class which will be used in the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Tim Smyth takes us on a tour of the CBC facility in Warkworth, and hour's drive north of Auckland. Where several AC50's, components and wingsails are under construction or have already been shipped to the teams.
Posted on 5 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 building program well underway at Core Builders
For the first time in America’s Cup history, Sail-World can publish photos of America’s Cup yachts during construction. With the forthcoming America's Cup in Bermuda just under 12 months away, production of the wingsails and AC50 one design hulls and components are well underway at Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, about an hour north of Auckland. For the first time in America’s Cup history, Sail-World can publish photos of America’s Cup yachts during construction.
Posted on 3 Jun
One spot on earth yields five Olympic stars!
Five members of the 2016 Australian Sailing Team heading for the Rio Olympics call one place home. Five members of the 2016 Australian Sailing Team heading for the Rio Olympics call one place home. Before you all answer Australia, and as Peter Allen goes off into the chorus, we’re specifically talking about one spot in a place called Manly on the shores of Moreton Bay. It is a club that has stupendous facilities, but is probably better known for family spirit, can do attitude and results.
Posted on 3 Jun
America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May