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 09 Feb 2011
 


Sail-World New Zealand: 8 February 2011

34th America's Cup - AC45 celebration - Bruno Troublé, (Louis Vuitton representative) is all smiles  Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 8 February 2011

This edition of Sail-World features coverage from the Launch_Ceremonies associated with the 34th America's Cup and AC45.

They marked the end of the beginning for the 34th America's Cup in terms of the Protocol being published, Venue and dates announced, and the creation of the new type of boat that will sail in the Match.

Those around the Auckland waterfront will becoming familiar with the wingsailed AC45, however she is the first of a fleet of these yachts that will become a common sight on the Waitemata and Hauraki Gulf.

Next stage is for the first batch of AC45's to be launched and trialled.

America's Cup Regatta Management will be using this fleet to test race formats, television coverage and everything else to the conduct of the America's Cup World Series - all in Auckland over the next few months.

The more we see of the AC45 (and extrapolate that into her big sister the AC72) the more we like the concept.

Initially the America's Cup boat debate was hinged around whether multihulls should be in the America's Cup, and below the surface the implication was that multihulls were finally being proved to be better than monohulls.

Signaling a change in era for the America's Cup  Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com

However that is a facetious argument - the reality is that the modern America's Cup needs a boat that can be raced in conditions of 4-30+kts. It also needs a venue where the racing can be guaranteed to start on time. And the reality is that the America's Cup organisers have borrowed more from the 18ft skiffs than they have from the multihull camp, or morphed from the old event.

Overall the next America's Cup has a good feel to to it, and the excitement is starting to come back into the event. Right now the enthusiasm seems to be stronger from the non-sailing public than the sailing aficionados - well those who haven't seen the AC45 in action - live. Those who have seen the boat sailing will appreciate her stunning acceleration which is quite like anything else that has been seen on the water - that appreciation can then shift into how tactics and sailing will evolve.

AC45 - offering fast action, and new racing options in the 34th America's Cup  Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com

Gone will be the days of boats sitting head to wind for several minutes before the start, in a slow motion arm wrestle. There is nothing quite so slow, or awkward as a stalled wingsail. And, as we saw at the start of the first race of the 33rd America's Cup, when USA-17 stalled, the price of that mistake is about 600 metres. That means the skippers will be using the AC45/72's acceleration to get out of prestart trouble, and while there will be some interaction in the start, the focus, as with any high performance boat, will be on getting a clean fast start. Where you are 300 metres up the track is far more relevant than how many nanoseconds you were ahead at the start

AC45 celebration - Young NZL Sailing Team members Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (Womens 470) Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er) with AC winner Jimmy Spithill  Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com

The other feature of the AC45/72 is the tacking speed which is certainly the equal or better of the monohull AC class - and getting to the 'right' part of the course - to pick up a favourable shift or more wind pressure will be critical. Certainly these boats have the tacking ability and gas to get to the right part of the course very quickly, and the days of measured tactics, and long drags to the layline are possibly gone too.

One asset these boats do have is the ability to stop, when the wingsail is released - and that will put a new angle into the America's Cup game. To the purist, stopping is obviously slow, but coupled with the AC45's rapid ability to change direction and lightning fast acceleration it is likely that there will be a new set of tactics on offer.

34th America's Cup - AC45 celebration - the new boat in the foreground and the old AC (including NZL-60) in the background.  Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com

Couple that with the probability that the course legs will be just six minutes long, offering little time for fiddling with technology and readouts. This boat will reward good seat of the pants sailors who are physically tough - just like the 18ft skiffs.

In this edition we have featured a number of video interviews - which is new science for us, at least. The advantage is that we can bring you a 'fly on the wall' view of sailing events and people. And do that within a short space of time. The downside is that we are still at a live testing stage while we get the bugs out of our technique and gear.

Bob Fisher with the prototype AC45  

What this technology will allow us to do at Sail-World is to take viewers into media conferences and the like (not live) but with near continuous clips online so you can see how the matters unfolded, rather than just read a journalist's interpretation of what was asked and said.

We can also do impromptu interviews of the type we have in this edition, with Louis Vuitton's Bruno Trouble and esteemed yachting correspondent and sailor, Bob Fisher.

In that vein it is great to see Louis Vuitton happily back in the America's Cup game. Bruno Trouble is smiling again - and you know that the next Louis Vuitton and America's Cups are going to be just fine.

Click here for TV3's prime time news coverage of the launch event.

On her way - 34th America's Cup - AC45 celebration  Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com

Thanks to our contributors for their help and input, we're here to help sailing, and help those who wish to help themselves. A special thanks to those who have contributed to this edition.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor


nzeditor@sail-world.com

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America's Cup AC45 technical shakedown complete
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