by Chuck Lantz
When the fog comes in, or the wind's too high, or expensive bits fail to do the job they were intended to do in this edition of the Louis Vuitton and America's cup, one of the pastimes of the spectators is to try and guess which is which when both of the defending team's Oracle AC72 boats are on the water.
Both Oracle boats square-off for a practice race - which is which?
For reasons known only to the inner sanctum at Team Oracle, they have gone to great lengths to make telling one boat from the other as difficult as possible for the casual viewer, especially at any distance. While it could be argued that confusing the competition is the goal, the competition is not made up of dummies. By now, they can tell at a glance which boat is Oracle #1 and which is Oracle #2.
To begin with, calling them #1 and #2 can be confusing in itself, since the first boat built by Oracle would logically be called 'boat #1', and the second one built would be 'boat #2'. Except in this case, since the second boat built is most likely the boat that will race the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup in the America's Cup finals, it is often referred to as 'boat one.' Confused? Welcome to the club.
To makes things even more confusing, both boats have identical markings, paint and sponsor logos. During the early stages, when both boats were out testing and practicing against each other, one boat had a slightly thicker black stringer just above a logo on the wing sail. But after one media outlet mentioned that this was a simple way to tell the two boats apart, the thicker stringer vanished literally overnight, replaced with one identical to its sister AC72.
So, to help identify one Oracle boat from the other, Sail-World has put together this photo essay, shot by Chuck Lantz, to help ease the confusion.
Quick quiz: Which one is this? First boat built, or second boat built? - America's Cup
This view should make the quiz easier. Note the asymetrical rudder foil. (Not part of the quiz, just something interesting) - America's Cup
Oracle's first boat, showing three visual cues; Two bowsprit support posts, squared underbody and a notch at the bottom of the mast. - America's Cup
Another view, showing no lower cross-bracing, a major difference between Oracle and all challengers. - America's Cup
Boat 2, the second Oracle AC72 boat built, and the most likely boat to defend the Cup - America's Cup
The newest boat, showing only one bowsprit support post, V-shaped structure and no mast notch. - America's Cup
Boat 2 shows her wide V-shaped center structure underbody. Boat 1 has a more square shaped structure. - America's Cup
Oracle's newest boat, again showing her clean underbody, designed without bracing to decrease wind resistance. - America's Cup
If you can tell them apart now without checking your notes, you win a prize. Tell the kid Sail-World sent you. - America's Cup