AC musings and Grand Prix news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 4 May 2013
I was recently writing a small article that looked at the differences between the AC45 and the AC72 class. The piece contained all sorts of numbers (square-footage of airfoils and soft sails, LOAs, beams, rig heights, etc.) and it occurred to me that, when compared to AC72s, AC45s are downright decaffeinated. But then some background research led me to remember the timeline of events, punctuated with the germane months such as January of 2011, when the first AC45 was launched, and July of 2012, when the first AC72 was launched.
Oracle Team USA takes their new steed out for a spin on San Francisco Bay Guilain Grenier Oracle Team USA © http://www.oracleteamusamedia.com/
The interesting bit is simply how staggeringly far these programs have come in such a short timeframe. To throw another marker at the wall, add (late) August of 2012, that being the month when photos of Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) flying their first-generation AC72 on foils emerged, punching the level of play from merely futuristic (i.e., Artemis Challenge’s first-generation, non-foiling AC72) to full-bore sci-fi sailing (i.e., ETNZ’ and Oracle’s second-generation boats).
And while no one likes to dwell on the marker that was dropped on October 16, 2012, that being the day that Oracle learned the boundaries of a bear-away maneuver, the simple fact that ENTZ, Luna Rossa and Oracle have all now logged considerable foil time at speeds north of 40 knots is stunning given where the sailing world was in December of 2010.
Meanwhile, on sailing’s other stages, the racecourse action has been hot at the RC44 Trapani Cup, where thirteen well-oiled teams have been engaged in match racing and fleet racing to determine top honors. 'Everything was working in our favor today,' said Igor Lah, the owner of 'Team Ceeref'. '[Tactician] Michele [Ivaldi] was choosing all the right sides, the team did a great job downwind, the wind was pretty stable, and everything just worked. It’s amazing how hard the competition is now within the fleet.'
Racing continues at this Sicilian event through Sunday, so stay tuned to the website for updates, as they become available, and be sure to check out the latest report, inside this issue.
And in Qingdao, China, both 'Alinghi' and 'Realteam' have proven quick in the light breeze and earning comfortable spots on the leaderboard at the Act 3 of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series. 'I think we just picked up from where we left off in Singapore and it felt pretty good,' said Morgan Larsen, Alinghi’s helmsman. 'It would have been easy to have made a couple of errors and then fall apart but it felt like everyone had a good grasp on their jobs and the communication was solid.' Get the full report, inside.
Also inside, get the latest updates from the 505 Worlds and Antigua Sailing Week as well as the latest word from the ongoing Laser class 'situation'. And finally, for anyone who could use a shot of adrenaline to wind-down their week (or to ramp up their weekend), be sure to check out the video footage of the wildly powerful 18-footers during their recent ANZAC Regatta. Enjoy!
May the four winds blow you safely home,
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