America's Cup - 43.6 knots - but who is counting?
by . on 29 Nov 2012
Welcome to Sail-World.com's fourth America's Cup Newsletter for the 34th America's Cup.
Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa, racing in the Hauraki Gulf Chris Cameron/ETNZ© http://www.chriscameron.co.nz
Personal highlight this month on the America's Cup scene had to be the three hour sail on board Emirates Team NZ's AC 72.
The day had been put off two or three times, but was well worth waiting for, with winds around 18-25 knots and rain squalls moving through the course on a typical Auckland day.
Previously I had sailed aboard an AC45 in Auckland soon after the boats were first launched. That day was at the opposite end of the scale with a breeze of 4-6kts, and you could walk around the boat quite easily taking photos.
Not on this day on the AC72. There is some serious G-force on board these boats, as they accelerate.
We did two runs and two beats and a couple of short reaches. Peak speed was 43.6kts on one of the downwind runs, but the AC72 didn't feel like she was terribly pressed, and maybe had another 10kts in her.
There was no feeling that ETNZ was on the limit of control - once set up this boat does all the work, which probably explains why the 43.6kts didn't feel that fast.
Upwind, although slower at around 20-23kts, the AC72 is very impressive. Again the boat does the work. Pull a few strings, and and whammo you're heading upwind like you've never sailed before. It feels like you are hanging onto a speeding bullet.
This day, with new fairings, the AC72 got a bit too enthusiastic, occasionally foiling to windward, and then using the 50kts apparent windspeed, tried to go the whole way and fly.
We have a full description of the day in this edition, along with images. One of the conditions of the ride was that cameras were not permitted aboard, so all shots are from off the boat.
Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa have raced for the second time in the Hauraki Gulf. While both yachts are foiling, we don't have the money shot yet, which is of the two AC72's foiling in the one frame.
Racing aside, the Italian Challenger is on a steady work-up, remarkable for being able to get foiling on their first day of sailing.
Their one hitch being a rigging incident, resulting in the top back section of the wing being damaged, and more seriously, one crew member breaking a leg.
In San Francisco, Artemis Racing continues her steady build up, with three days of sailing concluded on the America's Cup course. Her crew seem to be pleased with the progress made, and we have images, stories and video from the team's first days of sailing.
Not a lot from Oracle Team USA in this edition. Not from a lack of trying on our part, with interview arrangements being accepted and then declined or shifted at short notice. We then submitted a list of written questions, but have had no reply. That was a week ago.
The off the water action which is an integral part of the America's Cup has continued this month, with a protest being lodged by Luna Rossa against Oracle Team USA over one incident, however Sail-World understands there have been others. Perhaps the surprising thing about the images that have been released elsewhere, is that the cameras the team spies are carrying don't seem to be big enough to be much use at the 200metre distance required by the AC Protocol.
The other surprise is from Emirates Team New Zealand who have all but announced that their first AC72 will be decommissioned in a couple of weeks and will not sail in the normal two-boat approach against their second AC72 due for launch in early February.
We will be publishing further America's Cup newsletters, when there is sufficient content and/or on milestone occasions - we expect this to be once a month, until the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Sail-World's America's Cup News Editor
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