Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

America's Cup- From Opti to AC45 – the stuff of dreams

by Tim Adair on 28 Apr 2011
New Zealand National Optimist Champion, Leonard Takahashi-Fry on the handlebars of the AC45 Gilles Martin-Raget/Oracle Racing.com © http://www.oracleteamusamedia.com/
From Opti to AC45 – the stuff of dreams - an Optimist sailor writes of his America's cup experience

On a damp Wednesday morning on 27th April 2011, six excited young sailors – selected from the recent 2011 NZ Optimist Nationals – were lucky enough to be invited to crew on the AC45. We met at 0900 for an introduction to the boat by Oracle Racing’s Designer, Mike Drummond. We learned many facts and figures on the mammoth wing-sail and its design origins from the C-Class.

We then changed ready to hit the water for the sail of a lifetime. It became apparent to us when being towed out to the racing area that we were in for an amazing ride. I was aboard one of the two Oracle Racing boats and it shone out from the other four boats due to its distinctive white mast.


To my surprise, skipper James (Jimmy) Spithill invited me to take the helm as we entered the Hauraki Gulf. Shortly after, I put in the first tack of the day! I was very nervous but with Jimmy by my side, my nerves were calmed and I started to feel like this is what I could do in the future. It was an amazing piece of machinery / art, you could feel every little adjustment made by the crew, with the helm surprisingly light and ultra-responsive.

Tacking was like a military exercise as you had to crawl over all the ropes and the central spine which is like a long beam running the length of the boat. One intimidating moment was crawling over the spine and seeing the huge boom and wing-sail above that could fall on you anytime.


After my turn on the helm, my two friends William and Leonard had a go to skipper. After we had all had a shot on the helm, Jimmy showed us how to really control the big Cat.

Day 2 practice racing followed, so we were put on the big Oracle Racing support RIB.

Watching first hand, close-up, full-on racing from the comfort of the RIB was an amazing spectacle, like a clash of the Titans. It was a great day that I’m sure none of us will ever forget. That’s one of my 'things to do before I die, ticked off'!

Thank you, Oracle Racing

Tim Adair

Zhik ZKG 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Sydney Hobart Race-Dark and stormy, well because it is Dark and Stormy
Proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart Well it is now dark and the rain 'storms' have passed, but proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart, the custom Murray 37, Dark & Stormy had a wonderful exchange on the radio. Quite possibly it was co-owner and Navigator Terry Courts on the VHF in the super-frank exchange with Hobart Race Control at around 1928hrs on 29/12/16.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016