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America's Cup design secrets - Cheeki Rafiki outcome - Winter race pix

by . on 26 May 2014
Mayhem - RNZYS Winter Series - May 24, 2014 © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
Welcome to Sail-World.com New Zealand for May 26, 2014

The US Coastguard remained true to its word, suspending the search for the missing crew from the Beneteau First 40.7, Cheeki Rafiki, when stated on Friday, local time.

But not before the upturned hull of the yacht was re-located, and there was clear evidence that the keel had broken off.

A swimmer entered the water identified the name of the boat, and then sadly found that the liferaft was still aboard and had not been deployed.

Sadly the only conclusion that could be drawn is that all her crew had been lost, despite at least two of them surviving the initial incident.


In this edition of Sail-World we carry reports about the unfolding incident, and the sad conclusion.

Sail-World publisher, Rob Kothe, with personal experience of the catastrophic 1998 Sydney Hobart Race, gives his insight into the Cheeki Rafiki incident. There are some unexplained issues, particularly with the non-deployment of the liferaft, given that the crew was aware for some time before the incident that they had a water ingress issue.

Late last week the final lecture in the series was given by two New Zealand design engineers, involved in opposing teams in the 34th America's Cup.

Sponsored by Beca as part of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand's centenary celebrations, the series was very detailed and provided an excellent overview of the approaches and differences between the teams.


Many are still bewildered over the loss by the Emirates Team New Zealand on the cusp of a seemingly certain victory. In this edition, we feature the key points of the presentations given by Neil Wilkinson of Oracle Team USA and Andy Kensington (Emirates Team NZ). Both are America's Cup design veterans having come through the monohull era, and into the new world of the AC72.

The story also has a full length video replay of the presentation from the two designers who each took the floor for about 40 minutes each.

Both presentations feature a lot of new material, images and graphic animations of working parts of the boats, including Oracle's controversial foil control system. Both teams used several engineering workarounds to skirt the dictates of the AC72 rule.


The key differences between the teams are now evident.

Also revealed is the data analysis, or forensics, as Neil Wilkinson terms it, which Oracle Team USA used to analyse key data from an incident, such a nosedive, to see what went wrong and why. In the video Wilkinson walks the audience through such an incident showing how the various factors interplay. This nosedive was caused by the wingsail trimmer drawing hydraulic pressure just before skipper, Jimmy Spithill, tried to adjust a foil control from the same system - and found there was no pressure available.

Several design changes evolved from Oracle's nosedive incident, which underlined the power of their analysis process, believed to be a key reason Oracle was able to make the changes during the Match necessary to catch up to Emirates Team NZ. As previously noted, Oracle were aided by the time handed to the Defender by the bizarre system of changing wind limits adopted for the regatta.


Bob Fisher attended the inquest into Andrew 'Bart' Simpson in UK, last week. Simpson, a double Olympic medalist, died in the Artemis AC72 break up in san Francisco. Fisher reports in this edition - the reasons why are still officially inconclusive. Maybe running the data from Artemis through the Oracle forensic system would be revealing, if it has not already been done.

As the lights dim on the America's Cup, the interest shifts to the Olympics. Despite all the criticism of the International Sailing Federation, over the format and classes, at least the sailing world does have certainty as to when the next Olympic regatta will take place and what the build up events will be.

With the main round of Qualifying to take place in Santander, Spain, later this year the build up regattas take an increased significance. Thus far, the NZL Sailing Team have performed well and notched another good win in the Mens Laser class on the weekend at the Delta Lloyd regatta sailed at Medemblik (NED), backed up with a third place from a returning Michael Bullot. We have daily reports from the event in this edition along with the report from Yachting NZ.


The key to New Zealand staying on top of the World sailing scene is Recruitment.

Various programs are underway, including the well established Waterwise program and Yachting NZ's Sailing...Have a Go initiated by former CEO Des Brennan, which has taken a new turn at the last two Hutchwilco NZ Boat Shows. In this edition, we feature an image gallery and two videos of one of the competitions at the just completed show.

The thrust of the recruitment of new sailing talent has to focus on the goal of giving a sailing experience every schoolkid aged between 9-11yrs. Then recruitment systems should pull those sailors who want to continue, into the next stage - which is to sign into a yacht club or school programs.

Like planting an orchard, running these programs do not bear fruit immediately, and it takes about ten years for the talent that has been enticed into sailing to start showing up on the international regatta result sheets.


The program that Yachting NZ ran at the Boat Show takes sailing recruitment into a new first level that can be run in a shopping mall - without the need for boats and water. Most kids seem to know what winch-grinding is all about, and the same for spinnaker hoisting and packing. And if they don't have the first idea - then just watch the kid that has gone before them.

Several years ago, Yachting NZ put in place a team of Regional Development Officers, and pumped the Annual Subscription by $10 a head to make some contribution from those already in the sport to the cost. Again that is a long term program which takes a while to bed-in and produce results, but that seems to be happening now.


For sure it the RSO's still have a lot of ground to cover and it is Mission Impossible, and certainly they are not a substitute for club's doing their own recruitment.

Overall the sport seems to have become a lot more mainstream - with those coming into these Have a Go competitions seeming to have some idea of what it sailing is all about - thanks largely to the 'as seen on TV' experience from the America's Cup.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

sailworldnzl@gmail.com

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