Adam May, who is in charge of performance analysis for Artemis Racing was assessing the opposition for the Louis Vuitton semi-final match that is due to start next Tuesday, 6th August.
May is a Tornado Olympian and a foiling Moth sailor, who, comparing the two boats, said: 'Luna Rossa is a slightly higher volume hull shape with slightly more rocker profile through the mid-section; we (Artemis) have probably a slightly lower volume with a lower profile shape – less freeboard – that’s the main difference between us.’
He continued with the comparison by saying that in the AC-72s the differences in speed were not greatly accountable to relevant hull shapes; other things were more important: 'Off the wind you are hopefully foiling these boats,’ he said, 'so that hull shape is less relevant for that. With their greater rocker, the Luna Rossa boat perhaps has greater manoeuvrability due to the profile and should be tacking quite well.'
That was not to deny his own team’s chances. 'Artemis may be better in straight lines,' said May, 'but hull shape counts for little in ultimate speed. Foils make the big difference.' Fortunately for the Artemis Racing team, the new boat was foiling within minutes of leaving the dock on her first day in the water.
There are, however, many unknowns, and most of these can only be resolved with time spent on the water. 'We don’t really know where we are,' he said, 'and it’s a huge learning process every time we sail the boat.' The canting angle of the foils is one of the most important factors and the optimum can only be judged from sailing experience.
'Six days to 73 or so,' he commented, but smiled as he added: 'We are seeing good numbers already. There’s stuff learned from the red boat, and stuff from the (foiling AC) 45 and its all gone into ‘Big Blue’.' By the time the two boats meet in anger, Artemis’ ‘Big Blue’ will have possibly completed 40 hours of sailing, which includes technical and technique assessments, while the red and chrome the Luna Rossa crew will have had close to 80 days of all types of sailing, including racing on the course, since their boat was launched in Auckland at the end of last October.
Everyone agrees that time on the water counts for much, which is why Emirates Team New Zealand was out on the course practicing on Saturday morning, aiming no doubt to perfect the foil-gybing which continues to hold its rivals in awe and determination. Matching it in the short-term may be difficult but it was something that Adam May acknowledged: 'The Kiwis are ahead of us all,' and somewhat grudgingly added: 'at present.'
by Bob Fisher
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7:54 PM Sat 3 Aug 2013GMT
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