sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : America's Cup: Coutts vigorous in defence of catamarans + Video

America's Cup: Coutts vigorous in defence of catamarans + Video

'Russell Coutts steers the AC45 for the first time'    ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget ©    Click Here to view large photo

Oracle Racing CEO, Russell Coutts, attacked those who do not believe it will be possible to have match racing in multihulls in the 34th America’s Cup.

He was speaking at a media conference arranged at Oracle Racing's temporary base in the Viaduct Harbour. The event was attended by local media, with international media online via a conference link.

'The modern multihull is a lot more advanced than even those of 10 years ago', he said. When I say it is a lot better - it is different universe!'

'A lot of people have commented on the pros and cons. I had a good discussion with a keen sailor at Key West recently, who assured me that multihulls would be terrible for match racing – even though he had never tried a modern multihull. There are a lot of fixed ideas – there are even people who believe that multihulls aren’t tactical!

'There is no real justification for that. When you go racing in a multihull fleet with a lot of very good sailors, it is very tactical', he added. 'There are presumptions made that are false.'

Jimmy Spithill and Russell Coutts keenly defended catamarans in the America’s Cup -  © Richard Gladwell?nid=79753   Click Here to view large photo

For a time the media conference devolved into quite a technical discussion about the difference between tactics in a displacement boat and a high performance boat.

'In heavy displacement boats you only really see passing in heavy airs when there is a crew error, or in light winds when they become more like high performance boats. '

'In a heavy displacement boat, if you are calling a layline and get it wrong going into the bottom mark you just turn into the new course. You may go slower, but you won’t get passed because the speeds are not that different. In a high performance boat, if you get that layline wrong, you can’t simply change your course down to the mark. Tactically, the boat behind will make it very interesting for the boat in front to defend a lead because they, to some extent, call the shots.'.

'In my opinion, it is much harder to defend', Coutts added. 'When you get changes in windspeed there are big performance differences in high-performance boats. If you, for example are behind and are carrying a gust down the course, you can ride it a lot better than you can in a heavy displacement boat, relatively speaking.

'In a Melges 32 for instance, if you have a good upwind leg you might gain two of three boat lengths, but if you have a good downwind leg, you’ll gain two or three hundred metres!'

'I think you will see a different style of racing in the next America’s Cup. With the high performance boats even though they appear to be well separated, the opportunities to pass will be that much greater.

Russell Coutts: ’I think you will see a different style of racing in the next America’s Cup.' -  ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget?nid=79753_©   Click Here to view large photo

Responding to a question on pre-start tactics, Coutts deferred to USA-17 skipper, Jimmy Spithill, the youngest helmsman to ever win an America’s Cup, who said that he felt the current prestart game was way too boring. 'It goes on for way too long and the dial-up isn’t exciting. Anyone that doesn’t know much about sailing seeing two boats sit alongside each other, head to wind in light airs for most of the pre-start, can’t be good. We will be looking at ways of eliminating the dial-up, changing the start box configuration and keeping it tight.

'The beauty of the wingsail is its maneuverability. We have seen it before on the trimaran, and we are seeing it now in the AC45. Also you will see in starts something that hasn’t been seen before - which is boats sailing at over 30kts.

Coutts chimes in.

'Don’t forget that in a monohull you can go pretty well anywhere. But in a catamaran there are sailing zones, that if you sail in those in San Francisco, you’ll capsize!

'The catamaran brings a lot of dimensions into the prestart that I think will be very interesting', the four times America’s Cup winner added.

Coutts was asked why they were even bothering to have a pre-start, and maybe it would be a better game just to have the boats line up at an assigned end of the line and start – given the race was going to be less than an hour long?

Coutts' response was that a prestart was still required to have boats fight for their preferred end, but that the prestart period might be reduced to just a couple of minutes.

He noted that in America’s Cups sailed in old match racing system yachts, the winner of the start went on to win the race 60% of the time. 'It’s not a good statistic to have, as a sport', he commented.

'You want to establish that one boat will win the start and the other will lose, otherwise you are really just doing it by coin toss, but we don’t want to make that win so advantageous that it will determine 60% of the racing.'

AC45 sea trial and flying a hull at the lower end of the wind range -  ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget?nid=79753_©   Click Here to view large photo

That led into the next issue of the seriousness of one boat obtaining a penalty on the other as happened in the first race in February 2010, in Valencia. Clearing off the turn could be a race pre-determining event.

Coutts and Spithill almost spoke as one. They quickly jumped in saying: 'What’s the penalty system going to be?' asked Coutts rhetorically.

'That’s up for discussion,' added Spithill.

'That’s a classic example', Coutts continued. 'The penalty in the next America’s Cup is probably going to be something that is less severe than what it currently is.'

'You can’t have a situation where in a pre-start there is a penalty given and the sailors know that the race is virtually over, and have to spend the next 45 minutes just sailing around the track. The fans also know the race is over – and that’s not how it should be.

'If we can just put the boat that was fouled back ahead of the offender, then the race is back on again', said Coutts.

'If you look at the course configurations and have a long first leg, the race is virtually over – if boat that winds the start pushed the other out the wrong way. There is nothing that says we have to have a long first leg. Why not make it shorter and open up the rest of the course for a proper sailing duel?'

The maneuverability afforded by the the wingsail is a real point of difference between the multihull and displacement yachts -  ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget?nid=79753_©   Click Here to view large photo
'I think that would be good for the sailors and good for anyone watching,' Coutts concluded.

He did note that the course configuration for San Francisco would have to be sorted out in the near future as teams would have to start a design process running and needed to know the course configuration. There would be some trialling of different course configurations while the AC45 fleet were in New Zealand.

Coutts commented that reaching legs would probably be employed. 'Probably yes, because on a multihull the reaches can be incredibly challenging. But the length of those reaching legs is still to be determined'.

(As an aside, a quick exercise undertaken by Sail-World during the week showed that it was very possible to use an old style Olympic course in San Francisco with a start and finish half way up the windward leg and two reaches, that would give a sailing length of about 22nm – which would probably take the yachts just under an hour given the speeds achieved by the AC45 in similar windstrength.)

It was revealed that although the designers and organisers had Velocity Performance Predictions for the AC45, they did not, as yet, have instruments on the boats and had not co-related these to actual boat speeds. There are a couple of load cells on the AC45’s to check some key loads.

At this stage it was not really possible to predict the speeds of the yachts. 'We did over 40kts in the trimaran', Coutts noted, 'and I don’t think a VPP will ever show you that sort of number. But eventually they will!'

Coutts doesn’t believe the speeds and characteristics of the high speed, highly maneuverable multihull will change the tactics too much of America’s Cup racing. 'I don’t think these boats will change the game much in a tactical sense. I think the good sailors will still be the good sailors. Look at what has happened with the sailors, like Jimmy Spithill and Dean Barker, that have stepped off the keelboats and into the A-class catamaran and done very well.'

'I think you will see the good sailors adapt – it is just going to be a bit more challenging.'

Spithill said that over the past week they had sailed the AC45 at four knots to over 25 knots and was confident that they would be able to sail in winds of 30kts. 'We need to have a boat that is capable of sailing over a big range of conditions so we can sail these yachts successfully at different venues.'

In terms of Challenger numbers Coutts said they had six already, was confident of getting eight, and maybe 10 team entering. He alluded to the expectation of another entry being announced (now expected to be Team New Zealand) in the next few days or week. ‘Ten teams will look very impressive on the San Francisco waterfront', he added.

Delivery of the AC45’s was slightly ahead of schedule, by about week, and the rotation period at the end of February would be determined by ACRM in order of entry.

Spithill commented that Team New Zealand (despite not having their entry confirmed/announced) had a slot at the end of the second week, followed by the other of the group of four initial challenges, Artemis Racing. Oracle Racing and Mascalzone Latino would have the first sessions.




by Richard Gladwell

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=79753

1:19 PM Fri 28 Jan 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2013 America's Cup

Related News Stories:

09 Aug 2014  America's Cup: Former Artemis crew member says danger is being ignored
27 May 2014  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA under stress
23 May 2014  America's Cup: Oracle and Team NZ designers reveal AC72 secrets
22 May 2014  America's Cup: Artemis death verdict 'result of an human act'
10 May 2014  A year after the Artemis incident, the sailors tell of the pain
01 May 2014  America's Cup: Oracle and Team NZ tech insights - Free lecture tonight
16 Apr 2014  America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced
14 Apr 2014  America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess
12 Apr 2014  America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report
10 Apr 2014  America's Cup: Two Kiwis escape hometown action in AC45 rules ruckus
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World



































ISAF Sailing World Championships - Watch medal races live here by Dan Ibsen, Sail-World Europe & UK editor,








470 Men and Women Worlds - Vadlau and Ogar into pole position by 470 International Association Class,




ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets by Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Assoc.,




















Volvo Ocean Race: Win a stopover trip by designing an ECsix T-Shirt
Red Bull 49erFX: On the eve of the Worlds in Santander
America's Cup: Ben Ainslie Racing launches partnership with Yamaha
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Starts tomorrow
Rio 2016 Daylight the issue for Olympic sailing regatta
ISAF Sailing World Championships - USA 470's and Lasers battle at top
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander - Day 5 video highlights
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander images by Jesús Renedo
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - No action on day 2
470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Finns off to slow start in Santander
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Seesaw Day 5 in Santander + Video
ISAF Sailing World Championships - 470 sailors shine in Santander
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Kiwi Ray Davies returns to TP52 fleet
Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam - No windsurfing action on day 1
A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship
Rolex Big Boat Series - Prizegiving images by Chuck Lantz
ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video
18ft skiffs: Carnage compilation from the glory days of the Grand Prix
ISAF Worlds: Video from the British Sailing Team
Bart's Bash expected to set new records this weekend   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Marcilio Browne wins Super Session   
470 Men and Women World Championships - Racing abandoned on day 2   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 4 images from Santander   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Emerging Nations Program sailors shine   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Teasing winds play havoc on day 4   
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Hot conditions in Santander on day 4   
Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships joins Bart’s Bash   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Grounded fishing boat creates problems   
Marseille One Design - GC32 Armin Strom Sailing Team emerge victorious   
Rolex Big Boat Series 2014 - Ready for another 50 years   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4   
2014 Rolex Swan Cup - Eleventh-hour victories   
Extreme Sailing Series - Kiwis clinch Act win in Istanbul + Video   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Two long races today for the J70 fleet   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Impressive to sail out of the Golden Gate   
Extreme Sailing Series - Istanbul delivers four days of great racing   
ISAF Sailing Worlds Santander - Day 3 images by Sail-World.com   
Extreme Sailing Series: Emirates Team NZ bounces back for series win   
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - Light winds and current test six classes   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT