Double Olympic medalist and long time US and NZL America's Cup crew, skipper and coach, Rod Davis, reflects on a typical sailing day
Coach Rod Davis provides some answer to a question he’s often asked – 'what do you do out there all day?'
When Emirates Team New Zealand goes sailing on the AC72 people might think we just rip around all day up on foils, trying to set a new speed record or outrun our poor, and very faithful, chase boat drivers.
We don’t, well not any more. We did for a little while, but we needed to get on with a programme to win the America’s Cup.
There is no typical day when we’re sailing the big cat. Each time we go out, we chip away at the huge list of things we need to learn.
Here’s a very brief précis of the other day’s programme:
Wing in at 6:30, boat in the water at 7:00, off the dock 8:30 (after boat checks). Forecast was for 10-12 knots of wind.
First on the 'to learn' list: check a new number two jib, a development of an earlier sail. Jibs are numbered just like any other boat, one being the biggest and four being the smallest. I’m not sure of the logic there.
Next sail on the list was the new second-generation 'Code Zero'. The AC72, like the AC45, has two downwind sails. A gennaker for lighter winds that goes way back, overlapping the wing and a code 0 that looks like a mast-head jib in profile which is used in stronger downwind conditions.
Speed testing followed. Foiling vs non-foiling using all possible settings to make each configuration work to the maxim of its potential.
The 72 covers a lot of miles in an hour of this kind of work, and we get a long way from home. The downhill runway is put to good use with up-wind sailing back into the gulf.
Then it’s time for some pre-starts. From our experience with the AC45 we know there is a lot on in the pre-start…. deploy the gennaker for the entry, furl it for the dial up (that seems to happen more often than not) then head to wind, bear off, another gennaker deploy and furl in the gybe, for the final run to the start line with the all-important time on distance work.
All of the above happens in just two minutes. It’s an understatement to say we’ve got a lot on.
Back at the dock, the boat is lifted from the water and packed away. After debriefing the day on what we learned and how to do it better next time some of us get out of the office by 6pm.
And the next day we have the same timing with a wing lift at 6:30 am….. forever chipping away on the to-learn list.
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by Rod Davis
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2:12 AM Thu 1 Nov 2012GMT
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