Please select your home edition
C-Tech Emirates

Louis Vuitton Cup-The Demolition Derby continues in San Francisco

by Bob Fisher on 19 Aug 2013
Team New Zealand with shore crew on board to figure out what happened in race number two at the Americas Cup Louis Vuitton Finale on August 18, 2013 in San Francisco, California. SW

As if the damage inflicted to the boats on the opening day of this possible 13-race series to decide the challenger for the 34th America’s Cup was not bad enough, the decimation continued on the second day.

This time, the biggest sufferer was Emirates Team New Zealand, generally regarded as the bullet-proof boat.

The fragility of the AC-72s arises from the complexity of the operating systems – it is the delicate balance between form and function on the one hand and minimum weight on the other. All parts have to be strong enough to be able to deal with extremes well beyond the norm, but unnecessary weight on a racing multihull is an anathema.

Consequently there will be failures, and generally they will result in the affected boat having to pull out of the race. With two races each day, any failure could be doubly punitive. On the opening day, Luna Rossa was saved from having to claim her one-and-only lay day when the wind over the course exceeded the 21-knot limit.

same was true for the Kiwis on day two, which was just as well for them. There were many more than the nine men of the crew on board the boat, out near the Golden Gate Bridge, when Race Director Iain Murray announced that once more the wind strength exceeded the limit – a 2.7 knot ebb tide did not help either as that has to be added as the important factor is the apparent wind.

The race started normally with Chris Draper in Luna Rossa attempting to gain a 'hook' to leeward of Emirates Team New Zealand. But Barker was sharp enough to repulse this and aimed for the line, arriving marginally ahead of the Italians. The gap between them at the first mark was four seconds – two boat’s lengths.

Downwind, ETNZ drew away to be 23 seconds in front at the second gate. At the end of the next leg, as she approached the windward mark, aided by the strong ebb tide, ETNZ slowed to a stop – the crew had lost the use of the hydraulics that control the daggerboards and foils due to an electronic failure in the system. It was terminal for the Kiwis, and Luna Rossa was soon passing them to leeward and rounding Mark 3.

With a support boat alongside and several of the maintenance crew climbing on to the trampoline to examine the problem, there was no alternative for Barker but to retire from the race and allow Draper and the Luna Rossa crew to finish the race, claim a point and draw level 1 – 1 for the series. It was the first race win in a Louis Vuitton Cup final for this team since 2000.

Earlier in the day, the gremlins struck the defender. As the two Oracle Team USA boats were manoeuvring in the pre-start of their practice race, the port rudder of Ben Ainslie’s boat (the elder of the two) snapped off immediately below the hull. His race was over. The rudder had suffered damage the previous day when Ainslie had snagged the rode of a navigation mark when attempting to avoid a spectator boat. 'It was either the boat or the buoy,' joked Ainslie, 'I think I made the right choice.'

The seemingly superficial damage was repaired overnight and repainted, but no one had suspected the deeper damage. The breakage occurred when the skipper yanked the rudder hard to bear away to go for the start line.

Insun - AC ProgramZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82Ancasta Botin Fast40 660x82

Related Articles

A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun
An interview with Allan McLean about the 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Allan McLean, the Marion to Bermuda Race’s executive director, to learn more about this biennial event. The 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race is set to kick off on Friday, June 9, so I caught up with Allan McLean, the race’s executive director, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the special America’s Cup experience that awaits Marion to Bermuda sailors upon reaching the Onion Patch.
Posted on 5 Jun
An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr