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

 

Sail-World.com : America's Cup: Brad Webb takes a breather after AC33

America's Cup: Brad Webb takes a breather after AC33

'USA-17 on her way to winning the 33rd America’s cup'    BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles Martin-Raget    Click Here to view large photo

Brad Webb is one member of America’s Cup defending team BMW Oracle Racing (the Team) who would be thrilled if the AC 34 is sailed in his hometown, as it should be. Webb recently presented the Team’s dog and pony show to a packed audience at the San Francisco Yacht Club.

His perspective on the Team and in particular the most recent edition of the America’s Cup is unique in that he is one of the longest standing sailors on the Team having been on board since its inception. Plus he’s had the experience of being bowman on possibly the most incredible racing machine ever built, USA 17. I’ve seen the presentation several times and still thrill to see the footage shot during the team’s AC33 campaign of the monster trimaran. I could watch it for hours and I’m sure this is what the team had in mind as they pulled together their AC34 multi-hull strategy – make it exciting to watch both on and especially off the water and the people will come, right?

Webb, a Kiwi, is currently one of the few US-based sailing team members on the Team, and conveniently, lives in San Jose, California, just 45 minutes from San Francisco. He’s been married to Karen for about five years, whom he met through the Team - Karen works for Oracle. As one of the guys in the trenches, Webb, 36, says that AC33 was the longest and one of the hardest of the five Cup campaigns he’s been involved with over the past 15 years, partly due to legal wrangling that went on which made it hard to focus on a goal, he said. The other part of it was being involved with the development and construction of 17.

'The uncertainty, not knowing the date which was a moving target, or what we’d be sailing on, the tools we’d need, the work we’d be doing - it changed many times. That was the hardest thing. Then, of course, was the boat. It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever sailed on and ever wish to sail on again,' said Webb.

Webb brought home hard just how little time the Team had to learn their positions on 17. Everything up until the Team and the boat arrived in Valencia was about making the boat go fast. It wasn’t until Valencia did they focus on details like trying to figure out how they were going to go around corners. 'We just didn’t have time for it. Everything was about trying a new sail, trying a new figuration, testing this, testing that. We had tried to put a day aside in San Diego to go out and race but it never happened.

USA-17, early stages of leg 1, Final race, 33rd America’s Cup -  © Richard Gladwell?nid=78133   Click Here to view large photo


We’d only made the decision once we left San Diego that we were going to go with fully furling headsails. Up to that point, we’d had hanked jibs, and were trying to figure out how we’d go round the top mark, drop the hanked jib and hoist the code zero and get all this done with just 11 guys. We were learning how to sail and race the boat right up until the last minute. When we finally went racing, we simplified a lot of our gear, cut down on crew numbers because we really had to get the boat around the course as efficiently as possible. We just needed to be faster than Alinghi – and we were!'

Just getting around the boat was incredibly hard work, with its 90 by 115 platform and 220-foot wing with an 8-meter extension. Dealing with this not only on a daily basis but having to move around it and figure out how to sail with it was a monumental task, Webb recalled.

33rd America’s Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - Day off 1 - Getting the yacht ready - Brad Webb -  BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles?nid=78133 Martin-Raget   Click Here to view large photo
'Sailing upwind we’d all be on the weather hull so get to the main hull to do any manoeuver we needed to go back up along the beams which was always a hairy little catwalk at the speeds we were doing. The gear we were used to deal with were all relatively small snaps, lines, shackles but on 17 the gear was big – swivels the size of your head and strops that are built to take 100 tons. You had to wrestle and drag things, like taking the halyard forward to hook up the sail to hoist - you’re pulling a halyard forward that’s 220 feet in the air, the windage on that was just incredible.'

Initially Webb tried to keep the equation between sailing the version 5 and the monster cat as close as he could but in the end he found he had to throw out that strategy mainly because of how heavy everything was and how hard that made everything. But, it was worth the thrill. 'Sailing anywhere from 20-30 feet off the water is pretty exhilarating,' said Webb. 'Out on the clew of the gennaker, I’m about 20-25 feet away from the boat on a halyard. At this point if the sheet were to blow I could get quite badly hurt. I’m not attached to the boat in any other way so I’d be flying out in no-man’s land.'

While there was never one moment where Webb had a full 'freak-out', nonetheless he was on edge all the time. He said, 'As an analogy, I was watching a documentary the other night about men going to war, and while this is nowhere like that ballpark, it struck me that when they returned home, part of their post traumatic stress disorder was that they’d been on edge for so long. That’s what it was like on that boat, from the second you docked out you were on edge – everyday we were going out and trying something different. We never really broke a lot but had a couple of near misses that would have been bad. It was that constant being on edge with the boat that was exhausting, especially the last few months of last year.'

But, as Webb has since discovered, Alinghi was having the same problems (Murray Jones and Piet van Nieuwenhuysen are now with BMW Oracle). 'You look over the fence and think, oh, they look sorted but after the fact, now that we have some of their guys on our team we know that they were spinning their wheels at times too.'

Nonetheless, sailing by computer is a different way to win a race and Webb’s grateful that the AC 72 means back to manual power, recalling one day not too long before the 33rd Cup when then main computer flooded and was out for three days, meaning, no sailing for three days. The 72 has been described as Alinghi 5 with 17s wing, and as Webb concurs, the big deal will be the wing.

'We didn’t even get close to fully optimizing the wing – it went on 17 early November 2009, we sailed it for just two months leading up to the Cup so in the grand scheme of America’s Cup development, it hasn’t had the exposure you would normally see in an Cup cycle. It’s going to be huge, not only for us and sure, we’ve a little bit of a head start on our understanding of it but the scope of learning about wings and how they work on a 72 foot cat is exciting. I think once everyone gets into it – and the other teams will catch up to where we were - the wing is the biggest difference to where we are heading with the Cup - the wing era will be huge, even in the smallest of fleets we’ll see the trickle down effect.'

Next part: Webb looks forward to AC 34

33rd America’s Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - Day off 1 - Getting the yacht ready - Brad Webb -  BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles?nid=78133 Martin-Raget   Click Here to view large photo




by Michelle Slade

  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=78133

8:00 AM Wed 15 Dec 2010 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:

29 Sep 2014  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's AC72 takes to the streets
27 Sep 2014  America's Cup: Then and now - Coutts on why Oracle won, and the Venue
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
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

The first eight days of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race have been filled with more excitement and tighter racing than anyone could have anticipated. Up until Saturday morning, Leg One has left the fleet with few tactical options and therefore has kept everyone tightly packed as one unit of seven boats. ... [more]  

As expected the third day of the 2014 La Torche PWA Grand Slam proved to be a quiet affair with very light winds throughout the day. After a chilly and overcast start, the sun eventually broke through to produce another beautiful afternoon in La Torche. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. The sun’s out. It’s warm – not too hot, but warm enough for just a tee shirt. Ian Walker is stood at the helm of his Emirati boat, generous Atlantic trade winds whistling past his ears. 'We’re going straight through,' he claims, confidently. 'What Doldrums? - they’re going to say. Azzam isn’t even going to slow down.' ... [more]  

At 1700 CET in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, 113 yachts had rounded Stromboli, the active volcano that marks the most northerly point of the course. Race leader on the water, Esimit Europa 2, was less than 20 miles from Favignana and preparing to turn south with 289 miles to go and is expected to finish the race in the early hours of Wednesday 22 October, which would be well outside the course record ... [more]  

It is with great pleasure that the Star Sailors League announces that two more top Brazilian sailors will be joining the fleet of 20 super-champions taking part in the Star Sailors League Finals 2014 being held for the second consecutive year at Nassau Yacht Club in the Bahamas between December 1st and 7th. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day Nine onboard Team Alvimedica. It’s hard to explain the complexity of the weather in this part of the world. No computer model or forecaster can accurately predict the winds because the air here is dry and warm, 23c now, and the typical barometric pressure gradients that generate them become very weak. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day Nine onboard Team SCA. We’re a boat on a mission: catch the fleet. And they’re getting closer by the mile. The first time I sailed past Cape Verde islands was in 2010 when I was helping deliver a catamaran from Gibraltar to Antigua, W.I. ... [more]  

Thailand bids for 2016 IODA ‘Optimist’ World Championships by Jordan Rumsby, Royal Varuna Yacht Club
Pattaya's Royal Varuna Yacht Club has submitted a bid to host the 2016 International Optimist Dinghy Association World Championships, offering the world's most talented junior sailing teams a chance to experience the steady wind, sunshine, smiles, great food, and family-friendly attractions of Thailand's top dinghy sailing destination ... [more]  

Photographer Ellen Hoke was on the water at the Farr 40 Worlds sailed from the St Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, and provided this second gallery of images from the Final Day - Day 4 Prizegiving ... [more]  

Bill Green - builder and sailor passes on by Malcolm McKeag, Scuttlebutt Europe, Lymington, England:
Bill Green, San Francisco-born sailor, Navy jet jockey (not a lot of people know that); US Coastguard; shrimp-boat hand (not a lot of people know that either); One Ton Cup winner and most latterly proprietor of Green Marine slipped quietly away from this life ... [more]  

Tom Burton (AUS) retained World #1 in the Laser after a tremendous fight back at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao where he picked up bronze. The Australia had a tough opening day, finishing down the pack in both races but as the week progressed he worked his way up and sealed bronze on the final day to keep hold of World #1. ... [more]  

Photographer Ellen Hoke was on the water at the Farr 40 Worlds sailed from the St Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, and provided this gallery of images from the Final Day - Day 4 ... [more]  

Photographer Ellen Hoke was on the water at the Farr 40 Worlds sailed from the St Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 ... [more]  

Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - A hard day's night by Media Royal Malta Yacht Club
Rolex Middle Sea Race - As high pressure moved in from the north, the area around Stromboli had virtually no gradient wind and for those yachts yet to reach Stromboli, a south flowing current has slowed proceedings even further. For the competitive offshore yacht racer, performing well in light wind is more difficult than blasting through a storm at top speed. ... [more]  

34th Student Yachting World Cup - France knew today its best day since the beginning of the competition. They spent the two races at the very first positions, even rivaling with the ultra-dominant English team. They showed today an astounding panache, and can now hope to improve their ranking before the end of the SYWoC. ... [more]  

The Chinese entry Donfeng Race Team, has lost her lead on Day 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race, with boats on the east and western side of the course threatening. Two hours before the most recent sked at 0640hrs UTC, Dongfeng was still being listed by Volvo Ocean Race as the leader. But Team Brunel is now listed as the leader, but on a time taken projection basis, Team Brunel is fifth. ... [more]  

Flying Dreams is a movie directed by the talented Elsa Blayau is an ode to ocean, water sports and femininity. Based on an original idea from Alex Udin, Elsa Blayau transformed the project to a complete story and brought it to reality with this realization. ... [more]  

The 70th running of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is living up to expectation with 98 high-calibre entries received so far, from Sean Langman’s 1932 built Maluka of Kermandie, the oldest and smallest boat at nine metres, to the super maxis. The most talked about boat though, is the Verdier Yacht Design and Vplp 100 footer, Comanche. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Blogs from the Boats - Leg 1, Day 8 plus Videos *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.nz/com
Several of the On Board Reporters aboard, provide their unique views of Leg 1, Day 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race - in text, images and video. Catch a birthday at sea on board Team Brunel, and unravel the fishing net with Team SCA Hear and see how the crews coped with the front that came through in the nigh ... [more]  

Shala Youngerman and her team from Southwestern Yacht Club won the 23rd annual Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge Sunday in this two-day fleet race regatta organized and sponsored by the Long Beach/Los Angeles Women’s Sailing Association and hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. ... [more]  

After three days of racing in the Valparaíso bay, the Santander team was crowned champion of the Off Valparaíso Race, first stage of the Soto 40 South American Tour that was held in the Yacht Club de Chile with the participation of eight boats. ... [more]  

Day two of the La Torche PWA Grand Slam saw the glorious golden sunshine continue together with the waves, but unfortunately the wind remained absent again. To keep the crowds entertained Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde) and birthday boy - Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde) - attempted a bit of wave tow-in with varying degrees of success, as Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) took control of the jet ski. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng consolidates lead on Day 8 *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
After cutting between the Cape Verde islands, separating from the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, Chinese entry, Dongfeng gained an initial significant lead, which they are in the process of consolidating. One routing option for the then race leader Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, gave the team the option of cutting inside the island group, they are close to the optimum course for Fernando off Brazil ... [more]  

RS:X Youth World Championships - All set for Clearwater action by RS:X Olympic Windsurfing Class Association
Mild, breezy weather, temperate Gulf of Mexico waters and wide bands of sugar white sand - this is the place where 2014 RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championship racing is about to start. 'Clearwater Beach is the perfect spot to play host to the young windsurfers gathering here from around the world for international competition', says Frank Chivas. ... [more]  

The first 24 hours of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has seen the fleet progress slowly up the eastern seaboard of Sicily towards the Strait of Messina. By 16.00 on day two, a mere ten per cent of the competition had passed through the Strait and started the leg to Stromboli, where they will turn west towards the Egadi Islands. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - If only it were that easy. Amazingly we did manage to replace the rudder and regain first position amongst the fleet however just hours afterwards, navigator Pascal Bidégorry was faced with an important strategic decision. ... [more]  

Ian Moore, navigator on Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino, is no stranger to the Rolex Middle Sea Race, this is his fourth and Ian was part of the winning crew on Bryon Ehrhart's TP52, Lucky in 2010. Ian describes the tactical nuances of the first night at sea. ... [more]  

Top videographer and photographer, John Navas, was on the water for the final day of the Farr 40 Worlds being sailed on San Francisco. ... [more]  

The brilliant conditions of last week’s opening race of the season were duplicated today when the Australian 18 Footers League’s Major A. Frizelle Trophy race was sailed in a 20–knot North East wind on Sydney Harbour. Current JJ Giltinan champion Gotta Love It 7 team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage showed why they are the world’s best team. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - The fleet has finally left the West African Coast. They are now in the trade winds, making the westerly course across the Atlantic Ocean to FernandoThey will find the Cape Verde Islands in the way and that will cause some issues of navigation. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - It was a light wind, big wave finish at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao as the medallists were decided across the six fleets competing on the waters of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - In life, timing is everything. And, after seven years in the Farr 40 class, the timing was right for New York financier Alex Roepers to achieve a long-held goal of winning the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. ... [more]  

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a report from a concerned friend at 10:30 p.m., Friday stating the two men had departed on a planned 20-minute trip, but had been gone for approximately two hours. The reporting source also stated that the men did not have radios or cell phones aboard. ... [more]  

2014 Off Valparaíso Race - Day 2
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Massive swell on day 1
Volvo Ocean Race: Welcome to Al's Ocean Cafe
Argo Group Gold Cup survives Hurricane Gonzalo
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng regains lead after incident packed Day 7 *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race: Dramatic video of Dongfeng rudder replacement
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica bounces back
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA expecting the expected + Video
Rolex Middle Sea Race - New record for Mediterranean classic
ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Medallists decided across six fleets
Volvo Ocean Race - Impressive turnaround for Dongfeng Race Team +Video
Volvo Ocean Race: Race closer than leaderboard suggests - Leg 1, Day 6
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng Race Team break rudder after collision
2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - Famous breeze frustrates
2014 Off Valparaíso Race - Day 1
Sunfish World Championship - Victory for Argentina's Francisco Renna
Volvo Ocean Race - Feeling the pressure six days in
Volvo Ocean Race - Alvimedica cautiously cruising down coast of Africa
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Brunel still within striking distance
Volvo Ocean Race - Testing times for Team SCA + Video
Beijing 2008 Olympic legacy lives on in Qingdao + Video   
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - A return nearly 20 years in the making   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Game on for remaining fleets   
Farr 40 Worlds: Day 2 Image and Video gallery *Feature   
Day 5 of the Chris Benz Lüderitz Speed Challenge: 4 more records!   
Volvo Ocean Race: Coastal racing at its best - Leg 1, Day 5   
Chris Poole new number one Open Match Racer in U.S.   
Rolex Farr 40 World Champs - Plenty leads as Struntje Light impresses   
2014 Soto 40 South American Tour - Back in action   
Volvo Ocean Race - Mail arrival brings excitement for Team SCA + Video   
Volvo Ocean Race - Jens Dolmer getting restless onboard Team Brunel   
Volvo Ocean Race - Too close for comfort as fleet pushes on + Video   
Foils or not? Explanations from IMOCA Class President Jean Kerhoas   
Ben Ainslie's Olympic Finn sails are up for auction   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica goes to school   
Volvo Ocean Race - Intensity level rises for Dongfeng Race Team   
China Cup Regatta - Olympic medallists and offshore legends to race   
St. Barth Cata Cup - Friendly US rivalry on the Island   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Tight and tactical racing + Video   
Farr 40 Worlds: Day 1 Image and Video gallery   


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