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

9:00 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:

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
03 Apr 2014  34th America's Cup: A Match of three weeks - Part 3 - Under the Pump
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World







































International Moth Worlds: Rashley ahead as Aussies close in by Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com,




















International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video by Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com,




Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,




Red Bull 49erFX: First look at the Olympic sailing venue at Rio
Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam - Classic conditions on day 3
NYYC Race Week Part II images by Rolex/Daniel Forster
Drowning or electric shock? What you need to know to help save a life
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 1
Six Metre European Championship - Blazing sunshine on opening day
National Sailing Hall of Fame to present Lifetime Achievement Award
International Moth Worlds: Greenhalgh and Rashley tied at the top
PWA Pozo World Cup - Fantastic finale determines winners
Six Metre Class British Open Championship - Llanoria and Valhalla win
Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA holds foiling camp at Wangi SC
Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi OR completes double Atlantic crossing
Volvo Ocean Race: Team SCA has a 'pull through day' off the Canaries
No tiller sailing - how to steer using just the sails + Video
International Moth Worlds: Three bullets in a row for Greenhalgh
U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship - Sophia Reineke wins
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 0 Opening
Fuerteventura World Cup - Slalom action highlights day 2
2014 Governor's Cup - Sam Gilmour of RFBYC victorious again
Farr 40 West Coast Champ - Skipper Alberto Rossi leads Enfant Terrible   
Flying Dutchman World Championships - Magyars are the Masters   
Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek   
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica pushing towards Southampton   
NYYC Race Week - Saving the best for last   
VX One North American Championship - Chris Alexander commands   
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Waiting game on Day 3   
International Moth Worlds: Thunderstorms delay racing on Day 1   
Fuerteventura World Cup - Impressive tricks on day 1   
2014 Governor's Cup - Two former winners in the finals   
America's Cup: Iain Murray explains reasons for Australian withdrawal *Feature   
Wilson and Roble remain number one match racers in U.S.   
2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Set to start   
PWA Pozo World Cup - Moreno twins dominate home spot   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Record breaking regatta in Tavira + Video   
Melges 32 European Championship - Robertissima remains out front   
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Italians take one-point lead   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi   
New York Yacht Club Race Week - Marstrom 32 fleet off to anxious start   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Max Ranchi   


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