Boats for the America's Cup: sailing is the future now – sport


The boat was already sailing when the boat did not exist. Not really, but only as a hypothetical dataset in a simulation program that defended New Zealand for the future and the moment when its America's Cupper would actually leave the shipyard in Auckland. The sailors could learn on the computer, how the AC 75, so the type designation, would behave.

As far as is known, different wind conditions flowed into the virtual dry exercise, and the maneuvers were played out according to the same patterns that would later apply on board. The sailors had to know everything before. Because, as team boss Grant Dalton tells "Sail World", "this is a highly complex boat, and if we do not understand it, we'll be pretty dirty."

That seems to have worked well. A small video from the first water training with "Te Aihe", as the New Zealanders have baptized their futuristic bullet, shows them at high speed and extremely reliable over the Auckland Bay curves. Extreme yachts have always been for the America's Cup. But never before has the technical equipment been as sophisticated as at the upcoming 36th edition, which will take place in Auckland in 2021.

For the first time ever in the history of sailing boats go to the start, which have no righting moment and produce their stability only by speed. They would simply tilt to the side without electronic controls like a sheet of paper. It could be the most expensive miss in the 170-year history of the America's Cup. The reason for this is buried deep in this history, where the wounded superegos of former losers long seek revenge and only make things worse once they see their chance.

Where that leads, Oracle mogul Larry Ellison showed his legal feud against defending champion Alinghi. He succumbed in court the right to a duel for which his team could never have qualified athletically. The so-called Deed-of-poison duel, in which 2010 two incomparable multi-hull monsters competed against each other, prepares the leap into the era of high-speed racing. From then on, "flying" catamarans should determine the America's Cup.

New Zealanders bet on a hermaphrodite

The enormous boat size of initially 72 feet (AC72) halved the number of participants. The Italians also found the adventure too risky and withdrew in insult. In 2000, the Luna Rossa team with the money of the fashion group Prada had entered the AC circus and had always counted among the co-favorites. As soon as the upstart and software billionaire Ellison had been defeated, Luna Rossa announced his challenger ambitions and pressed for a return to monohulls.

The Italians should get monohulls, but different than they imagined. The hybrid 75-foot monster of the latest AC generation owes a hypocritical compromise. Because the New Zealanders did not want to fall behind the status of the wing technology as new rule guard. So they adapted the foils of the catamarans and planted them in a monohull concept. The AC 75 is a hermaphrodite designed to reconcile two sailing cultures.

When the first two models were presented at the beginning of September with the delay of half a year, there were also big differences. The New Zealanders rely on a narrow hull, whose bottom is curved down to provide as little as possible attack surface when placed on the water, the front section is somewhat conventional cut. The US team American Magic, on the other hand, favors "Defiant", a wide hull that creates more stability on the water but takes longer to make the transition to the flight phase. The flat underside is aerodynamically optimized and resembles a round washed pebble.

At the beginning of November Ineos Team UK followed with "Britannia" and Luna Rossa. And again, the design drafts reveals different priorities: While the English follow skipper Ben Ainsle the path of the Americans, as much volume in the width and provide a thick bead on the bow for the lift provide Luna Rossa builds like the kiwis on a narrow hull, that rejuvenates downwards. The British and Americans, after many hours of training, which they previously completed on miniaturized versions, are already confident that they have stable trajectories.

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