The fallout from AC33 has been tremendous. Discussion has focused on the original intentions of the DoG and the America’s Cup in general. Of course, the original trophy race, before it was called the America’s Cup, was a distance race. Since, however, this mega budget regatta has turned into a match race event often times won by the best designed yacht. The split of thought now is whether it is more a match race or design race.
Why has this happened? The last AC had two starkly different designs racing the DoG course. Many feel this was strictly a design contest and there was no prestart action.
Let’s look at race one: Holy crap a dial-up! The problem after the dial-up was USA17 stalled and couldn’t get the jib into play because they had a bobstay for the wing. Otherwise, they might have cracked off and followed Alinghi for control. Or they could have went the other way for starboard advantage. It could have been an intense start! After the start there was a left shift which would have given any boat a nice lead. The problem during the shift is that Alinghi never attacked. When they saw USA 17 starting to get inside, they just let them go by. Is that the boat’s fault or the team? Alinghi was not sailed well either, which definately has something to do with it.
Race Two: Alinghi was late getting out of the H and late getting into the start box. This was actually pretty pathetic at this level of racing. Since Alinghi was late, USA 17 was sailed in front of them easily. No dial-up like race one. This allowed USA to time the start and go for it. If Alinghi had any idea about timing, they would have been in a better position as well. They were in position to do a block, but they were early and had to slow down, which gave Spithill the ‘hook.’ Alinghi did a downspeed tack and off they slowly went to what was ‘maybe’ the side they wanted.
After a loose cover by USA, Alinghi hooked up in pressure and a nice right shift. Classic tack move and USA had to lead to the left side. In another tactical debacle, on the port layline Alinghi sailed beyond USA and didn’t attack whatsoever. There is no way they didn’t know the first boat to the windward mark had an incredible advantage with almost no passing lanes in the next two legs. In that move, they not only handed USA the win on a platinum platter, but they did an incredible amount of damage to multis as match racing platforms.
If they had somehow gotten to the top mark in the lead the rest of the race could have been amazing. Of course, USA was more powerful on the reach, but Alinghi could have defended the whole way! We wouldn’t have had time to run our Irish soundbites on our coverage. As the day faded, just a few kilometers from the finish, there was a huge right shift again, which in the end might have made the difference in the race.
Am I blaming Alinghi for making AC33 known as a design race and not a match race? Well, a little. What I really think is two races is not enough data to make a conclusion. I’ve seen plenty of match races in monos that were absolutely boring. One boat gets ahead and the other takes a flyer with the leading boat doing a very loose cover and ends up winning by minutes. At least when the AC33 yachts had a ton of separation they were still fun to watch fly through the water. Two races is not enough to make a determination. Above that, these multis are more extreme than what mutual consent would bring.
Data is the problem here. In the past the ‘Little America’s Cup’ on C-cats has been a design contest, and coverage has been poor. There is not enough data to point to and go, “there, look at that close match racing.” There is also The International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (ICCT), which was on C-class but recently on Javelin 2 cats. The competitors say it was excellent match racing, but there is still nothing to point to definitively. There was also the recent event in Extreme 40s, but the video for that isn’t enough either.
What multis need is more data. We need to have some match race regattas soon, so the sailing world, including the teams involved in the next AC, can make a determination. The decision regarding the next AC yacht will be made over the next few months, so this has to happen pretty quickly. The interest is there, from yachties who want to prove multis can’t do the ‘dance,’ to those who want an exciting and NEW AC 34. All cats, from A-cats to Extreme 40s, in my opinion, should be biting to do this! Let’s rock it!
I have a new story up on Sailing Anarchy. Scroll down a few stories.
Even though Alinghi got rocked, they have some pretty hot followers. My quest tomorrow morning before racing is to interview as many hotties as possible because I’ve been trapped in the black box of journalism.
I have met an amazing number of incredible designers and engineers during this saga, and we get to meet the VPLP heads (Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prevost). They have designed yachts such as USA 17, Groupama 3, which is racing for the Jules Verne Trophy, as well as the transatlantic record holder, Banque Populaire. Jimmy Spithill will be with us on Monday as well! Even though the race might be over tomorrow, the coverage for SA doesn’t stop.
I’m stoked about bringing the race to all of my friends out there. I can’t believe I’m doing this kind of work right now. After being immersed in the AC atmosphere I’ll tell you this: I’m not the yachtclub pretender. I’m not the old money or old guard. I’m not the guy rubbing silk elbows with the pinky lifters and butler whippers. I don’t care about all of the inner workings of yachties and all the trashtalk and roumors that go along with it.
I’m an average guy that happens to know a shitload about racing multihulls, and actually sailing in general. That’s how I’m gonna bring it tomorrow. I won’t ramble on about myself and my accomplishments, only experiences (I will ramble, I mean it’s friggin three straight hours). I won’t treat the listeners like idiots, dumbing it down like they don’t understand what I could possibly be talking about. I won’t say I’m as fast as Glenn Ashby on an A-cat. I won’t be a monotone know-it-all that doesn’t even understand what’s happening on the course. I’ll bring it like Spicolli with a brain and an attitude, like I always have. My recommendation is bring the live video stream up, mute the old school, and bring up the On The Water Anarchy and turn up the volume. Finally, after 200 emails and 50 chat requests, Genny’s finally doing the burlesque Gill modeling we’ve all been waiting for!
The Sailing Anarchy OTW Crew has been driving the media since we arrived, having fun and presenting interesting views like Genny’s interview with Marcus Young (Part 1, Part 2) (GGYC Commodore) and all the Wing Cocktail Hours. Although the lack of sailing puts this media in the forefront, it should only be an addition to the racing. Quite honestly, the fact that they didn’t go out to race in conditions like these is pretty pathetic:
Check out my America’s Cup 33 Gallery for my personal pics. I also have video of the crew and more that I’ll hopefully be able to edit soon.
We can’t do the Cocktail Hour tonight because it’s 40 degrees and it’s supposed to be blowing tits tonight. Word is, USA17 is going out tomorrow no matter what. We’ll be there to cover any sailing whatsoever LIVE, whether racing or practicing. If the racing is called and 17 is ripping it up, the PRO will look worse than he already does (not that EB cares).
Really, I’m tired of hearing things like Alinghi will break up into pieces if it flips (Ed Baird) or that more than 1 meter waves are dangerous for these boats (Brad Butterworth). Genny’s interview with Marcus Young and the Cocktail Hour with the wing designers, not to mention the actually sailing in 20+ shows that USA 17 can take it. I want to be more balanced, but no racing in great conditions has pissed me off. I wonder what other people here think about that. I hope to find some Alinghi supporters to provide another view for everything, from Russell’s boot from the owner’s meeting, which has been spun more than my clothes in the Spanish washer I can’t figure out, to the lack of what everyone is in Valencia for………racing. We’ll be switching gears to find out the word on the street and load the forums with interviews and updates.
We did finally got some sleep last night. This reporting thing is mentally harder than racing. It is full on whether in front of the camera or thinking about what the hell to write. Tonight, we’re going to the bar to meet SA followers, including MB (whom I really want to thank), and it’ll be fun to knock back a few and get their take on this boring ass event.