Friday, February 12, 2010

AC-33 Race 1

What a great race! I was at home "writing" but to be honest not much got done, as glued to the computer.

There was a bit of waiting for conditions to be right and then the pre-start gun went on the 33rd America's cup.

And immediately there was drama with a port vs starboard protest followed by the big BMW Oracle trimaran stalling on the wrong side of the start line.

Alinghi grabbed the moment and was first to cross, opening up a 600 m lead. But it didn't last, as BMW Oracle recovered and went storming in pursuit.

All too often it was the cat that had both hulls on the water while the tri was flying. BMW Oracle was sailing higher and faster and the Swiss's lead vanished. From about a third of the way up the way to the upwind mark the American boat took the lead and never seemed to be in any danger.

One clear difference was the ability of the solid sail or wing to change it shape. This pic shows the sharp angle between leading and trailing bits of the wing, here on the downwind leg:

For comparison, Alinghi's soft sail was pulled straight - for both upwind and downwind legs:

Alinghi tried altering the balance by loading or dumping water, but it didn't help:

But the finishing line was in sight for BMW Oracle, and James Spithill just had to keep calm and keep his hat on.

So BMW Oracle got there first, a well deserved win, and the wing certainly showing its strengths both upwind and downwind.

At the end Alinghi did it's 270 degree turn but seemed to do it on the wrong side of the line and hence had to go back and cross the line again.

That's one up for the USA, with the next race on Sunday.


Turinas said...

Great post JP. Very interesting analysis

JP said...

Thanks Adam, I'm sure you like me had a great time watching that race.

Pat said...

I never understood what was up with Cheesezilla on port tack or not seeming to know where to do penalty turns. What is with that?

verification word: unknon
(for the clueless)