Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AC-33: USA-17 and the Lamborghini

The 33rd America's Cup was clearly an extravagant way for two billionaires to sort out their differences. The boats they came up with are a million miles from what you and I sail, unless you are a Silicon Valley billionaire.

Take that wing thing - how exactly do you reef it? Lets say the weather picks up and it's getting a bit hairy what's the plan exactly? Go aloft with a screwdriver and lower a segment or two down to the deck only to find there isn't one?

But at the same time it was awesome, to see those giant multi-hulls absolutely scream along at speeds usually above 20 knots and sometimes 30 when the real wind speed was a fraction of that.

To me it felt a bit like a super car. A Lamborghini is absolutely useless as a family wagon, no good for the weekly shop, and redundant in the traffic jams of central London.

But as a symbol of what can be done, how form and function can be welded together into a beautiful whole, move with power and grace, effortlessly, it works.

And I felt that about BMW Oracle's USA-17. It appealed to the inner space cadet nerd, who thrilled at how each of the wing components could be independently adjusted, to Jimmy Spithill's back-pack powered head up display sun-glasses.

It brought out the inner eight year old who's into something that looks so cool.

But please BMW Oracle, do not use the phrase "Mission Accomplished" - it brings back a lot of bad memories.


Tillerman said...

How do you reef the wing? Well the camber is adjustable so you can flatten it of course. But I think I also heard, when Gary Jobson and Randy Smythe were rambling on trying to fill airtime during a typically uneventful stretch of broadcast, that the top of the wing can be configured to have "negative lift" so that you can have a righting moment that counteracts the heeling moment of the lower part of the wing. Or maybe I dozed off and just dreamed that bit?

Greg and Kris said...

Well said, JP. :)

JP said...

That sounds like a good plan Tillerman, but I can't quite get my head around how it would work in practice - maybe you could give a demo sometime?

For example, you could add a wing to that Laser of yours and head out in a F8.

There must be a good blog post there somewhere ;)

Thanks G&K :)

O Docker said...

The explanation is in your post title, JP.

The 'wing' on the Lambo gives negative lift.

I think it compensates for the reduced weight of the driver's wallet.

JP said...

I expect their owners are rich enough not to worry about about things like wallets!

"One get's one's people to arrange all of that"