Nov 18, 2012, 3:27 PM
Post #1 of 1
HARNESSING THE BEAST
AC72 configurations for San Francisco Bay
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With the cloud of death and destruction now hovering over the America's Cup and the exceedingly powerful AC72, let's assume for a moment the sailors will soon tame this beast of a boat. But for the four competing teams, their mission is complicated by the schedule. Taming won't be enough; they must have it fully trained.
The Louis Vuitton challenger series is in July and August, otherwise known as the "season of nuclear winds". For the challenging team lucky enough to win (or survive), they will advance to the more moderate winds of September for the Match. But the defender is not much better off; they will be training during 'nuclear' season.
Given the difference in San Francisco Bay wind strength from July through to September, can the same design work effectively in both realms?
"I think the challengers and the defender will need to think about developing boats that work well through the range of windspeeds," anticipates Pete Melvin, who is a member of the New Zealand design team. "Average wind speed will be higher in the July-August period, but you can still get windy days in September.
Since the protocol does state how competitors may substitute yachts between the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Match, or between different stages of each series, this could lead to the development of specific modes for the conditions.
"There is considerable debate as to how many measurement certificates will be allowed during a series, and the outcome of that debate will have a direct impact on how diverse your quiver of equipment will need to be," noted Melvin. "The AC72 Class Rule only allows one certificate at a time.
"The AC72 Class Rule also stipulates that you can only measure in one set of hulls, daggerboards, and wing on a certificate. This was done to reduce cost and complexity, and to promote the development of all-around gear rather than condition-specific gear.
"For both the LVC and the Match, the current proposal is to allow boats to have multiple pre-measured certificates. You would need to notify the measurement committee the evening before if you were going to change your configuration to a different certificate."
Time will tell if configuration changes become the result of performance decisions or death and destruction.