America's Cup yachting discussion

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Bobby Jr, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I am surprised no-one has discussed this here yet. Some very interesting developments in yacht design in this cup with the foiling catamarans.

    They're at the Louis Vuitton Cup finals stage at the moment with Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa (Italy) fighting it out to see who will race cup-holders Oracle Team USA for the cup.

    The official youtube channel is here for races and practice footage: http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericasCup/videos

    There have been already been some scandals typical of America's Cup competitions including Oracle's ongoing troubles with revelations they modified their one-design boats in a lead-up series - i.e. cheated in the worst possible way in a series where all the boats are required to have identical specs. That case is still be heard by the governing court for yachting (called the International Jury).
     
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  2. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    #2
  3. akamc

    akamc New User

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    That's an awesome vid. The AC72 cats are truly impressive to watch. Have you had a chance to see them sail live in the Bay?
     
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  4. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    No, I'm not in the US. I've seen cats racing before, just not full foiling cats.

    These ones can do foil to foil gybes even - pioneered by the NZ team and now the other have caught up. A good example of it here .
     
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  5. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    How long has America's Cup been a cat race? :neutral:

    Does the Italian team still take smoke breaks between tacks?

    I'm rooting for Dennis Conner.
     
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  6. akamc

    akamc New User

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    Conner, the first guy who managed to lose (but to be fair, also win back) the Cup? You must be from San Diego or Australia!
    Ted Turner was so much more colorful...

    Conner was actually the first one who snuck the AC into the cat era with that weird lopsided domination of his 60' Stars & Stripes cat against Michael Fay's giant 90' monohull sloop in 1988...

    This year, it looks like Team New Zealand should handily beat Luna Rossa in the Louis Vuitton challenge and then they should have an excellent shot against Oracle.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Those foil cat/tri's can go up into the 40's, given smooth water and consistent 20 knot breezes.
    Last upper wind limit on ANY mark is 23 knots, or 25mph. They tend to get sketchy with an ebb tide, rolling wind swells, and more than 25mph winds.
    Crissy regularly get's wind in that upper range, and after 3PM, usually stronger.
    There's a vid out of one of the foil cats walking by the best downwind kitesurfer in the world, by maybe 5 mph.
    One on one racing is great for the hard core sailing fans, but disasterous for pulling in the general public's attendance. Attendance is lower than 60% of anticipated.
    The whole shebang is down to 3 boats TOTAL. Is that even worth watching?
    And while some conservative estimates of boat coast run around 15 mil, in reality, it's closer to THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS per boat and the support needed to keep them sailing over the course of the summer.
    What a WASTE!
    CrissyFields is about 11 miles from where I'm typing this from.
     
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  8. akamc

    akamc New User

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    There's no real economic or social justification for it, just like Formula One, horse racing, or professional tennis.

    It is a playground for the super-rich and corporate sponsors. However, it has become quite a show involving huge egos (Larry Ellison promotes tennis too), topnotch talent (the boat designers, world-class skippers and crews), high technology (materials, fluid dynamics, real-time computing), courtroom drama, real danger (one death this year already), old traditions dating back to Queen Victoria, and national pride (where else could a small country like New Zealand be competitive against a US juggernaut, rugby excepted?)

    If you have never sailed or hung on a harness of a cat flying a hull, it might be hard to understand the attraction. For better or worse, this is an ultra elitist competition unlikely to ever be popular with the general public. It would be difficult to communicate the thrill of it, live or on TV.
     
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  9. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    47.18 knots today from Team NZ. And that was when they were already winning comfortably. 50 knots in the final is looking realistic now. Amazing stuff.

    The wind limits now are only 20knots and 22 for the final (they also factor in the tide) - if they top those numbers for an average of 5 mins the race is postponed or something to that effect. They've already missed a few races because of it.

    The defender basically thought they would have challengers lining up - promising at least 12 I think. They underestimated the effort and limited global know-how for designing these sort of yachts so ended up with 2 full challengers and one half-baked one (Artemis Racing).

    To make things worse, during an earlier protest about some safety-related design rule changes (which would have, in a round about way, also helped Oracle's boat development) Luna Rossa simply didn't show up to some races - meaning one boat raced the course by itself. That perplexed spectators I'm sure. :lol: When you add in that Artemis crashed their first boat so didn't even have one to use until the round robin series was well underway it made it a bit of a farce.

    Two really :p And they wont race until 7 Sept. Hopefully there will be some racing worth watching then.

    Oracle are actually supposed to have spent about $200m (that's just the sailing team - nothing to do with organising the cup) and TNZ/Luna Rossa about $100m each.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
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  10. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Of course there are economic reasons - primarily to make money out of the event as entertainment. Each sponsor involved hopes to leverage more value from the association by way of marketing/branding/perception than it costs them to be involved. That's why these organisations are so keen to front up with money in most cases - the most perfect economic reason imaginable*.

    (* not that it always pans out... winners obviously gain more than the others since they get to hold the next event)
     
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  11. MAXXply

    MAXXply Hall of Fame

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    I am truly shocked to see the kinds of vessels that take part in The America's Cup these days. It seems all quite perverse and ridiculous seeing the high-tech flotillas out there on the water, looking like futuristic oversized jet-skis or something. Admittedly I still think of an America's Cup yacht as a relatively modest fibreglass boat with a winged keel, or something like that, circa 1983.

    I just picture guys like Alan Bond, John Bertrand (with Newk-style mustache) and of course, Big Bad Dennis Conner.

    As others have alluded, the competition is, to ordinary people, a sporting irrelevance and merely a marketing platform for upscale brands. Less accessible than Formula One, and in the same basket as polo.
     
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  12. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I reckon seeing them push the boundaries of yachting is very impressive. It may be a perverse cost but put into perspective the money these teams spent over a 2 year period with 100 plus employees and using many more contractors to design build, test and transport their boats plus running their campaign in San Fran is less money than the top 6 or 7 Nike sponsored athletes get paid every year.

    The first fibreglass boat came along in 1987 when the NZ team tried it and were famously called cheaters by Dennis Connor - he was a character, you have to give him that much. It's amazing just how young the composite world is when you think about it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
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  13. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    Winged keel? Blasphemy!
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Traditionalist like I am, I was against foil cat/tris in the beginning, and still am.
    Regular tri/cats can sail from Spain to Africa and AVERAGE 33 knots in the open Atlantic Ocean. That seems fast enough to me.
    The foils and the experimenting, developing, and testing alone cost somewhere near 5-10 million, and is still somewhat a secret.
    For that, some guy named ARNESON, on a twin motored RollsRoyce engine, can go well into the 160's in miles per hour.
     
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  15. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    The challenger series wrapped up pretty comfortably 7-1 by NZ.

    Now, a short wait to see how badly Oracle are punished for cheating multiple times in the lead-up series.
     
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  16. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Oracle found guilty of gross misconduct... they lose a couple of team-members including a key sailor, trimmer Dirk de Ridder, and start the cup on -2 points (i.e. their first 2 race wins wont count).

    It kicks off this Saturday mid-morning San Fran time.
     
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  17. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    America's Cup begins in about 8 hours... 1.15pm Saturday in San Francisco.

    Two races will be run on day 1, an hour apart.
     
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  18. akamc

    akamc New User

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    It looks like the NZ boat is intrinsically quicker and that its crew is maneuvering more efficiently as well. With the additional 2 point advantage to start with, I think that the next AC will be held in NZ...
     
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  19. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I think each boat will have an optimum wind range and this will differ for each boat.

    Oracle were very good in race 4 today and still only just managed to pip NZ. NZ was behind and Oracle did well to pin them behind and not give them any space to work with. Even within the narrow course the ideal sailing corridor is small so you wont see boats doing huge splits like you used to in monohulls sailing out on more open water.
     
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  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Looking pretty grim for the US
     
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  21. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    That was a shellacking upwind today. To be overhauled from a lead at the mark to being over a minute behind at the next mark is surprising. The NZ boat was really in its sweet spot in those wing conditions even if they also benefited from an error by Oracle, they were simply too quick today.

    It will be interesting to see how how each team handles a day which is right at lower end of the wind range which we're yet to see.
     
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  22. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I'm afraid it's all just a bit pedestrian these days, I find myself hankering back to days of John Bertrand and the mighty winged keel magnificence of the 12 metre Australia II

    (if you're going to break a winning streak, that's the way you want to do it!)
     
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  23. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    The America's Cup (in recent memory) is more about the courtroom than the course...
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yesterday (Wed) and today look like wind minimum days, foggy, cloudy, winds barely breaking 15 mph, 13 knots.
    Wing trimmer was DQ'd, so his replacment keeps making rookie mistakes.
    NZ will plane thru EVERY jibe and 95% of tacks, even at 12 knot windspeeds.
    Oracle won't.
    Boat speed is similar, but acceleration after a blow mark rounding takes almost 1/3 reach to reach top speed again, losing out well over 10 seconds.
    NZ can only lose if they are tanking it, for the benefit of the race organizers.
    In question, some of the trimmers and the tactician for Oracle.
     
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  25. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    The wing trimmer they are using, Kyle Langford, has almost as much time on these boats at Dirk de Ridder did. He might be young but he's no newby as people are subtly suggesting. I doubt Langford's performance would have made even half a percent difference to the boat - an infinitesimal amount compared to the hull design, the non self-tacking jib and team-work/coordination with regards to their slower tacks.

    Race 5 tactician Joe Kostecki's dumping seems like it was in vain. The grass-roots saying about tacticians is that they always look like geniuses when they're on a quicker boat - and vice versa. Kostecki may have made the call to do a foiling tack the the bottom mark in race 5 but he didn't make them mess it up.

    As today's races showed, tactical error or not, they're losing more than a minute to NZ upwind through an inherent speed disparity. They moded their boat for downwind speed in light airs but the way the races have gone the upwing leg - which accounts for about 40% of the race time - is where the biggest gains are to be made also.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
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  26. Midaso240

    Midaso240 Hall of Fame

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    6 to -1. No idea why they bothered increasing it to best of 17,just extends the misery for Oracle
     
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  27. Bobby Jr

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    They didn't. It was always planned as a first to 9 races series. They did that because of the nature of the races being so short for improved TV/live viewing (30 mins compared to about 90-110 at some previous cups).
     
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  28. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    #28
  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Tactics a little better on Sat, huh?
    Tactician got some time to meld with crew and skipper.
    Winds were light when Oracle won, and the narrower hull should be favored with ebb's coming up, and new tactics to PLANE thru all tacks and jibes.
    That quick roll tack by NZ was desperation, trying to both avoid and lead Oracle, and would have worked, maybe, if the main didn't stick.
     
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  30. Bobby Jr

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    Tactics were definitely better but the wind was not light at all. In fact their win in race 8 was the windiest conditions the regatta had seen up to that point. The second race of the day was called off half way through as the wind limits had been topped.

    Planing through tacks is nothing new. NZ has been doing it for a month. It's more like the higher wind conditions allow Oracle to achieve the same despite their hulls. Their smaller volume hulls don't seem to get as bogged down during the tack as they do in lighter winds. The crossover point for wach team wind-wise is quite narrow. In 12-18 knot range NZ sailed away from Oracle upwind but in 20-22 Oracle are looking just a tad stronger.

    Planing gybes? You mean foiling gybes I assume?

    It was'nt really desperate tack, they were tacking in front of Oracle as match racing tactics say you should when you're leading (to force the other boat to tack away) but they messed it up. The wing didn't pop to the other side as it should because they lacked hydraulic pressure. You can hear the wing trimmer calling "hydro" repeatedly so the grinders would crank up enough pressure up pop the wing thought centre.

    Todays races were split one a piece. It's starting to look really difficult for Oracle to win 8 races before NZ wins 2.
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sat's race, 17 knots. That's LIGHT wind at CrissyFields. Barely any whitecaps.
    "Main didn't stick".... you know what a main is and the hydraulics STUCK. Hydro crew wasn't expecting a quick tack to force Oracle into a tack, and therefore weren't ready, which means a DESPERATION tack by NZ at the time.
    If you know anything about boats, PLANING here refers to staying up on the wing, and DISPLACEMENT mode is what cat/tri hull does when the wing isn't lifting the hull (s) clear of the water.
     
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  32. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    Errr, nope...
    Displacement mode is what happens when there is no enough power/speed for the hull to ride the own wave, i.e. up to the theoretical hull speed. Water is pushed around and under the hull, as opposed of the hull gliding on the surface.
    Hull can plain on itself without the help of the foil. So, word "plaining" can be used as traditional plaining of the hull, or plaining on the foil, more precisely described as "foiling".
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    This case is weird, because we're talking about a FOIL raising the entire HULL out of the water, one scenario, or parts or the whole hull displacing thru the water, the no so good scenario.
    Cat hulls don't plane, because they drive thru the water surface, and not atop, causing more waterline drag.
    Oracle had problems maintaining a foil on all tacks and even some jibes. Losing speed as the main hulls hit is not a problem, but the acceleration needed to get back up to NZ's speed IS a huge problem. Deal with the problem BEFORE it happens.
    Oracle should do better now that it's ebb tide week, rougher water favors the narrower hull.
     
    #33
  34. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    Yes, if you are sailing a H16... Good cats' hulls do plane. AC72 are good cats.

    I mostly agree with you on the tactical aspects, though.
     
    #34
  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hobie 16/18's displace at maybe 22 mph max, when fully powered in flat water.
    Slowest planing windsurfer rolls right by at 27 mph, the faster guys like me easily 7 mph faster than the FASTEST Hobie teams, and even the fastest Aussie18's on a beam reach.
    AC-72's might hit whatever 50's the TV announcers are hyping, but in reality, as seen on the vid between an AC and JohnnyHeineken on his quad finned kiteboard, really closer to 32mph on a broad reach, since Johnny often claims he only really goes around 27 mph.
    This is not speed trials, where the fastest kiteboarder goes 59 mph and the fastest windsurfer around 58mph, while some one way speed trials cat boats hit into the lowest 60's, then self destruct.
    Yes, AC's go faster than Hobie16's on all points of sail, but they need the foil to get the speeds, and in hull down mode, can barely go over 20 mph. You see this on Oracle tacks, when the boat is going 25 into the tack, the hull skims the water, and Oracle slows down to a STANDSTILL, maybe 10 mph.
     
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  36. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Is there lots of hot yating girls out there ? any pictures ?
     
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hot yachting old ladies, yes.
    Hotties, except for the Bud girls and Hooter's, maybe fewer.
     
    #37
  38. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    It was not 17 knots. They were about 1 knot under the cancellation cap (23 knots +/- tidal influence of up to 2 knots) in the first race and hit the cancellation cap in the second half way around the course.

    Marginal difference between a quick tack and a desperate tack. They were planning to tack there but misjudged the timing and weren't set - the grinders weren't up to speed which is a matter of 2-3 seconds timing.

    Sorry, you're missing a step here (as also mentioned by BlueB above). I've sailed on cats, foil-assist or not, hundreds of times. These boats have displacement, planing and foiling modes. NZ makes use of the flat underside ahead of their daggerboards (see this pic for visual here) to plane long before they have enough speed to get up on the foils. Oracle doesn't have the volume nor shape to achieve the same during the lower speeds mid-tack in the lower to mid wind ranges and so spend more of their time ploughing. Both boats have learned to compensate by partially using their foil to keep the boat higher (leeward hull) in the water when tacking. As the wind speeds increase both can keep more speed and get more foil assist through the entire tack which starts to negate some of the hull-related differences (see here for tacking speed comparisons from the mid-wind range link).
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
    #38
  39. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    The data shows otherwise - it is a huge problem. Touching down in a gybe costs roughly 2 knots of boat-speed per second the boat is off the foils. 5 seconds of even mild deceleration will cost about 30-40m at the speed these boats are going downwind.

    In the most recent race (race 10) on the reach to the first mark Oracle touched down for maybe half a second and it saw NZ gain by 4 or 5m which was enough for them to reach the two boat-length circle first and have rights.

    Also, neither boat is foiling through their tacks consistently at all - and they never will except in optimum conditions. They have both learned during the series to hold the windward (soon to be leeward) hull up using the foils during the tack but it is far from consistent as yet. As soon as the boat turns the foil loads up and is in its most draggy mode so needs to be managed very finely otherwise the benefits are lost.
    Common thinking was that the narrower hulls would prove an advantage in lower wind ranges (less drag, less windage) but the opposite has shown so far. It's not their hulls that's making them quicker recently, but that the higher wind ranges have meant they can sail more of the race not in full displacement mode. If both boats are in displacement mode NZ's hulls dig in less (and much less when coming off foils) which is showing to be an advantage even if their wetted surface is higher in the pre-foiling period.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Pre previous post..
    Point 1. Announcers SAID 17 knots, as evidenced by the complete lack of whitecaps, and also just before the start of the ebb tide.
    Point 2. If grinders aren't ready for tactician and skippers course change, and they were always ready before this tack, maybe it's a desperation tack after all.....
    Point 3. You are correct, there IS 3 possible modes. I knew Oracle was narrower, so full displacement mode could be faster in higher winds, but these boats get up onto their foils. Didn't know Kiwi's had a flatter bottom, only knew bottom was wider.
    Regardless, higher winds help out Oracle, while wind minimums seem to favor Kiwi's.
     
    #40
  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Post 39.... 2 seconds is nothing. The 45 seconds to get speed up to match Kiwi speed is everything.
    Consistent foil tacking requires strong (+17mph) winds at the up and down marks, and up is usually the problem.
    Noted, your last point, is correct.
     
    #41
  42. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    Again, there is NO full displacement mode in higher winds with these boats. The hull will plane, foil or no foil.
    The only conditions where I could see the advantage of the narrow Oracle hulls is upwind in the light winds, where they can not increase the apparent wind enough to power over the theoretical hull speed. Especially throug the chop.
     
    #42
  43. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Average windspeed (measured at 10m above water) for the last three races - 20.3 knots, 19.2 knots, 21.5 knots (this was the abandoned race).

    Windspeed at 20m is about 20% higher again.

    They have to build pressure about 2-5 seconds ahead. If you must tack even 2 seconds early during the tack the crossover point is close and you can run out of pressure if the wing hasn't popped over and rotated far enough already.
    flatter bottom ahead of the foils on NZ was to make touchdowns in marginal foiling have less affect on speed - and so it showed in the middle wing-ranges.

    Without doubt. That and the tide being the other direction now. Whenever you're going against the tide is has the effect of making that leg longer so whoever is better upwind in an opposite tide benefits (and vice versa). Now that the tide is going with the upwind leg the upwind advantage NZ had is reduced.

    The wind for tomorrow is supposedly going to be right near the top limits again so we might only see one race.
     
    #43
  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    FYI, I have windsurfed Crissy for over 1,000 days, from year's '83 thru '10, but mostly in the '90's. I sail in ebbs, floods, and slack water, have raced in 3 WorldCupStroh's races, and a handful of smaller non PWA events. I'm credited with over 15 rescues there, second only to one other guy.
    I also crewed on Hello, a Cal 25 fleet winner, or I should say top 3, in over 10 races and that many practices at Crissy.
    Also led 3 Baker's Beach to Ft.Baker swim races, from a longboard.
     
    #44
  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Oh, and they announced, at the start of Sat. first race, that winds were good at 17 knots around the course, but less on the upwind mark.
     
    #45
  46. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I just got the wind info from the day's race data. I'm sure the announcers know better than the people who were actually measuring the wind on the race course.
     
    #46
  47. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Announcer's stated "17 knots" at the start of the race.
    You figures might be at the END of the race, downwind where it's windier, and the winds are usually much lighter at the Blackhaller Bouy, where the upwind mark is closest to.
    Anyone who knows Crissy, and I KNOW Crissy, know that the difference in wind speed between Blackhaller and Ft.Mason/Laguna St. can easily be more than 10 mph, sometimes much more.
    Any hint of S takes away wind upwind, and adds down low by the Marina Safeway, where the lower part of the course is located.
    Remember the "favorible S" coming off the shore? That is the S component making the winds more offshore at Blackhaller, but more steady down low.
     
    #47
  48. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Read. I said average wind speed - which I understand is measured at the committee boat somewhere near (level with) the middle of the course. That is what the race data says and I'll trust it any time over what an announcer may have said. I was watching the race and they even delayed the start for 10 mins because the wind was bouncing above the wind limits.
    Noted. See my first comment in this reply.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
    #48
  49. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "Average" is useless to anyone except for statisticians.
    The low and the high are more important.
    Say you are timing someone's serve....talking TENNIS, in case you don't play.
    I hit a flat first serve....105, out, and I start to choke.
    So I hit a second serve, add too much top, not nearly enough flat, and push it in at 60 mph with a mishit.
    Average speed of my serve is 83, or so.
    But you have to stand IN against my 105 first serves, and return my pokey second serve that twists to your forehead height, all the while I'm moving to service line position, and you have time to read the label on that second serve.......
     
    #49
  50. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,331
    Oracle are now toast.
     
    #50

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