Never before has the red-hot favored team to win the next America’s Cup been in such a dicey predicament. Some claim that Emirates Team New Zealand has already won the Cup in the design department, but even if that proves true, it makes the team no less vulnerable to the fortunes of war.
There was a time when getting your hands on the wheel of a U.S. America’s Cup boat was almost the same as saying, yes, I’ve won a Star Class world championship. Think Bill “Ficker Is Quicker” Ficker, Dennis Conner, Tom Blackaller, Buddy Melges.
How long does it take to get addicted to speed? Not long, aboard the foiling trimaran, l’Hydroptère DCNS. The big, French “water wing” holds the nautical-mile record at 50.17 knots and now has its sights set on a Los Angeles-Honolulu record.
You’re not going to win America’s Cup 34 without sexy foils to keep the leeward bow floating, or flying, high. This is an area of development just as important as wings for the next generation of Cup-hopeful catamarans.
We’ve now wrapped up the 2011-12 America’s Cup World Series, and the AC45 fleet is headed into the 2012-13 series with the first regattas set to take place on San Francisco Bay. So what have we learned so far?
Back in days gone by, before rumbling speedboats and thundering Spring Break coeds discovered Lake Havasu, this was a place for sailing. A wide spot on the Colorado River 448 feet above sea level (a product of the Parker Dam), Havasu was a desert haven with vistas of jagged peaks and winters infused with sunshine and warmth.