Failure to Launch

The wind at dawn blew from the mountains across the plain and out to sea, bringing tears to unprotected eyes and cutting through parkas and fleece that yesterday felt warm enough for winter on the Spanish Mediterranean but now we know the falsehood of that. I walked from playa to darsena with the sun two fingers above the sea, lighting the Varadero Publico that houses Race
Author:
Updated:
Original:
February_11_dawn

The wind at dawn blew from the mountains across the plain and out to sea, bringing tears to unprotected eyes and cutting through parkas and fleece that yesterday felt warm enough for winter on the Spanish Mediterranean but now we know the falsehood of that. I walked from playa to darsena with the sun two fingers above the sea, lighting the Varadero Publico that houses Race Committee, International Jury, Socit Nautique de Genve, and the Fourth Estate.

It didn’t look like the scene of a failed launch, but it was all of that.

Looming above the Veradero, but actually located next door, is Alinghi. Just in case you need a reference point for “twenty-story mast.”

Yes, they use a crane to lift mainsails on or off.

Looking the other direction, cruise ship’s in, mon.

RisingSun

Nope, it’s Larry Ellison’s Rising Sun, newly pulled inside to “park” on the opposite side of the darsena. That’s the commercial port in the background and Alinghi’s mast in the foreground . . .

Earlier, in lieu of a race, design team member Dirk Kramers talked boatside with the press about mainsails that weigh “550 to 650 kilos depending on which mainsail you mean.” Those 650 kilos would convert to over 1,400 pounds.

He discussed “a whole quiver of foils” that are selected for the conditions of the day before the boat leaves the dock. Light-wind conditions call for straighter foils closer to the shape of conventional daggerboards. Higher winds (and higher speeds) call for curved foils that provide more lift.

Months ago, when I talked to BOR design team member Gino Morelli, he anticipated a time of seeing ocean-going multihulls with curved foils providing “seventy percent lift.”

Close by, sailing royalty Loick Peyron was holding court . . .

LoickPeyron1000

. . . while Kramers fenced and “foiled” to a variety of reporters’ questions.

Can you tell us about the water ballast system?

“It’s right there.”

How many gallons per minutes? How much can you put into the system?

“Yes.”

DirkKramers500

A while back, when I interviewed Kramers for my FutureSailing series, we talked about Alinghi’s powered winches and he told me, “We felt forced into automating the catamaran, but then it opened a lot of possibilities. It looked as if the other guys were going to throw every legal technicality at us, one of which was to sail under the club rules of SNG, and the club allowed powered winches. The catamaran was not originally designed for it, but if BMW Oracle showed up with powered winches and we showed up without them, what then? Knives to a gunfight?”

In this audio file of Dirk Kramers you can hear ten minutes worth of banter between various members of the press (my voice is not there) and Kramers. It opens with Ed Baird talking about Wednesday’s sea conditions, and from there we move to Kramers on foils, etc. What you probably will find most interesting, however, begins at 6:38. At that point Curtis Blewett fires up Alinghi’s former-snowmobile engine to power the winches to haul another crewmember aloft inside the mast. This goes on while Kramers describes the operables.

All of us who savor the “ahhh” moment of turning off a sailboat’s auxiliary (and I count the sailors of Alinghi among us on that point) stand to be dismayed by the racket of the motor. Meanwhile it is, we know, deucedly effective at pulling sails in and halyards up, so the audio provides a dash of insight into life aboard a 90-foot multihull at what may eventually become AC 33.

This content requires a Flash Player and Javascript to be enabled

Related

Waypoint.image.cd

Say No To Waypoints

Ever since they first appeared in my navigational toolbox decades ago I have been wary of waypoints. They certainly do seem helpful, these electronic flags we plant in the ether to guide us to where we want to go. But I noticed early on they also tend to distort our perception. ...read more

Lead-shutterstock_429247

A Cruise up Florida’s St. Johns River

The chart showed 45ft of vertical clearance, and I knew the boat should be able to pass under the bridge. Still, there was that nagging voice in my head that wouldn’t let me be. “What if your air draft calculations were wrong?” it said. “And if you’re just a little too high the ...read more

pic00

Installing a Helm Pod

Our 1987 Pearson project boat came with an elderly but functioning Raymarine chartplotter, located belowdecks at the nav station. Since I usually sail solo or doublehanded, it was of little use down there—it needed to be near the helm. When I decided to update the plotter along ...read more

Panamerican

Pan American Game Success

Team USA’s young sailors went to the quadrennial Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru this summer with high hopes, and returned with a good haul of medals—two Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze. Gold medals went to Ernesto Rodriguez and Hallie Schiffman (Mixed Snipe) and Riley ...read more

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more