Failure to Launch - Sail Magazine

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:
Publish date:
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

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more