We’re proud to announce a new video series called “ASA’s Inside Sailing”, where we conduct on-camera interviews with prominent and/or interesting figures in the world of sailing.
For our latest episode of Inside Sailing, we interviewed the “Voice of the America’s Cup” Tucker Thompson. Tucker spoke about his career as a sailing broadcaster, the radical technology the AC employs and the influence this age-old sporting event has on sailing as a whole.
Although we understand not all sailors are racers, we do like to keep up with the America’s Cup because it’s not only sailing’s preeminent event it also always carries trickle down ramifications for technological advancements for all of us.
The big news this week is Patrizio Bertelli, team principal of Challenger Luna Rossa, has stated, on the record, that the 36th America’s Cup will be sailed in foiling monohulls. By the way, we predicted that in a piece right after the last Cup concluded – that has nothing to do with the content of this story but sometimes bragging just happens.
Another America’s Cup is in the history books and although the actual Cup itself might not have been as exciting as the Louis Vuitton World Series competition with its capsizing, collisions and man overboard, the entire event was pretty impressive. And now, with a new Defender at the helm, the all-consuming, burning question is asked: “What now?”
On the AC site it read: “When Emirates Team New Zealand sped through the finishing line on Monday afternoon in Bermuda to win the 35th America’s Cup, the team also crossed a starting line of sorts – this time for the 36th America’s Cup.” Going on to state: “The moment Peter Burling steered the New Zealand boat across the line to win the America’s Cup, the RNZYS accepted a challenge from Luna Rossa’s Circolo della Vela Sicillia (CVS) for the 36th America’s Cup.”
That is the first installment of the many answers to the “what now” question and it’s definitely a big one – the “who” if you will. Luna Rossa has been part of other America’s Cups and many are glad to see them back in the game. For those who don’t know, the way it works now is that these two teams will huddle together and map out all the logistics, including the rules and boats, for the next event.
“We need to put in place an exciting event that takes a lot of what has happened here, because there is a lot of good that’s happened here…”
Emirates Team CEO Grant Dalton
Hmmm. Is Dalton hinting that the race will once again be run in high-speed foiling catamarans? Hard to say but it’s probably safe to assume it will be another cutting edge style event. To the dismay of hard-core traditionalists, the smart money isn’t on the 36th America’s Cup being held on J-class yachts. However, there is talk, maybe rumor is a better word, of the Cup possibly returning to monohulls. Some have speculated that perhaps a foiling mono that employs much of the speed and excitement the cats have generated would keep the interest peaked and the technology moving forward. Not too long ago Beneteau announced its plan to race a fleet of foiling monos for the famous Le Figaro singlehanded race in 2019 and the legendary Volvo Ocean Race announced it will use “foil assisted” monos in 2017-18 edition. It certainly seems in the realm of reality that organizers would seize the opportunity to both push the envelope further and placate monohull purists, which there are many.
Of the criticisms of the 35th AC, this notion of meat over mastery has to be on the top of the list. Boiled down there were only a couple of men on the boat actually sailing – the rest of the crew simply generated energy, on bicycles no less! For sailing purists nothing was as disappointing as seeing exercise bicycles installed on flying boats and calling it sailing. But this is the interesting element of the America’s Cup event – rules are written specifically for the contest and design teams get to the business of cracking codes and solving engineering puzzles.
It’s still a rumor but definitely an interesting notion. Beyond the boat design, the new AC Defenders are also expecting more teams to participate. In a recent interview on New Zealand radio Peter Burling & Blair Turk said they anticipated most or all of the 35th teams would be back with expectation of more teams. It would stand to reason that the Kiwi team would concentrate on making the next AC as affordable as possible since they struggled firsthand with what was called an “extremely strict budget.”
For now, while the Challenger and Defender spitball what will become, we sailing fans can blab to each other what we think is best (post your thoughts below!). It’s fun for a while but anticipation gets old. Soon we will see the whats and wheres, only to no doubt be answered with some resounding “whys??!!?”
Ok then – the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers & Challenger Playoffs are over but the big dance is about to begin! This weekend, once again, the New Zealand team will challenge the American team (are there any Americans on that boat?) for the honor of holding up the oldest trophy in sports history. It should be a fun batch of races, but what have we learned so far by watching the absolute premier event the sailing world has to offer?
The America’s Cup is the absolute premier sailboat race in the world. It’s the sailor’s Superbowl. For the new sailors who are checking it out for the first time we have created this glossary to help you understand what the announcers are talking about so that you can better enjoy the coverage.
Some of these terms you’ll recognize from your 101 classes and text.
A wind gauge that measure wind speed and direction.
From the onboard mics we hear skippers and tacticians talking about “pressure” which is simply areas where there is more breeze.
In the semi finals between the British team and the New Zealand team the announcers made mention of an impending squall. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology a squall is a “sudden, sharp increase in wind speed that is usually associated with active weather, such as rain showers or thunderstorms.” For the America’s Cup sailors it’s a curveball to contend with.
Daggerboard or “boards”
Catamarans don’t have keels; instead they have daggerboards which allow them to make forward progress in the same way keels do.
Foils are defined in different ways in the sport of sailing, but in this year’s America’s Cup, when the term is used, it refers to “L” shaped carbon fiber daggerboards that facilitate the entire boat rising up out of the water to essentially fly.
Stuffing It or Splash Down
Basically when the boat drops off the foils and the hulls hit the water, usually in a very dramatic fashion that soaks the sailors.
The Kiwi team can tell us what this means. A pitchpole is when a boat capsizes stern over bow. It is usually the result of being extremely overpowered.
When a boat capsizes completely. When a boat “turtles” the boat is 100% upside down with mast pointing straight down to the sea floor.
The amount of time the boat spends foiling – Team Emirates New Zealand was the first to sail around the course with 100% fly time, which means their hulls never touched the water!
The angle required in order for the boat to successfully reach and go around a mark.
The tack where the wind is blowing FROM the starboard side of the boat. The port tack boat must give way to the starboard tack boat.
The tack where the wind is blowing FROM the port side of the boat. The port tack boat must give way to the starboard tack boat.
The edge of the official race course – sailing across the boundary will result in a penalty.
The pre-start is an important part of a sailboat race. It is a time sequence where boats jockey for position and attempt to win the start. It employs many of the devices, rules and tactics that are involved in sailboat racing in a short amount of time.
Over early penalty
If a boat crosses the line early there is a two-boat length penalty. It is marked by a blue light that is mounted on the stern of the boat that will illuminate upon any infraction.
Dialing up is mostly a starting tactic. It’s when one boat forces their competitor uncomfortably far up wind, which leaves them rather helpless and at a disadvantage.
Dialing down usually happens during crossing situations – the idea is to force the opponent downwind, driving them away from where they want to be.
When two boats are converging, but instead of holding course the starboard tack boat changes course directly towards the port tack boat forcing them to take action to avoid collision. This aggressive tactic is predominantly a match racing strategy.
The disqualification of a boat.
Split and Cover
Around the marks at the top or bottom of course if the boats choose opposite directions it’s often referred to as a split, if they choose the same marks it’s a cover.
One & In
Refers to the fact that a boat only has to make one more tack/jibe in order to make the next mark.
When you hear that a boat is “sailing higher” they are heading farther up towards the wind direction.
Typically the boat is sailing more off the wind than it should in order to build speed – something that is critical to make sure the boat gets up on the foils.
When sailboats sail close to each other, one can affect the other’s quality of wind. The result of this change is sometimes called “wingwash.”
Creating separation between boats, usually windward-leeward scenarios. Often employed during starting sequences.
Your humble author was bellied up to the bar at 10 a.m. Saturday to watch the first America’s Cup races live from Bermuda – more specifically, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, which precedes the actual final America’s Cup races. To my left, a group of skeptics talked before the first race about how lame it was and how little it resembled “real” sailboat racing. To my right were a few guys who were definitely marveling over the technology before them. Continue reading →
These days, just mention the words “America’s Cup” to any group of sailors and it’s likely that in no more than a few minutes they’ll all be arguing. Gone are the times when this same contingent would wait with bated breath, unified by their love of sailing, to see what beauty would be incarnated for this very special gentlemen’s match race around the buoys – a race that only happens every three or four years. Gorgeous boats would be designed especially for this occasion– the oldest and most dignified major sporting event in existence. Common sailors would await the unveiling of the world’s most foremost yacht designers’ creations only to be sailed by the world’s most decorated and respected sailors. What could be better? What could ever corrupt such bliss? The answer: foiling multihulls.
We’re happy to announce that ASA’s latest venture, the Sailing Challenge, an interactive mobile game that simultaneously drills learning concepts and entertains, is becoming quite popular! Over ten-thousand apps have been downloaded, and an update with new and improved features will soon be on the way. Download Now 〉〉
One of the elements that has users coming back for more is the compulsion to post a faster score on the timed-sail part of the app. After going through the many drill modules, it’s nice to just take a virtual sail and hone the skill-set. Waiting on a line at the post office was never so fun!
And don’t think Sailing Challenge is just for newbs and novices, the current record holder for time around the course is none other than five-time America’s Cup sailor Peter Isler. If it has to do with sailing Peter will master it, including this mobile game.