Those of us employing various strategies to catch the early morning live action from the impossibly blue waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound have been rewarded with absorbing and exciting racing.
Despite the purists’ lament, the America’s Cup has always been a contest about technology and design. In 1851 boat speed under sail was paramount – delivering history changing commercial and military advantages to its possessors.
The 35th America’s Cup is also more than ever about visions of the future, and the relevancy of the contest, which inevitably carry implications for sailing.
The once clear lines between defender and challengers are shifting, with Jimmy Spithill, Tom Slingsby and the other Aussies aboard Oracle Team USA racing in the first phase of the America’s Cup qualifiers that will determine just who will line-up against them in the first America’s Cup Match race set down for Saturday 17 June.
The fact there are so many Australians taking part in the Cup, and we lack our own team does rankle, but as Jimmy Spithill explains in our interview with him, our sailing diaspora fully commit themselves to the relentless pursuit of success, improvement and refinement no matter whose AC gear they’re wearing.
Jimmy also gives us an insight into the brutal physicality of the ACC boats, and the sheer physics of doing 44 knots in 10 knots of wind.
Just getting ten knots up on the displays in recent CYCA Winter Series races has proved a challenge but tuning for the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Race on July 29 is well and truly underway. Wild Oats XI will make a welcome return to offshore racing, and faces a duel all the way up the coast with Peter Harburg’s new Black Jack 100, (Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo in a former life).
If you are thinking it’s possibly time for new wet weather gear, don’t wait for the first wave smacking into the rail to galvanise your decision. Fabric technology is constantly evolving and improving, the new stuff is very good and our technical feature showcases the latest kit.
Technology is also delivering an impressive crop of offerings from the European yards. Kevin Green seizes the opportunity to test the space, comfort and refinement in these slick hulls which leave racing boats of quite recent vintage, in their wakes.
In From the Vault Michael Troy recounts a brilliant sailing career with Gordon Ingate. Wingnut’s boat handling and tactical skills are still sharp enough at 91 to ensure he’s the current Australian Dragon champion, putting younger aspirants to shame.
And, if you want to steer and race your boat faster and more efficiently; or simply want to understand how to helm better, then you’ll find Sean Langman’s tips invaluable.
See you on the water.
Editor Sails Magazine
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