The world has been stunned by the bounce back of the Oracle Team. Obviously, they have a better boat than they did before. The addition of a world champion tactician no doubt helped, but behind the scenes, there is more.
When this started out, the Oracle team obviously didn't stand a chance. Then they used their cancel option and spent some time on their boat. The whole team came back with a smirk and a swagger that has increased with every race, as they licked a winning team within one win of taking the Americas Cup back to NZ.
The confidence shown by the cocky Australian, Jimmy Spithill, at the outset and his smug assurance that the public would see the greatest comeback in racing history, indicates that he knew the changes to his boat would make the difference. The source of his confidence. He has behind him technology and money. .
The answer is in the foils and Team Oracle seems to have solved a tech problem that has given them an unanticpated advantage.
The New Zealand company that built both foils and wings is owned by Larry Ellison. So technical knowledge was accessible, and from the outset, these boats have been a learning curve for all involved. Most likely, the secret of better performance came up from NZ. - with a price tag. And that would explain how Oracle started winning and a winning team of sailors started losing.
As catamarans these boats fly - without foils. When they are on their foils, they achieve even more stunning speeds. However, when they drop speed and are not on the foils, the foils add a drag to the hull, that slows the boat.
If Team Oracle has solved that problem and improved the foils to retract them into the hull, the advantage would be theirs. This could explain the smirk and swagger as Oracle has headed out to compete against Team NZ in the final races.
What they probably did:
Note: I think now the foils are here to stay we will see fully retractable foils & possibly changing the rudder foil angle under way instead of at the dock, where it's fixed at present.
The controversial rule change on rudder design led to a first yesterday - Team NZ raced itself while the Italian team Luna Rossa sat the race out in protest.
Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand are protesting a late change in boat design rules based around new rudder dimensions they claim are illegal, and favour defenders Oracle. They also claim that this rule changed affects them immediately but gives Oracle until September to deal with the issue - an unfair advantage.
Both sides wanted the issue to be decided before they raced, but Cup Organisers said the jury "sets its own schedule". So,
Team NZ now see regaining the Auld Mug as a personal crusade. Grant Dalton vows, "this will not happen on our watch".
The Kiwis are desperate to take the cup back to New Zealand and restore its credibility by imposing smaller budgets, more sensible boats, and a regatta free of the latest legal wrangles that are sinking the 34th edition before it even starts. In their view, the Americas Cup has lost much-needed credibility.
The "Fiasco in 'Frisco" has worn thin with the Kiwis. "I can tell you that this will not happen on our watch," Dalton said.
He admitted huge frustration and felt the regatta was "off the rails".
"Does it annoy me? It seriously pisses me off. But we can only control what we can control.
"It's completely ridiculous, totally ridiculous. But what do we do? Do we shut up shop and go because it's ridiculous? Or do we go, ‘we are only here for one reason, the America's Cup, and focus on the job'?"
Dalton was disappointed in Luna Rossa's approach, bit added. "Luna Rossa have told me they aren't pulling out (of the regatta). They are making a statement at the moment. They have a great team. They are good guys, they are straight, and you have to look quite hard to find straight people in this game at the moment," Dalton said.
Dalton wanted to bank the necessary three points against Luna Rossa quickly - even the "cheap points" like tomorrow offers - so his team can then refocus on the development of the boat, put on ice as they worked through the adjustments required under the extensive new safety regulations over the past month.
"I'm just frustrated, because we have done everything by the book. We may get penalised for getting ahead of the game . . . good old Kiwi ingenuity has come to the fore here.
"Really, in the end, we just want to go racing and we want to ultimately race against Oracle . . . who are probably sitting down their in their compound laughing like drains at this because this doesn't affect anything they do until September, and we have to deal with this now in July."
You can find the solo race on this link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-sports/8890444/Team-NZ-race-themselves-in-Americas-Cup
The Swedish catamaran Artemis nose dived and broke into pieces during a tricky maneuvre, say America Cup officials. Two crew were trapped under the hull. Only one survived.
Olympic Gold medal winner, Andrew 'Bart' Simpson was trapped under water for 10 minutes and efforts to revived him failed. He was the Swedish team's strategist. The death has cast a pall over the America's Cup and questions are being asked whether the design of the boats has gone too far.
"It's a shocking experience to go through ... and we have a lot to deal with in the next few days in terms of assuring everybody's well-being," said Paul Cayard, the chief executive of Swedish syndicate Artemis.
"The boat itself is under control but it's certainly not the first of our concerns. We are focussed on the people."
Team New Zealand, Artemis and Italy's Luna Rossa are due to start the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series in San Francisco on July 4. The winner of that meets Oracle for the America's Cup in a first to nine-wins series, starting on September 7.
Team New Zealand America's Cup new 72-foot catamaran has been launched in Auckland and christened 'New Zealand by skipper Dean Barker's wife Mandy, before a large crowd of supporters and dignitaries - including Prime Minister John Key - in Auckland's Viaduct Basin.
Simultaneously, fireworks lit the sky as 18 months of work by the design and build teams was unveiled.
Team New Zealand's campaign to regain the America's Cup in San Francisco has been made possible by Government funding of $34 million, together with corporate sponsorship. TNZ managing director Grant Dalton said the support of the government and sponsors who backed the team with such enthusiasm had made the launching possible.
"New Zealanders should be proud that their team attracts the support of these major international companies," Dalton said.
"The same can be said for the international designers, engineers and analysts who augmented our design team.
"We are proud of what we have achieved so far, working in a tin shed in Auckland.
TNZ will begin testing the catamaran in Auckland this week. They are only allowed 30 days on the water before January 31 under cup rules.
Oracle Racing's new 38m-long wing and the cross structure for the first of Oracle's AC72 multihulls has left the manufacturer Core Builders Composites in Warkworth for shipping to San Francisco and the Pier 80 base of the Cup defender.
"That's $6-7 million of kit going out the door," said Core Builders Composites general manager Tim Smyth as the radical wingsail left the factory.
The wingsail took six months to build - at 25,000 man hours - and there will be more assembly work to do once it arrives in San Francisco. The wing's flap elements have already been shipped across, and once all the pieces are joined together, the wingsail will be ready to be fitted into Oracle's first AC72 multihull, designed for the 2013 America's Cup. Under Cup rules, the hulls of Oracle's yachts must be built in the United States; Oracle plan to launch their first yacht in July.
Fleet Racing Championship - Provisional Results (after two races)
1. Energy Team, 18 points
2. Luna Rossa Swordfish, 16 points
3. Team Korea,15 points
4. Emirates Team New Zealand,13 points
5. Artemis Racing,13 points
6. Luna Rossa Piranha, 12 points
7. ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill, 10 points
8. ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock, 7 points
9. China Team, 4 points
Match Racing Championship - Qualifying and Quarter Final Results
Qualifier 1 - ORACLE TEAM USA - Bundock defeated China Team
QF 1 - ORACLE TEAM USA - Spithill defeated Luna Rossa - Swordfish; 2-0
QF 2 - Luna Rossa - Piranha defeated Team Korea; 2-0
QF 3 - Artemis Racing defeated Emirates Team New Zealand; 2-0
QF 4 - Energy Team defeated ORACLE TEAM USA - Bundock; 2-0
The winners of the Quarter Finals advance to the Semi Finals. The losers are assigned final finishing positions (5th to 9th) as per the Sailing Instructions.
5. Emirates Team New Zealand
6. Team Korea
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock
9. China Team
Team NZ is bringing a revolutionary new chase boat to the Americas Cup in San Francisco. A 45 ft fibreglass catamaran lighter than previous chase boats and more fuel efficient. It is fitted with:
"It will be rugged, nimble and powerful enough to do the job - the work of the big tender and a chase boat," says Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton who is rapt with the latest addition to his fleet.
The first of Team NZ's twin AC72s is, to be launched in July. The second catamaran will join it in early 2013.
It was smoother sailing in Naples on the second day of racing. Winds were blowing at 8 to 12 knots and the water was flat. Team NZ are in the lead , but although Captain Dean Barker considered his boys were 'slick in all the maneuvres' and the 'boat speed felt good', Team Coach Rod Davis says the crew has more work to do to get more speed out of their AC45 catamaran.
"We still are not 100 percent satisfied with our upwind speed, so there is a big push to improve on that front. We know where we want to go, so now we need to make it happen," Davis said. "All and all, a good solid day; not perfect but solid."
Note: The new AC72 is bigger & faster than the AC 45, so when the Cup racing starts it should be an impressive show.