America’s Cup teams will be dealing with unprecedented power.
Here are the hazards they’re up against. BY STEPHANIE MARTIN
If the events of last summer are any testament, then the America’s Cup sailors are going to have their hands full with san francisco Bay. Last August, as the Cup sailors competed in the AC World series, teams could be found littered across the course, many losing the battle to typical conditions near the Golden
Gate — wild, wavy and in a full ebb. And that was on the AC45s,
boats with less than half the power of the AC72s. With these bigger
and more powerful yachts, teams are dealing with a real monster.
“these are boats that aren’t that wide or that big, but have a
very powerful ‘engine,’ ” Artemis Racing’s Loick Peyron says. “to
get an idea of what I mean, it’s a bit like putting a v- 8 or v- 12 engine
on a go-kart. so it is no easy matter making use of all that power.
these machines require caution.”
downwind, similar to a hairpin turn in auto racing. As the boats
slow and bear away, the apparent wind speed increases rapidly
and the very powerful wing-sail begins pushing down under this
load. In an instant, the knifelike edges of the pontoons can “dig in,”
punching the bow into the water and the transom — along with the
athletes on board — up more than 40 feet into the air.
Get your own crash
• THE PLYMOUTH CAPSIZE CLUB
course through the
America’s Cup YouTube
channel, where you can
view some of the most
spectacular — and scary
— wipeouts of Cup
teams to date.
Race day two at the 2011 Plymouth America’s Cup world series saw blustery
conditions, leading to three boats in the afternoon fleet race capsizing — spectacularly. More than 1.1 million views.
• GOING, GOING, GOING … GONE
Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts pushes his boat to the limit and beyond in fresh
conditions on San Francisco Bay. More than 2 million views.
• ORACLE TEAM USA CAPSIZE
The team’s AC72 capsize was captured on video (pictured) during training on San
Francisco Bay last October. “We did something we had hoped we would never do,
and that’s capsize an AC72,” says skipper Jimmy Spithill. More than 165,000 views.