Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Louis Vuitton Cup - Aliens and other ruminations

I finally sat down at the TV last Sunday to watch some AC72 catamaran sailing. It seems very hard to get two of them in the same TV picture. There was some nice shots of one of them flying around the marks and gybing on stilts but they seem to be solitary craft - they don't like the company of another AC72; something the TV commentators continually make excuses for.

I did get to watch over and over and over again, Team New Zealand's face plant upon rounding a mark on the Saturdays race. Which brings me to Rumination 1 and 2.
  1. For syndicates that spend umpteen millions of dollars, the rescue of the two sailors flung overboard at 40 knots left something to be desired. (I have a fetish about crash boats and rescues.) Hauling the two over the high transom of the big, expensive RIB, between four massive outboards was just wrong. Rescue personnel are very careful with car accident victims, usually keeping them very still until they can ascertain any injuries. With the ETNZ AC72's, the procedure seems to be; grab them under both armpits and heave them into the boat - we'll check out any physical problems later. And hauling them up next to the outboard motors just gives me the heebie-jeebies. This is highly operator dependent; the motors must be in neutral, remain in neutral, and never be engaged during the rescue - a risk I do not like to take. I would hope that if any of the two men overboard had a more severe injury, where they were incapacitated, there was a different procedure and a different boat.
  2. The wind limits, as frustrating as they seem to the racing, do make a difference. ETNZ's nose dive was the same as Team Oracle's earlier this year. ETNZ was able to recover without a disastrous cart wheel over the bow because the wind wasn't blowing as hard as in the Team Oracle disaster.
Today Race 4 and 5 are scheduled. Let's hope the AC72's act more sociable. When you get them together they do look cool as this video of the two Oracle AC72's training together shows.

Oracle Team USA - Foiling Upwind !!! from pete carney on Vimeo.

I use my wife, being a non-sailor, as a sounding board for how these foiling catamaran's might play with the general viewing public. Her comment, "I miss the graceful sailboats, these look too alien". Part of this is due to the Italian team's sailing outfits or as Tillerman puts it, "their chromeness". They look like a team of Tin Men, spawned out of the Wizard of Oz. All that is missing is redesigned helmets to look like upturned funnels and some chrome zinc-oxide face paint. But that just might be the difference between backward Americans and more fashion conscious Europeans. Below, a promotional puff video on the Italians (but interesting just the same).

Luna Rossa: Luna Challenge // Marmoset from marmoset on Vimeo.


Tillerman said...

Having driven a coach boat with outboard motor for 3 summers looking after junior sailors, I had the same heebie jeebies watching those rescues over the transom between the motors. If I remember correctly what we were taught on the US Sailing Instructor Course was to turn the motor completely off when doing rescues of people in the water, and never to let the person in the water get anywhere near the motor.

Propeller accidents are all too comment. Check out this llist of such accidents already in 2013.

Tweezerman said...

Absolutely right about turning off the motor during rescues - except from a practical standpoint. Too many thoroughly abused yacht club outboard motors sometimes become very difficult to start, particularly when conditions become rough. Something about Murphy's Law. Sometimes you leave the motors running/idling all the time when the breeze is up - don't tempt fate. Not ideal and I'm sure there are some yacht clubs where the outboard motors work like a charm all the time.