Juanpa Cadario: Awesome


Gilles Martin-Raget / www.americascup.com

Gilles Martin-Raget / www.americascup.com

Fuente info AC34

"It was awesome, mate"
Friday, January 28, 2011

With sea trials of the first AC45 prototype nearing completion in New Zealand, the verdict from the sailors has been universally positive.

"It was awesome, mate."

That was how ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill put it when asked, during a media roundtable in Auckland, about sailing the AC45 in heavy conditions last week.

Spithill, along with ORACLE Racing CEO Russell Coutts, was briefing the media about the first of the two new multihull classes which will come to define a new era in the America's Cup.

The AC45 is a production boat which will be raced as a one-design class in 2011. It is a precursor to the AC72, which each competing team will design and build to race in the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013.

Both new classes are designed to challenge the sailors on all levels by providing fast action and demanding racing in a wide range of wind conditions. To this point, Spithill and Coutts say the AC45 is delivering on its promise.

"We've already been out in everything from about three to four knots of wind, up to about 25-26 knots," Spithill said. "The performance, I've been really impressed."

As the lead 'crash test dummy', testing the boat on behalf of America's Cup Race Management (ACRM), he has had the most time on the helm of the new boat.

"The exciting thing is we can push it through quite a large wind range," he said. "We can race these in 30 knots. It will be a handful and there will be a few boats right on the edge, and eventually someone will capsize one, but I think that's what the sport is all about. You need to have that element of risk."

Coutts said while the change in class from the slower displacement monohull ACC boats, to the much lighter, faster, catamarans is a big one, many things will remain the same.

"It won't be as different as what people think," he said. "There will be certain differences approaching marks and in the pre-start, but the basic concept is exactly the same… The good sailors will still end up being the good sailors. They will adapt and still be just as good."

He pointed to the recent performance of Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker in the A-Class catamaran as an example.

But he emphasized the new class is exciting because it demands more from the sailors than ever before.

"We want to end up in a situation that challenges the teams, challenges the crews, and makes the boats hard to sail," Coutts said. "The best crew work is going to be a factor. Boat handling is going to be really critical. If you do a bad gybe or damage a sail, it's going to be a big loss."

The sea trials of the prototype AC45 are coming to a conclusion. This first boat will then be shared among the competitors throughout February under a schedule developed by (ACRM) in consultation with the teams.

Competitors will begin to receive their own AC45s - Coutts said production was slightly ahead of schedule - in March.