Friday, October 16, 2009

33rd America’s Cup

'BMW Oracle'

Pride, power, sport, competition, rivalry; what drives the America’s Cup? The trophy known as the ‘Auld Cup’ has been raced for since 1851, and it wasn’t until 1983 when Australia won four out of seven races that America gave up the cup until the next challenge. In 1995 New Zealand became the third holder of the trophy, only to lose to the Australians in the year 2000. In 2003 the Australians lost to Société Nautique de Genève who defended the cup in 2007 at Valencia against the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Now the Americans are hungry for the trophy to be returned to the USA and a Dog Match is due to take place in February 2010 in the United Arab Emirates, but I believe this location may be subject to litigation. An agreed change of rules has allowed multihull vessels fitted with power for running winches etc to compete, and the waterline length has been increased to 90 feet. The innovations as a result are quite amazing. You only need look at photos of the vessels to know what I mean. There’s the defending Spanish catamaran ‘Alinghi 5’ and the American challenger trimaran ‘BMW Oracle’, each costing millions to build and test.

Dirk Kramers, the designer of ‘Alinghi’ is not at all confident that the wave-piercing hulls will hold together in anything above relatively calm conditions, hence the Spanish team wants the United Arab Emirates to be the venue; neither is Kramers comfortable about the rigging because of the enormous loads that will be imposed on the extremely light hulls if the wind blows up.

Alinghi Catamaran

BMW Oracle Trimaran

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