America’s Cup Returns to Tradition Sort Of

I’ve always loved the phrase, “answer the guns.” It took something away when race committees at the America’s Cup—in Valencia, for example—went to blowing horns instead of firing guns to signal start and finish. Never mind that the visual signal governs, and the sound signal, whatever it may be, is an aid. In not much more than a year from now, a new generation of raceboats will come to the line to choose a challenger for America’Cup 34. If the plans made for this week’s AC45 racing in Newport are any indication, the contestants for the next America’s Cup will indeed answer the guns . . .

“Or maybe a cannon,” advises America’s Cup Race Management CEO Iain Murray. “People want to know when the start is made. A gun accomplishes that.”

And, with Cup teams racing, not on the Cup course of old, but kinda sorta nearby, there’s a re-emphasis on match racing, including in the TV broadcast. We know that fleet races look good on TV, and there is a huge desire to produce sell-worthy footage on the World Series tour, but, “The America’s Cup is match racing.”


“We want to introduce match racing to the public,” Murray says. “The problem is that it takes a lot of time. We tried running four matches at once, and it was a diabolical nightmare.“

In Newport, the plan is to broadcast only the critical late matches, also the final fleet race, on the last day of competition. Murray’s assessment: “If we’re going to have match racing, we should put it on TV.”

Slow News Day?

Photo by Guilain Grenier

I know a lot of people are all het up about the pics of an Oracle AC45 above the water, and I’ve heard Paul Cayard say that, “Daggerboards are going to be a huge area of development for the AC72s; maybe as important as the wing.”

And an engineer I’m not, but what little I understand of foiling includes an imperative for pitch adjustment. Unless there is some mojo better than the Moth foiling system—trimmable winglets on the rudder—I’d say that 8.6 of the AC72 class rule poses a problem:

Rudders shall not have components such as trim tabs or moveable winglets, that can be adjusted while racing.

Can you pre-adjust and go sailing with confidence? I guess we’ll have to ask Oracle, eh? Then again, the winglets in Elizabeth Chandler’s photo below are not visible in the Guilain Grenier images released by Team Oracle USA . . .

Photo © Elizabeth Chandler

When it comes to daggerboards, the case is more open:

8.7 While an AC72 Yacht is moored, rudders shall be capable of:
(a) freely rotating through 360 degrees; or
(b) being removed. Only equipment that is intended to be aboard the AC72 Yacht while racing, or other equipment that is capable of being lifted aboard the AC72 Yacht, and operated, by no more than two crew, shall be considered in determining compliance with this requirement.

9.1 Each hull shall have one daggerboard.
9.2 Daggerboards shall penetrate the hull forward of the rudder and aft of the forward watertight bulkhead per rule 6.11.
9.3 The maximum dimension of any daggerboard shall be 7.000 m in any direction, measured along a straight line.
9.4 The lowest load-transferring bearing shall not translate relative to the hull.
9.5 A daggerboard shall not translate longitudinally more than 0.020 m within the bearing referred to in 9.4 above.
9.6 Daggerboards shall not have components such as trim tabs or moveable winglets that can be adjusted while racing; however, a movable or retractable device the sole purpose of which is the removal of weed or debris is permitted.

Suns New Jerseys