Coinciding with our vacation to Bermuda last week, was the America’s Cup Yacht Preliminaries.
As seen from the bow of our cruise ship, Norwegian Breakaway, the America’s Cup Village is seen just behind Celebrity Summit, in Bermuda’s Great Sound.
Over the preceding months and many locations, preliminary races determined the ultimate “challenger” to the current “defender” (USA’s “Oracle.”) Above, New Zealand’s “Emirates” (in contest with Great Britain’s “Land Rover”) takes the lead with Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in the background, and has now earned that challenger privilege.
The boats have evolved over 147 years, from more conventional sailing yachts, to highly refined and sophisticated racing platforms, now utilizing hydrofoils to significantly reduce drag and increase speed.
Rules prohibit any energy sources other than the sea, air and human input. The helmsman, (see image above) who is ultimately responsible for navigation and articulation of control surfaces under race conditions, must continuously evaluate and decide when and where to guide the boat and how to do it. His hands are on a multi-remote laced steering wheel. Also, as the boat’s direction and roll-attitude changes, the entire crew will run across to the opposite (upper) pontoon to man duplicate stations. Great theater!
Just after winning this heat over Land Rover, Emirates is seen here coming down off the foils. The boats often exceed 44 knots (50 mph) in racing.
Although all the 50′ catamarans are essencially the same, teams have virtually unlimited options as to trimming and power usage, including navigating savvy, and human endurance. For example, Emirates utilizes bicycle-like human power stations, while Oracle uses the more traditional hand cranked “grinders.” The science of these vessels and the methods employed are awesome, details of which can be found here .
As usual, click on the image for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome. M 🙂