tisdag 16 februari 2010

Alexander Simonis om Americas Cup 33rd, flerskrovsdesign och framtiden för Cupen

Alexander Simonis fick Syd-Afrikas förtroende att designa nästa båt efter Shosholoza. Är Syd-Afrika med nästa gång?

Jag ställde några frågor kring Americas Cup till Alex Simonis om Americas Cup 33rd och hur han tycker Cupen borde se ut. Nedan så har ni hans syn på det hela. Vad säger ni? Håller ni med Alex analys?

Americas Cup 33rd
I remember the Loius Vitton Cup Act 2005 in Malmö. The biggest sailing event our town ever had had. Shosholoza was really the dark horse that everybody felt for. How do you feel today when the 33rd is over?

For the record, The Shosholoza AC boat at the time I think was one of the old Italian AC boats obtained to be able to compete in the acts. I only took over from Jason Ker as Principal Designer when the preparations for the 33rd Cup started and we knew that it was going to be sailed in a newer bigger and faster class of yacht. We where together with the other teams working on the AC90 rule when the legal wrangling started resulting in every team being site tracked except BMWO.

Although it resulted in some of the most spectacular sailing yachts ever to be designed and build. The event as a regatta was pretty much non existent. 2 races, with poor starts, a total amount of tacks and gybes you can count on two hands between the challenger and the defender isn’t exactly close AC style match racing we have grown used to out of previous events.
Technically, I think many including ourselves where reluctant to give strong opinions up front to who or what was the better boat. Partly maybe because we where not able to see up close and in anger how the wingmast was set up and operating and partly because the age old debate of Tri versus Cat has been going on for a long time.

I think that all changed rapidly as we where watching the 1st race only to be confirmed again in the 2nd one. I haven’t got exact figures of both boats, but it’s fair to assume that BMWO is heavier than Alinghi , Power to weight ratio is everything in these type of yachts. So the question before the 1st race was really, can the taller rig and extra power in terms of more
Stability and more Efficiency be offset against the extra weight (I think the cat is substantially ligher) We all know the answer now. That Alinghi went with the light cat/soft sail may well have been time driven. I’m sure they started later on the design and building than BMWO did. (only when it became really clear that the courts could well swing the way of BMWO, did they probably start in anger).

Simonis Voogd har ett katamaran projekt på gång i Holland. En nerskalad Alinghi 1:3.

It doesn’t settle the cat versus tri debate. What if the cat would have had the same type of wing? What if the cat would have been as wide as the Tri. ? (Structurally that 10ft would have been possible, and the weight penalty may well have been less than that of the tri )

We probably (and maybe even hopefully) will not get the answer on that one for quite some time where the AC can return to some level of normality with a multi challenger event.

How would you like the Americas Cup to be?

I don’t think the 2007 event and the run up to it was bad, it gave a lot of good racing in Different venues. Maybe this time a combination should be made with the Louis Vuitton Series as currently organized and have a bit more of the F1 around the world type of regatta’s as a run up to next Amearica’s cup. Cost will remain a big issue, as moving them around together with the necessary shore support will require a fair amount of logistics.

The Shosholoza type or what would the ideal match racing boat look like?

The America’s Cup just demands big impressive boats, this is because it is just more than a yacht race, it has prestige, national pride and technological know how interweaved with it for the last 160 years. We not going to change that and I don’t think we even want to. But it has to be exciting to watch !!, So these new boats should be big, but more importantly, very agile and maneuverable so that the maximum can be achieved in terms of tactics. The boats should be fast but not at the expense of this, as then it becomes boring to watch. (Look at the last to races, sure it’s doing 30 knots, but it that is all very static to look at if it moves at that speed very controlled in a very straight line with no interaction between the competitors. Better to do 20 knots and have a real cat and dog fight on your hands to get an advantage, much better to watch and more rewarding for the crew.

Me and my family were watching the warming up before Loius Vitton Cup in Nice this autumn. I still believe it does not become better than with those boats. How could the Cup improve to have more sportsmanship?

Pretty much what I said above in term of technical aspects. On all other points of Sportmanship, I think it is difficult to administer that without taking away the intrigue which has always surrounded the America’s cup and which makes it what it is today, and get people like Larry Ellison spent obscene amounts of money to get an old silver cup ,which he then hands to the commodore of his sailing club.

Are all the intrigue and court fights just a part of it? (Unfortunately it has historically been like that, at the end of the day it all ads to the Cups desire to be won. One can argue that it may have been taken to far this time. But that is what the cup does, forever pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

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