Team USA. BMW Oracle training off San Diego. The crew wear crash helmets. Divers and paramedics follow in the chase boats. They've hit 50 knots (57 mph ).
Mast is 18 stories high. They've ordered a taller one. They can send a crewman up inside the mast to perform maintenance.
They can tilt the mast to windward 18 degrees with hydraulics. The mainsheet load is 100 tons.
As long as it is wide. 90' x 90'
The Swiss Defender. Training on lake Geneva. They picked a catamaran 90' x 90'
Flying a hull on day 2 after christening. Check out these "S" shaped centerboards.
Stern shot - 90 feet on the waterline. Quickly running out of sea room at 40 knots.
The centerboards can pivot and act as hydrofoils when lowered and lift the leeward hull out of the water. In theory.
What? The shackle is missing?
I think we need a bigger lake.
Off to Genoa, Italy. That's a Russian helicopter that can lift up to 40 tons. It carries a crew of 16. The boat weighs only 8,000 lbs.
Up, Up! Come on baby!
Here come the Alps!
Crossing the St Bernard's Pass.
Comrade, this must be Italy.
I think I see the restaurant!
This must be the place. Genoa on the left.
Splashdown! OK, who forgot to pack the mast?
They came for six weeks and stayed 16 months.
A touch of the America's Cup will return to San Diego this autumn, I know because I am there and ready to go. When BMW Oracle Racing ships its massive trimaran here for two months of training on the Pacific Ocean. BMW Oracle Racing plans to send the boat, which measures 90 feet by 90 feet (27 meters by 27 meters), by barge from Anacortes, Washington to San Diego this month. It expects to be training by the second week of October. The trimaran, with a space-age look and a mast, boom and mainsail that dwarf its crew, was launched in late August and has been undergoing its first round of sea trials on Puget Sound. They came for six weeks and stayed 16 months. But it is time for the BMW Oracle team to leave San Diego in its quest for the America's Cup. After one more week on the water off Point Loma, the San Francisco-based challengers will close their San Diego Bay training base to the west of the Convention Center and head to the site of the actual races. Departing will be the most advanced piece of sailing machinery ever seen in these - and likely in any other - waters. Now outfitted with a wing that is larger than that found on a 747, the BMW Oracle trimaran - which measures 90 feet in waterline length with a 90-foot beam - is capable of sailing three times the speed of the wind. At times, the boat, nicknamed the "BOR," has hit speeds of 40 knots. Incredible is the only word to describe the BOR. But it was designed and built for one purpose - to win the America's Cup in the most litigious challenge in the event's 158-year history. The court proceedings of this America's Cup make the contentious 1988 battle between New Zealand and San Diego Yacht Club a competition among close friends. And it's not quite over. The actual site of the defense won't be decided until tomorrow when a New York Supreme Court judge rules on the final appeal from the defending Alinghi team. But the site appears to be Valencia, Spain, with the first race scheduled for Feb 8th although that, too, could change. The sides are talking, finally, about mutually delaying the start of the one-on-one Deed of Gift match and extending the required best 2-of-3 series to a best 4-of-7. Whenever, the next America's Cup will match the winged, 90-foot BOR trimaran against the Alinghi soft-sail catamaran - which is currently back in the shed to be modified to meet the maximum 90-foot waterline length or add a second mast to comply with its present overall length of around 110 feet. And while many America's Cup fans have been turned off by the events of the past three years, my guess is that this match will be compelling to watch once the boats are on the water. "This could be a fabulous race," BMW Oracle skipper Russell Coutts - yes, the skipper who removed the America's Cup from San Diego in 1995 - said Saturday. "These will be two really cool boats dueling it out. No doubt, the court cases have hurt people's connection to the event. But once the sailing gets on, the technology alone will create great interest." This will be a better match than the 1988 romp of Dennis Conner's catamaran over Michael Fay's monohull. A Hobie cat would have won that match. "This is all about technology," said Coutts of the approaching match. "The fastest boat will win. A real America's Cup is determined by the best use of resources, time, people and technology. This is all about technology. It's going to be really interesting." Coutts warns not to sell Alinghi short in this match. "We have tremendous respect for their team," said Coutts, who skippered the Alinghi boat that first won the America's Cup in New Zealand.
"We have less respect for the actions of their top people. It is puzzling that they would try to fix the rules to this extent when they have such a good team". Whether the winner is BMW Oracle (soon to be rechristened USA) or Alinghi, Coutts believes this match, as interesting as it might be, does not represent a sustainable direction for the America's Cup. "Whoever wins, it will be crazy if they haven't learned any lessons from the past three years," Coutts said. "We have to find the correct way forward to connect to the majority of people. If not, we're doomed. "An America's Cup should have 10 to 15 competitive teams. That can't happen with these boats."
"This America's Cup represents a short-term big hit for the event," said Tom Ehman of Oracle. "Everyone is frustrated. Everyone is confused. But the wing has been magic for interest. The race will not be boring." In another unusual twist, this America's Cup may have gotten San Diego back into the international event.
Team BMW Oracle boss Larry Ellison and his team so enjoyed their stay here that San Diego could become the semi-permanent training base for the operation in future America's Cups.
That might also lead Ellison to champion San Diego, which hosted three America's Cups leading up to the actual America's Cup. From 1988-95, as a stop on the Louis Vuitton tour of America's Cup Class regattas.