Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Wind stopped play

No racing again, but this time because of too much wind, just over 30 knots of it. It's either too much or too little. Shades of Auckland 02/03 perhaps? Disappointing all round for sailors, spectators and sponsors.

If TV is as vital to the Cup as we are told, then something has to change. So what's the answer? The same as when it was blowing 3 knots. A canting keel Super Maxi, capable of racing in anything from 3 to 33 knots, quite capable of sailing in a good deal more.

But - the argument goes, you'd have to massively overbuild the boats to make them man enough for the nasty stuff. 'Overbuilt' is a bad word because it's a byword for 'slow'. So here's a video of a boat that's sufficiently
overbuilt to be able to withstand the rigours of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Seeing as its sistership Wild Oats has won the last two Hobarts, there's no disputing the Reichel-Pugh/McConaghy pedigree. The boat is as overbuilt as it needs to be. A Valencian swell like we saw today would be no sweat. But what would it be like in a good, solid 10-12 knots? After all, those are the perfect conditions for a finely tuned, delicately balanced ACC boat.

Well, take a look for yourself. The boat in the video (and the photo above) is Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo, just minutes after the start of last year's Rolex Middle Sea Race. As you watch the video [shot by my flatmate in Valencia, the inimitable Andrea Falcon], ask yourself if the words 'overbuilt' or 'slow' come to mind....

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