How technology won the America’s Cup: this 1 hour IPENZ lecture, hosted by Beca, was presented by two America’s Cup engineers who explained the technology behind the revolutionary AC72 boats and how Oracle made a miraculous comeback from 8-1 to 9-8, clawing back Team New Zealand’s lead to defy the odds and win.
Hear about the lessons learnt from each team in the 2013 America’s Cup series, rated as the best ever by rival Kiwi design engineers Andy Kensington, from Emirates Team New Zealand, and Neil Wilkinson, from Oracle Team US, as they toured the country visiting Whangarei, Tauranga, Dunedin, New Plymouth, Auckland and Napier in this IPENZ Centenary lecture from May 06 to May 22 2014.
Few people in the sailing world are sharper than Paul Bieker, a soft-spoken Seattle-based naval architect who has spent his career designing a wide variety of sailing vessels, from super-quick I-14s and his one-off line of ‘Riptide’ racer/cruisers, to America’s Cup yachts. Bieker is one of the core designers credited with ‘super-charging’ Oracle Team USA’s ‘USA 17’ last September, changes that helped the American-flagged team to successfully pull-off one of sports history’s greatest comebacks to defend the 34th America’s Cup. Yet pull up a seat on the rail next to Bieker-as I’ve been fortunate enough to do on many occasions aboard our mutual friend’s Riptide 44-and it quickly becomes obvious that Bieker’s horizons extends far beyond racecourse designs.
Take, for example, the day that he brought our crew lunch. Each sandwich was individually wrapped in brown recycled paper and was hand-tied with a bit of hemp twine in an effort to reduce landfill fodder.
Few people in the sailing world are sharper than Paul Bieker, a soft-spoken Seattle-based naval architect who has spent his career designing a wide variety of sailing vessels, from super-quick I-14s and his one-off line of ‘Riptide’ racer/cruisers, to America’s Cup yachts.
Bieker is one of the core designers credited with ‘super-charging’ Oracle Team USA’s ‘USA 17’ last September, changes that helped the American-flagged international team to successfully pull-off one of sports history’s greatest comebacks to defend the 34th America’s Cup.
The winds on San Francisco Bay started kicking up in the late morning. Before long, they were blowing more than 20 miles an hour.
Jimmy Spithill and his 10 teammates put on their crash helmets and flotation vests and climbed aboard the AC72, a menacing, 13-story black catamaran capable of near-highway speeds. As a powerboat pulled them into the bay for Race 5 of the 2013 America’s Cup, Mr. Spithill shot a glance at the Golden Gate Bridge. It was shrouded in fog.
Jimmy Spithill in front of San Francisco Bay on Feb. 3, 2014. Drew Kelly for The Wall Street Journal
An unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling was tugging at him. Mr. Spithill, skipper of …
So the boys at Oracle Racing built themselves the fastest AC72 in the galaxy, and they learned how to sail it, just in time. Otherwise we wouldn’t be speculating about another Cup-n-SF vs. San Diego, Long Beach, Newport, Hawaii.
Platform aerodynamics, I think, made the difference between the American boat and the Kiwi boat.” Tom Speer, wing designer, Oracle Racing
We could have titled this, Six Extra Feet of Wing, But Do You Know How to Use It?
The way “Fresh” Burns tells the story, and he should know, having been head of performance for Oracle Team USA, there were multiple turning points in Oracle’s desperate, early losing days of the San Francisco America’s Cup. The American boat was losing on every tack, every gybe. Then the Mere Grinders came to the Mighty Chiefs and said something like, “Look, we can tell when the boards are loaded and when they’re not loaded. Why don’t we try moving them when they’re not loaded?”
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