On October 27, 2012, one year after I shared the speculations about Steve Job’s unfinished super yacht, his Super Yacht Venus has been unveiled in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands ( a stone’s throw from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport) at the Dutch Royal Feadship De Vries yard.
Reportedly the yacht is operated via 7 Imacs. Very daring, I would say, to trust the software so much to have it reign a super yacht. Although I know Oracle’s Larry Ellison reportedly developed his own software to do same with some of his super yachts.
For quite some time I’d left the America’s Cup for what it was: A court room affair. It was not very clear where they were heading. Returning to them again I see that Larry Ellison who is the defender of record with his team Oracle, has made some clever moves to bring spectacle back to the race courses.
The 34th America’s Cup brings the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport back to the United States: New boats, a new format for the racing and television and web coverage as never before. See the above footage of the current 4th of 6 pre America’s cup series, called the AC World Series of races in uniform 45′ catamarans with wing sails to enable the various crews to train in very fast multi-hulls. There are fleet races as well as match races per venue and there will be a fleetrace champion and a match race champion per venue.
Past events of the AC World Series were in 2011 in Cascays, Portugal, in Plymouth, UK and in San Diego, USA.
In past contests we had Dutch designers involved: The (in)famous wing keel was developed and tested in Delft. Now we have two Dutchman as part of the Oracle Team: Dirk de Ridder and Piet van Nieuwenhuyzen.
New ways of following Sailing Races
Media coverage is fantastic. Here I’ve embedded the summary of last Monday’s race as then the weather conditions were more spectacular for multi-hull racing. One cat even capsized.
With the current new generation of cameras on board of the competing race machines (“boat” would be a “too slow” term for them) and in helicopters and on board of boats around the course, it feels like you are watching a Formula 1 race on land. Never before has it been easier to follow a sailing match.
Races for today are postponed until tomorrow as the wind was too strong in Naples today.
After Naples Venice, Italy, will host the AC World Series May 15-20, 2012 and Newport, Rhode Island, USA, will host the AC World Series June 26 – July 1, 2012
The New 75′AC class will be unveiled soon
Soon the class for the second and third stage, the match racing series for the Louis Vuiton Cup (04 July – 1 September 2013) and the Final Match races between the wi9nner of the Louis Vuiton Cup, who will be the Challenger of record and the Defender of record, will be unveiled: A 72′Catamaran with a wing mainsail. The winner of the Louis Vuiton cup may challenge the defender of record, Team Oracle in SFO Bay 7-22 September 2013.
The general idea is that the boats will be as equal as possible and that speed differences are caused by boat handling and racing experience of the teams only and not influenced by design differences.
The Italian Prada team entered the AC World Series for the first time: It won the final fleet race and with that won the Naples Fleet race Championship. Team Oracle Spithill became second and now leads the Fleetrace pack overall.
The Swedish Artemis team that you can see capsizing in the Monday race, became first in the Napels Match Races Championship. Here are the Naples results:
With the demise of Steve Jobs all sorts of unconfirmed rumors appear as to the whereabouts of his unfinished super yacht, the design of which was commissioned to Philippe Starck a couple of years ago. Apparently Jobs has commisioned Dutch Royal Feadship to build the yacht. According to more rumors currently the hull is in Feadship’s Aalsmeer yard. As usual Feadship remains silent as to their clients details.
Would it look like the above rendering? (via Jameslist)
A tweet coined BMW Oracle aptly Beat My Wing. Why aptly? Because BMW Oracle uses a very high tech new type of wing sail. It looks like an airplane wing and in the upwind leg they even took away their jib and let the wing sail do all the work. Truly amazing technology:
Here you can see the main sail’s wing form. Usually sails are made of one or another soft material, in the early days of sailing it used to be cotton. The BMW Oracle wing has a rigid structure. Like in an airplane wing the aft part can be trimmed separately from the front part to have a proper wing form on either tack. Between the front part and the aft part there is a split that varies according to the trimming and provides a venturi effect like the jib and mainsail split in the more traditional setting.
In an amazing downwind leg that BMW Oracle entered with a 3.26 minute (approximately 1 statutory mile) lead over Alinghi, it simply sailed away from Alinghi with a lower course and a higher speed than Alinghi to win with a ten minutes delta (approximately 3.5 km lead) and then Alinghi had to make a penalty turn, because of a near collision in the dial up to the start when tacking shortly before the start in the way of BOR while BOR clearly had to start luffing before Alinghi had completed its tack.
Another quote: Alinghi’s Sail is Fail, Bor’s Wing is King
Alinghi appear not to have completed their penalty properly and so the final delta is 15 minutes and 28 seconds.
And USA cross the finish line to provisionally win Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup. Delight for the American team and certain vindication in these conditions for the concept of the solid wing sail and the trimaran platform.
Alinghi shedding some water ballast again trying to keep the power on in the lighter conditions. Something like 10 minutes to the finish line.
Hard to judge what the delta will be, but the biggest recent Cup Match margins were in the 27th America’s Cup in 1988, the Deed of Gift ‘mis-match’, when USA’s Stars and Stripes consecutively defeated New Zealand’s KZ1 by 18 minutes and 15 seconds and then 21 minutes and 10 seconds.
Over half way down the downwind leg now.
USA extending all the time, sailing deeper and faster all the time than Alinghi who are now 3440 metres behind. Certainly the consensus at the moment is that the power and efficiency of the BMW ORACLE Racing Team wing is actually more telling downwind.
So USA is making 26 knots downwind and seem to consistently be able to fly their windward hulls for longer, peaking now at 28.5 knots of boat speed. Wind speed at the finish is eight knots at 160 degrees. And great work from Harold Bennett and his crew getting this race away, a great spectacle.
Alinghi gybe first, USA respond almost immediately. USA leading by 2980 metres or so.
And USA peak speed there is around 25 knots as they spear deeper and faster ‘downind’ than Alinghi in a puff, and as soon as they get their bow lower and sail faster than Alinghi for any length of time then their gains multiply. Now over 2000 metres of lead to USA. Big changes in course as the apparent wind builds and the leader powers up, Jimmy Spithill USA helmsman bringing the bow down and sailing deep and fast. Alinghi pressing well too.
So net on that upwind leg BMW Oracle pulled back something around 5 minutes on Alinghi, including that initial deficit.