America’s Cup History: How did this yacht race become one of the the world’s iconic sporting events?
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I operated The African Queen as the VIP hospitality boat for Team Shosholoza from April to July 2007 during the Act 13 fleet races, the Louis Vuitton Cup and the 32nd America’s Cup Match. This was a very cool project. I worked my butt off – charter the boat, decorate her, sell the tickets, give the VIP Guest Briefing at the Shosholoza base and, most fun of all, do the commentary on the water. My first question to guests: “Has anyone ever been on a sailboat before?” About 20% would raise hands. Among them experienced racing sailors including an AC winners and at least one Olympic gold medalist. I learned how to entertain them all, without dumbing it down. Great fun!
America’s Cup hospitality – race boat Shosholoza comes by the African Queen to give guests a close look.
Before boarding, African Queen guests enjoyed the coolest rooftop at the 32nd America’s Cup.
African Queen guests got the backstage tour at Team Shosholoza in the America’s Cup village in Valencia.
Shosholoza won a lot of races including a victory over Luna Rossa, helmed by a certain Jimmy Spithill, in the LVC Round Robin on 24 April 2007 in the lead up to the 32nd America’s Cup Match.
We didn’t will all the races, but we never lost a party. When the wind was too light to race, we cranked up our music and soon attracted the Race Committee and other boats who came over to listen.
Spectator boat traffic could be heavy!
All the Spaniards wanted to get next to Desafio Espanol the day she won a race against ETNZ in LVC semis
Shosholoza racing Emirates Team New Zealand – pre-start action.
Why did TNZ bowman Winston Macfarlane fall overboard?
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Because the winch handle broke. Have a look at about 17 seconds into this video. Winston was sprinting across the net, and threw all his weight into grinding. Unfortunately the material wasn’t up to the load. A trimmer on another team told me they break winch handles pretty regularly.
The AC45s will stay on their moorings during the Cascais America’s Cup World Series, but I caught these pictures for you before racing began.Green Comm Racing “steps” their AC45 wingmast in Cascais
The wing sits on this small ball so it can pivot…
Mast “step” for AC45. So the wing can pivot…
That black arm (in the middle of the red and white stripes) controls “twist” in the top of the wing… (note the wing structure, too)
And here is the control system at the foot of the wing…
Foot of the wingmast of AC45
And a closeup…
Closeup of AC45 wingmast controls
And sometimes you need to slice out a panel to work on the controls inside the wing… The surgery was a success – Spithill finished first in all 3 races today (but was DSQ in the first race).
Jimmy Spithill’s wing opened up for minor surgery.
The main controls on the wing are for camber and twist. Think of the flaps on an airplane wing – “flaps down” adds camber giving more lift, like for takeoff. (More on camber.) Twist: Imagine holding the ends of a plastic ruler and twisting it. When you twist a wingmast you can reduce the power. Remember that these boats are supposed to race in 3 to 33 knots of wind. Sometimes you need to reduce power…
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