Photos: OTUSA speed mods

Even in the midst of the competition, the teams continue to develop their boats with modifications to make them faster.

America's Cup In Race 1 OTUSA used daggerboards with the winglets set at an acute angle to the main board. This makes foiling more stable but has more drag.
In Race 1 OTUSA used daggerboards with the winglets set at an acute angle to the main board. This makes foiling more stable but has more drag.
America's Cup OTUSA in Race 1 with the longer bowsprit. Notice the kingpost below the corner of the jib, and the stay from the bottom of the kingpost to the end of the bowsprit.
OTUSA in Race 1 with the longer bowsprit. Notice the kingpost below the corner of the jib, and the stay from the bottom of the kingpost to the end of the bowsprit.
America's Cup Race 8 OTUSA
By Race 8 OTUSA had made modifications to the boat including replacing the long bowsprit that could carry a gennaker with a shorter one. This eliminated the weight and drag of the bowsprit plus a kingpost and a stay. Different daggerboards have the winglets set at an obtuse angle to the main board. This gives less drag, making the boat faster, but it is less stable and harder to sail.

Momentum shifted back to ETNZ in Race 10

Dean Barker led ETNZ back to winning ways in Race 10 in perhaps the most hard fought race in America’s Cup history. During the race, each team tacked seven times and gybed seven times. On the upwind leg, the boats met seven times and the lead changed three times.

OTUSA’s top speed in the race was an incredible 44.98 knots! ETNZ hit a top speed of 43.01 knots.

“It was very important to bounce back after the first race; the Oracle boat sailed a great race and gave us no opportunities,” said Barker. “The second race was close across the first reach; they touched the water once, which gave us the lead at the mark. We felt strong at the bottom mark but they sailed a good upwind leg and were right there at the top.”

Watch the video of the pre-start and first leg.

Look carefully during the first leg and you’ll see the splash when OTUSA came off the foils and touched down. That allowed ETNZ to get an overlap and rights to the inside lane at the mark. Without the overlap, OTUSA would have been able to shut the door on ETNZ at the mark.  … and the outcome of the race might have been very different!
Video: ACTV

Oracle led from start to finish in Race 9

America's Cup Skipper Jimmy Spithill did a masterful job in the pre-start, gaining a position to leeward of Emirates Team New Zealand late in the 2-minute sequence and preventing the Kiwis from entering the racecourse.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill did a masterful job in the pre-start, gaining a position to leeward of Emirates Team New Zealand late in the 2-minute sequence and preventing the Kiwis from entering the racecourse. Spithill and crew led at the first mark by 4 seconds and then sped away from the challenger, gaining time on every leg of the course with their new found boatspeed.

Watch the pre-start:
Video: ACTV

All images below: ACTV

America's Cup The port tack boat, OTUSA, may enter the start box 10 seconds ahead of the starboard tack boat, ETNZ.
The port tack boat, OTUSA, may enter the start box 10 seconds ahead of the starboard tack boat, ETNZ.
America's Cup ETNZ turns to follow OTUSA. Both boats still going away from the starting line.
ETNZ turns to follow OTUSA. Both boats still going away from the starting line.
America's Cup OTUSA starts their turn back to the starting line. The yellow line is the "layline" to the downwind end of the starting line. If you sail below that, normally you would be slow or need to tack twice to get back to the starting line.
OTUSA starts their turn back to the starting line. The yellow line is the “layline” to the downwind end of the starting line. If you sail below that, normally you would be slow or need to tack twice to get back to the starting line.
America's Cup With under 30 seconds to go, both boats are below the layline.
With under 30 seconds to go, both boats are below the layline.
America's Cup There was a strong ebb tide (the blue arrows) that carried the boats back above the lay line.
There was a strong ebb tide (the blue arrows) that carried the boats back above the lay line.
America's Cup The tide has carried both boats back above the layline and OTUSA has control, as the leeward (right of way) boat. With the clock showing one second it's clear both will be late to the line, but in match racing that is not important.
The tide has carried both boats back above the layline and OTUSA has control, as the leeward (right of way) boat. With the clock showing one second it’s clear both will be late to the line, but in match racing that is not important.
America's Cup The gun has gone off - notice that the LiveLine graphics have turned the start line white.  Spithill in OTUSA is luffing Barker in ETNZ to hold him away from the line.
The gun has gone off – notice that the LiveLine graphics have turned the start line white. Spithill in OTUSA is luffing Barker in ETNZ to hold him away from the line.
America's Cup Spithill has turned towards Mark 1 and speeds off, over 6 knots faster and well ahead of Barker. ETNZ was never able to recover and OTUSA led the race from start to finish.
Spithill has turned towards Mark 1 and speeds off, over 6 knots faster and well ahead of Barker. ETNZ was never able to recover and OTUSA led the race from start to finish.

 

Score: New Zealand 7 – USA 1

Racing has been close, and OTUSA has found new speed and won three races. But their two point penalty from the International Jury means they still need to win eight to keep the Cup, while ETNZ needs only two more wins to take it back to Auckland.

Nine points are required to win the America’s Cup Match.

Momentum shift in Race 8?

OTUSA continues to modify their boat, searching for speed. On Saturday 14 September they seem to have found a faster configuration. They removed the longer bowsprit since they do not use their big downwind sail, the gennaker, in the strong winds we have been seeing. During the press conference, skipper Jimmy Spithill said there were other changes we cannot see, and more changes yet to come.

Video: ACTV

 

America's Cup A good view of the shorter bowsprit on OTUSA

A good view of the shorter bowsprit on OTUSA. They were faster upwind and more efficient when tacking in Race 8. Have they found the formula to grab the winning momentum away from ETNZ?

ETNZ had been consistently stronger on the upwind legs with more speed and better crew work in the tacks. In racing on Thursday 12 September, they gained over 50 seconds on the upwind leg in each of Race 6 and Race 7. (The America’s Cup race course has only one upwind leg.)

But OTUSA may now have shifted the momentum of the Match by winning Saturday’s Race 8. For the first time Oracle was faster than the Kiwis upwind, and their crew work looked much sharper. Will they be able to keep winning on Sunday 15 September?

Dramatic crew change for Oracle Team USA

America's Cup tactician John Kostecki

Oracle Team USA removed tactician John Kostecki from their lineup following Race 5. Four time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie replaced Kostecki. OTUSA had been leading Race 5 when a tactical mistake at the first leeward gate set the stage for the Kiwis to take the lead about halfway up the beat to windward.

Photo: Balasz Gardi

America's Cup gold medal winner Ben Ainslie

Bringing four time gold medal winner Ben Ainslie on board as tactician did not end Oracle’s problems – they lost both Race 6 and Race 7 on Thursday 12 September.

Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

Near capsize in Race 8

Emirates Team New Zealand nearly capsized in Race 8 on Saturday 14 September. A tacking duel between ETNZ and Oracle Team USA produced the most dramatic moment of the America’s Cup. ETNZ, on port tack, tried to tack in front of OTUSA but did not have enough hydraulic pressure to change the camber in their wing from port to starboard. OTUSA, with right of way, needed to make a quick maneuver to avoid the Kiwi boat, resulting in a penalty on the Kiwis. OTUSA took over the lead and extended to take the win by 52 seconds – over 1,000 meters.

Video: ACTV

ETNZ skipper Dean Barker explains how they nearly capsized

Score: New Zealand 6 – USA 0

Emirates Team New Zealand has won six races and scored six points. Oracle Team USA has won two races but that just erased their two penalty points, bringing them to zero.

Nine points are required to win the America’s Cup Match.

Oracle Team USA penalized for cheating

Just days before the start of the America’s Cup Match, Oracle Team USA was penalized two points and one of their key sailors, wing trimmer Dirk de Ridder, was excluded from all activities in the 34th America’s Cup. The two point penalty means the first two races OTUSA wins in the America’s Cup Match will not count in the points. OTUSA will need to win 11 races to score the nine points needed to win the America’s Cup. Emirates Team New Zealand is unaffected – they still need to win nine races to score nine points.

The penalties were given because the team sailed with illegally modified AC45’s during the AC World Series. Read a more detailed explanation here.

Photos and more info here.

Oracle Team USA lost Race 5 after leading

America's Cup OTUSA made tactical errors that allowed the Kiwis to gain the lead

Tactical mistakes and poor tacking cost the race. After a strong start gave them the early lead, OTUSA made tactical errors that allowed the Kiwis to gain the lead and extend to win easily. A foiling tack at the downwind gate turned out to be a poor choice, as it gave New Zealand a chance to take the lead.

America's Cup OTUSA showed her speed to take a solid lead at Mark 1.
OTUSA showed her speed to take a solid lead at Mark 1.
America's Cup At the downwind gate OTUSA attempted a foiling tack, turning 180° and losing most of their speed
At the downwind gate OTUSA attempted a foiling tack, turning 180° and losing most of their speed. Later on the upwind leg they made tactical errors that caused commentator Gary Jobson to describe the boat as “total confusion.”

More photos and an analysis of the race here.

Video of Race 5 highlights.

America’s Cup defender penalized for cheating

 

Oracle Team USA wins America's Cup World Series - San Francisco
Oracle Team USA wins America’s Cup World Series – San Francisco

 

America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA loses two points in the “first to nine” America’s Cup Match

Oracle Team USA will lose the first two points they score in the America’s Cup Match. This means they would need to win 11 races to score the nine points needed to win the America’s Cup Match. Emirates Team New Zealand still needs to win nine races to score nine points and to win the Match.

America’s Cup sailor penalties – even worse than the lost points?

OTUSA’s key sailor, wing trimmer Dirk de Ridder, is forbidden to sail and is excluded from all activities for the remainder of this America’s Cup. This may be even more significant than losing two points. The team work between the helmsman and the wing trimmer is crucial – the helmsman has the steering wheel and the wing trimmer controls the accelerator.

Additional penalties for the America’s Cup defender

But wait, there’s more…   Sailor Matt Mitchell must sit out the first four races. Two members of the shore crew – Andrew Walker and Bryce Ruthenberg are  excluded from all activities. The team must pay a $250,000 fine.

Why were penalties assessed? Why in the America’s Cup?

  • Racing a modified “one design” AC45 is forbidden. It does not matter if the modification actually improved performance or reliability.
  • Even though the AC45s are not raced in the America’s Cup Match, the America’s Cup World Series was defined in the Protocol as being part of the America’s Cup Event. The Protocol also requires each team “use its best efforts” to avoid “any act or conduct” … “that may impair public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of the America’s Cup.
  • The Protocol empowers the Jury to order the loss of existing or future points, scores or races”
Cheating in America's Cup 2013. Oracle Team USA added weight and used illegal parts in their "one design" AC45 yacht.
Cheating scandal AC45 2013.  Diagram from the jury’s report on penalties

Background and details

An international jury found that Oracle Team USA illegally modified their AC45 catamarans for the America’s Cup World Series. The “kingposts” of OTUSA’s AC45 catamarans were lengthened, reinforced and had weight added, all illegal under the strict “one design” rule for the AC45. (Note that the AC72 catamarans used in the America’s Cup are not one design and different rules apply to determine if an AC72 complies with the AC72 Class Rule.)

By putting weight in the kingposts instead of in the “permitted zone” shown in the diagram above, OTUSA may have improved their performance since the weight forward would lift the stern – an advantage in lighter winds.

Evidence presented to the Jury showed that lengthening the kingpost would improve performance by increasing headstay tension and allowing better sail shapes, especially upwind. Lengthening the kingpost  “spigot” as shown in the photo below would increase reliability and add weight. 

America's Cup - AC45 yacht - forward kingpost
America’s Cup – AC45 yacht – forward kingpost

Full foiling gybes on AC72

Emirates Team New Zealand sets the standard in the AC72. Watch them complete a gybe while staying up on the foils.

Video:  ACTV

Here is an amateur video of Oracle Team USA foiling through a gybe while training.

Video:  John Navas

In the same video you can see footage of Artemis training yesterday, Tuesday 30 July 2013.