America's Cup teams foil themselves with rules
DUNCAN JOHNSTONE IN SAN FRANCISCO
The blame for the time limit that cost Team New Zealand an early America's Cup celebration has been placed with the hi-tech catamarans and their teams.
It seems these cats can quickly become a dog when winds don't co-operate.
Regatta organisers came under fire for their short-sightedness when Aotearoa's inevitable march to glory on Saturday was called off as the 40-minute race limit came with them in sight of the finish line.
Adding to criticism was the fact that the race was sailed in about 8 knots of wind when the lowest allowable wind is 5 knots - questioning the logic of ever being able to complete a race in that lower range.
Regatta director Iain Murray said that limit had been set by unanimous agreement among the teams in June last year based on their performance expectations at the time.
He believed under the original configurations, the AC72s would have been able to get around the course in that time.
But with the advent of foiling, everything had changed - except teams bothering to ask to alter the lower limit.
Murray pointed out that the appendages that make the huge cats lift out of the water - their curved foils - were a hindrance to speed when they were submerged, effecting drag which slowed the boats down.
"All those bits down there that make them foil, slow the boats down immensely when they are not foiling. That's probably the principle reason whey they can't get around the course in 7-8 knots of winds," Murray said.
"That's not the doing of the race committee, that's the doing of the teams and that's the development of the boats specific to the conditions."
So it appears the teams foiled themselves, forgetting to make rule adjustments to match performance adjustments.
"I'm sure there was immense disappointment not only in New Zealand but also on the New Zealand boat," Murray said.
"The rules are the rules, we didn't make them, they were made by the teams and the teams have to abide by them.
"It has happened plenty of times in the past. There have been time limits always in the America's Cup, often races haven't finished in time."
- © Fairfax NZ News