New York offered up a little bit of everything for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series over the weekend. Breeze reportedly ranged from nothing to 20 knots and shifted in a wide arc between west and north; the tricky, powerful, south-flowing Hudson River current was a game changer. "It was one of those series where everyone had good luck and bad luck, but we got our good luck at the end of the regatta," said Emirates Team New Zealand’s Aussie skipper Glenn Ashby. "It was exciting and crazy at the same time."
The current overpowered the breeze on Saturday, and the only race completed was a late ‘substitute race’, the score of which would only count if Sunday’s conditions prevented racing. (Team SoftBank Japan, skippered by Kiwi Dean Barker, won.) As it turned out, Sunday was the better day and the substitute race wasn’t needed.
Having hooked the startline buoy’s anchor rode, the ETNZ crew was literally dead in the water at the start of Race 3 on Sunday. Trimmer Blair Tuke jumped into the water to unhook the line from the AC45F’s rudder. The buoy punctured the cat’s port hull, and water was leaking in throughout the race. "We saw the buoy coming at us with about 20 seconds to go," said Ashby. "It wasn’t ideal, but we were lucky in the end."
The Kiwi team rounded the last windward mark fifth out of six teams, about 42 seconds behind leading SoftBank Team Japan. But as all the crews began the downwind leg they sailed into a patch of no wind that engulfed the course. The leg was perpendicular to the current, and Land Rover BAR, Groupama Team France and SoftBank Team Japan were penalized when they were swept over the course boundary. The Kiwis, farther back, held in the middle of the course; when the wind filled in they took off foiling at 16-20 knots of boatspeed, leaving the rest of the fleet gasping in disbelief.
As one might expect from the biggest city in the country, crowds turned out in massive numbers, reaching an estimated 100,000 on Sunday. "The crowd was insane," said Jimmy Spithill, skipper of second-place Oracle Team USA. "Today was great for the fans."
See www.americascup.com for much more, and if you missed seeing the action this weekend, you watch the highlights on NBC at 11 a.m. PDT on Saturday, May 21.
If the name Manouch Moshayedi sounds familiar to our readers, it should. The Newport Beach-based sailor owns and skippers the Bakewell-White 100 Rio100. But he’s also keen on a design that’s half the size of Rio. "Last year my friend Victor Wild, the owner of the 2006 TP52 Bud, decided to upgrade to a newer version and searched around for a 2011 boat, but after meeting with Gavin Brady, he decided to build a new boat instead," writes Moshayedi.
"Cookson’s in New Zealand had already built a 2015 boat that was designed by Botin Partners and one that was designed by Judel/Vrolijk, so they had the molds available. Gavin had built a second boat at Cookson’s out of the Botin mold for another owner, so building a third boat was quite easy, and they proceeded to build a new boat for Victor called Fox." The new boat arrived in San Diego at the end of March.
Moshayedi discussed the boats with a few other owners. "By talking to Gavin, the builders and suppliers, we discovered that if we buy all the materials in bulk we could save almost 30% off the cost of a new boat, and therefore we went forward with getting the specs and pricing together."
The boats will be based on the latest design by Judel/Vrolijk. "There are some improvements over the boats in the SuperSeries in the Med that we have made specifically for California sailing, including taller masts, larger mains, larger jibs, larger spinnakers and lighter displacement," explains Manouch. "These boats were designed with offshore racing in mind to make them more waterproof. All the sheets and lines are placed on deck and, to prevent leaking, don’t penetrate the deck; the hull will have foamcore which is more suitable than Nomex for offshore and deliveries."
Moshayedi believes that the new boats will be faster upwind, faster reaching and faster downwind than the TP52s that race in the Med. "There is absolutely no better racing than on a TP52," he says. "Racing these boats on a boat-for-boat basis is extremely exciting. This is the best way to race — just bring your boat and whoever gets to the finish line first is also first in class.
The SoCal owners are planning for six inshore regattas per year plus two offshore races as a class. Rolex Big Boat Series will be on the regular yearly agenda of the fleet, and they might also race their boats as a class in Key West Race Week.
"We have set up the rules so we could race these boats more cost-effectively than in the SuperSeries by limiting the number of paid crew on board and the number of sails that could be purchased every year. Our class will also be strictly for owner-drivers," says Moshayedi.
Cookson’s is building two boats, and Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai is building one. They should all arrive in California during March 2017. Among the new owners are Frank Slootman of Invisible Hand fame and Moshayedi himself, who added, "We are actively looking for any other owners who would also order boats. Our goal is to build a fleet of at least 10 boats on the West Coast, and I think once people find out that there are already four here doing boat-for-boat racing, there’ll be interest from others."
Even though they come from TP52 molds, the new boats can’t be called that. "We don’t have a license to use that name, as it belongs to the guys in the Mediterranean. Go figure — Transpac boats in the Med but not in California. We’ve chosen ‘Pacific 52’ as the name of our boats and fleet." Or, ‘Pac52’ for short.
If you’re in the habit of reading race results in Latitude 38, the name Gordie Nash should be familiar. He’s the guy who took a chainsaw to the bow of an old Santana 27 in 2006, then used ultra-modern composite materials and techniques to transform the vintage hull into a modern speedster. Since then, Gordie and his wife Ruth Suzuki have campaigned Arcadia with remarkable success.
Are you curious about composites? If so, you’ll want to attend a special hands-on program with Gordie this Saturday (May 14) at Sausalito’s Spaulding Marine Center from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. "The workshop will cover the various types of cloth, core materials and resins used in the marine industry," explains Spaulding’s director, Bill Edinger. "Gordie will focus on the practical application of composites, giving the boat owner or shipwright a better understanding of the choice of materials and how to use them successfully."
We don’t often hear of instructional sessions being offered on composites and their use, so we would encourage you to register in advance here if you’re interested. Lunch will be included in the program, and a $50 donation to the nonprofit is requested.