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Rail Meat

How we got here

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So with any modern AC campaign, your team has to have mutliple disciplines that each dominate in their particular focus and also work well together in a coordinated fashion. In fact, I count 11 different disciplines that must work together for a team to achieve victory.

 

I think many people might agree with me that one of the reasons that Alinghi has won in the past is because all of those parts worked well together for their team and each aced their area of focus. People might also agree that BMW Oracle has lost in the past because some (but not all) of the disciplines failed at their job and the overall coordination was poor.

 

So, how have the two teams done this time? Alinghi kept many of the same players around and had the benefit of continuity. BMW Oracle rebuilt and retooled, bringing RC in to run the program in a CEO function. What were the results? Or as I might say in my line of work, what was the return on investment?

 

  • Coordination / Collaboration - I put this discipline first, since I think it is where BMW Oracle has failed in the past and since I think in the modern Cup world it is the most important. Alinghi has done a credible job of continuing the well run organization that they have had for the past 3 Cup cycles. No known infighting, no break in the ranks and everything gets done when it needs to get done. I see two failings this time around: They did seem to fumble the coordination and response activities in the months of November and December when all of the legal findings were going against them. Also, they seem to have let EB and Lucien make some ill founded and poor decisions with regard to challenger and protocol that ended up leading them into this mess, and then some poor decisions about making no compromises in the interest of a Mutual Challenge. I think those were ultimately decisions driven by ego, were flawed and in a well organized team they could and should have been subject to review and the ability to be over ruled. Oracle on the other hand has done a 180 degree turn around. From the bickering, screaming mess they were in prior cups, they are now a well oiled machine. No known infighting, a massively complex design that was delivered (again and again) in very fast order, plenty of water time, a coordinated attack on the legal, design, building and PR fronts.... I find it hard to find fault in their organizational activities this time around. What changed? RC, and LE being comfortable with his leadership. Bottom line: BMW Oracle slightly beats Alinghi.
  • Owner Commitment - Almost equal to the discipline of leadership is the ability and willingness to make the kind of fiscal commitment coupled with fast and decisive decisions necessary to allow a team to explore every opportunity and take advantage of those that make sense. In this regard, Larry has been incredible in this cycle. No expense spared, and decisions made with lighting speed from what we can see from the outside. Ernie has also been incredible. He has commited what seems to be his entire life to this cycle, with near constant presence and focus. He also has commited unbelievable resources to the effort, probably more impressive than Larry's commitment only because in the world of relative wealth he probably has less than Larry's wealth. I can find fault with the decisions that he made, but in general he made those decisions (good or bad) in good speed. Bottom Line: A nod to Alinghi.
  • Overall Decision Making - BMW Oracle has consistently made good decisions during this cycle. They maximized the advantages that they did have, created advantages where they had none, and have made very few miss steps that I can see. Alinghi, on the other hand, has given away virtually every advantage they had under the Deed through a series of bad decisions, starting with the creation of CNEV. Other bad decisions included misjudging Larry's will and capacity to fight on every front to win this cycle, their poor decision to pick a non-Deed compliant venue of RAK, and their failure to cut a Mutual Consent deal while they still had some bargaining power. Bottom Line: BMW Oracle beats the pants off of Alinghi.
  • Boat Design: What can I say that has not already been said? Each team took a different approach to the problem and both came up with magnificent machines. BMW Oracle had the disadvantage of not knowing the venue and had to overdesign as as a result. Alinghi took their advantage and underdesigned. Then Alinghi screwed up the venue advantage and had it turned around on them to BMW Oracle's favor by being forced to Valencia which then forced them to play games with wind and wave limits. None of that, however, is the fault (or credit) of the design teams who worked with what they were given in the way of location guidance. What leads me to give the tip of the hat to BMW Oracle is that they took their platform and constantly refined it as the venue issues started to sort them selves out... a continuous improvement design cycle. I did not see the same from Alinghi. Bottom Line: Slight favor towards BMW Oracle.
  • Boat Building - Wow. Both teams have created unbelievable machines in unbelievable time frames. Hard to pick a favorite here. Each had breakages, but neither was allowed to slow down the teams for very long. Both have beautiful finish quality, and are amazing. Bottom Line: Its a draw.
  • Sail Making: Oh dear. Other than the lousy legal decisions that led to Alinghi frittering away all of its advantages from the Deed, I think this Cup will be looked upon as the one that was won by the sails. Alinghi's decision to use sails formed in Miden Nevada, versus BMW Oracle's design and build of the Wing. The Wing has done wonders to nullify the light air advantages of Alinghi's design, and allows them to dominate the heavier air. Plus it is damn cool, and allows them to grab alot of the PR air time. Bottom Line: BMW Oracle in a horizon job over Alinghi.
  • Base Logistics - To the outside observer, each team has done an excellent job at base logistics. BMW Oracle built in Anacortes, assembled in San Diego, trained in San Diego, transported to Valencia, reassembled in Valencia, and trained in Valencia. Alinghi built in Switzerland, assembled in Switzerland, trained in Switzerland, transported to Genoa (via helicopter, no less!), trained in Genoa, transported to RAK, trained in RAK, transported to Valencia, and trained in Valencia. In both teams cases, the bases seemed to run well, were well organized, security was tight and the mission was accomplished. Bottom Line: Nod to Alinghi since they had to set up and run in 4 locations while BMW Oracle did it in 3 locations.
  • Legal - Ah, where is your sixth best legal team when you need them? From a simple count of the motions won by BMW Oracle versus the motions won by Alinghi, this is a simple one to assess. BMW Oracle took a little bit of time to hit their stride in this discipline, but once they did it was game over for Alinghi lawyers. Of course, I don't envy Alinghi's lawyers having to fight their fight with Lucien in the background making all sorts of bad decisions. Bottom Line: A humiliating defeat for Alinghi.
  • PR - When you have a two team AC Cup Cycle, PR matters more because the focus is on just two teams. And in many respects, the PR game is played not to influence the outside world, but to engage in Psy Ops against your opponent. Alinghi started out strong, with great base run PR events during the boat launch and a light hearted web site. However, once the legal game started going against them, their PR team fell apart. They were never able to own the story, and instead got owned by the story. They still receive favorable reporting from some (but not all) of the European outlets, but it has been a long time since their PR has been able to have an impact on the BMW Oracle team. Meanwhile, the BMW Oracle team started out quite poor in the early going, with minimal to no coverage during the design, build or even launch cycle. Their first effort at a launch related party was kind of weak. But then they got better.... they opened up to some of the non-conventional outlets (e.g. SA), started getting their story in the more conventional media, and was able to leverage the legal victories to their favor. As noted above, they were also able to take advantage of the Wing being the coolest thing out there. Bottom Line: a win for BMW Oracle.
  • Weather - Very hard to tell who has the edge here. The teams (logically) provide minimal insight to their capabilities and planning in this discipline and there is very little output that can be seen from outside of the teams. I think the best way to judge this discipline is after the race, when we see who sailed into pressure, and who did not. Bottom Line: To Be Determined
  • Sailing Team - And this is what it comes down to. All the other disciplines have brought us to this point in time, where the only remaining piece to the puzzle is how well the sailing teams do on the water with the boats that have been given to them. Bottom Line - To Be Determined

Thoughts?

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Rail Meat, very nice, but I think there are a few places in which I would like to add a different point of view:

 

Boat design: In my book, this one clearly goes to Alinghi: Contrary to the current PR spin by BMW Oracle, I don't believe that USA 17 was designed for a stronger air venue: They build the lightest and most powered up boat they could build because they knew EB's and Alinghi's background in high-powered ultra-light multihulls. The saw them testing with "LeBlack". They knew a venue like RAK was coming. And they were always playing catch-up. Even more, I think Alinghi 5 would be faster through the whole wind range than USA 17 with soft sails. And they would both fail at the same point. You can see the twist in the platform with soft sails - they are not one bit overbuild for soft sails.

 

Now that they have a wing, they are overbuild, and can sail safely into a higher range due to ablility to depower, and loosing most of the enormous compression force due to the main sheet. And they are faster in high wind speeds due to less drag. But their boat is still too heavy (they could have saved weight in construction if they knew the wing was going to work, and now probably didn't dare to remove additional structural components to be able to switch back to the soft rig).

 

Sail Making: The wing is the game changer, and if BMW Oracle win on the water, it will be because of the wing (besides the obvious failure of a part on A5, or a really serious tactical / wind calling mistake). The only problem is that they did not have as much time to tune it up in light wind. The soft sail / wing combo is not as easy to analyze with CFD as the wing alone, and I would make a bet that they could have used more time badly. And again, they could not make the boat as light as possible not knowing the wing would work.

 

Overall Decision Making: Favoring BMW Oracle, but largely, it be determined by the outcome of the match on the water: If my reading of the Singapore agreement is right, and it involved delaying for a month and forcing Alinghi to build new non-3DL sails, BMW Oracle overplayed their hand. Offering a fairer compromise would have lead to MC, and clearly improved BMW Oracle's chances on the water by giving them extra time from which they profit way more than Alinghi at this point. That would have been the best outcome for them. If BMW Oracle lose on the water, but continue their court action (and I bet they would), they will have a stigma no matter if they win in court. And the last episode with LE not showing at the owner's conference and gala diner did not help.

 

So on the boat building and sail making front, BMW Oracle were playing catch-up all the way until the end, and it may have just been enough due to the wing. But I think they would have been in much better shape with more time...

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Rail Meat, very nice, but I think there are a few places in which I would like to add a different point of view:

 

 

So on the boat building and sail making front, BMW Oracle were playing catch-up all the way until the end, and it may have just been enough due to the wing. But I think they would have been in much better shape with more time...

 

I think Vrolijk said pretty much the same thing: BMW Oracle tried to morph their tri into a cat and Alinghi would love to have a solid wing. They did not have enough time though and too much legal stuff to worry about.

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Tr1plet -

 

Thanks for the reply. A couple of reactions to your reaction.

 

Boat Design - I can see your points, and definitely don't want to under sell the accomplishment that A5 has turned out to be. However, the Alinghi designers did have the advantage of knowing the venue that they had hoped to sail in, so from a design perspective they had a leg up on BMW Oracle. What I find most impressive about the BMW Oracle effort was the number of design cycles they went through after the boat initially hit the water. I lost count, but I think there were at least 6 significant cycles of improvements.... that is pretty outstanding. And each of those brought the Dogzilla design closer to being optimized for the ultimate venue. What truely would be interesting to see is what the design outcome would have been had either team a longer amount of time to have known for certain that the venue would be Valencia.

 

Sail Making - The fact that they may not have had as much time as they would have liked to tune to the the Wing (or lighten up the boat design) still does not change the accomplishment of the wing, nor does it change the fact that the Wing is perhaps the most significant accomplishment of this entire Cup cycle. I still have to give this discipline to BMW Oracle. I also would say that the winds of San Diego are not actually known for the strength.... I suspect these guys got plenty of data points on sailing in light air!

 

Overall Decision Making - If I understand your logic, you believe that Oracle really could have used another month, and that by failing to compromise (or handle correctly) the Singapore MC conversations, they lost the MC and the month it would have bought them. I guess my response is that I really don't see a tremendous amount of evidence that they needed an extra month. I think both teams could have put another month to good use, but you have not seen a lot of scrambling on either teams part that would indicate that they are dying for more time. The court actions and the lack of appearance at the presser and dinner are in fact decisions, but I don't really give them much weight in the overall outcome, whereas I think other decisions by Alinghi have profounding impacted their ability to win (or lose). I still think BMW Oracle has done better in this discipline.

 

At the end of the day, whom ever wins this will be painted in glory and any faults in their process and team work will be glossed over. I had wanted to try to do an objective survey of each teams performance before the outcome was known, but after the point at which we have seen enough to have an educated opinion.

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So with any modern AC campaign, your team has to have mutliple disciplines that each dominate in their particular focus and also work well together in a coordinated fashion. In fact, I count 11 different disciplines that must work together for a team to achieve victory.

 

I think many people might agree with me that one of the reasons that Alinghi has won in the past is because all of those parts worked well together for their team and each aced their area of focus. People might also agree that BMW Oracle has lost in the past because some (but not all) of the disciplines failed at their job and the overall coordination was poor.

 

So, how have the two teams done this time? Alinghi kept many of the same players around and had the benefit of continuity. BMW Oracle rebuilt and retooled, bringing RC in to run the program in a CEO function. What were the results? Or as I might say in my line of work, what was the return on investment?

 

  • Coordination / Collaboration - I put this discipline first, since I think it is where BMW Oracle has failed in the past and since I think in the modern Cup world it is the most important. Alinghi has done a credible job of continuing the well run organization that they have had for the past 3 Cup cycles. No known infighting, no break in the ranks and everything gets done when it needs to get done. I see two failings this time around: They did seem to fumble the coordination and response activities in the months of November and December when all of the legal findings were going against them. Also, they seem to have let EB and Lucien make some ill founded and poor decisions with regard to challenger and protocol that ended up leading them into this mess, and then some poor decisions about making no compromises in the interest of a Mutual Challenge. I think those were ultimately decisions driven by ego, were flawed and in a well organized team they could and should have been subject to review and the ability to be over ruled. Oracle on the other hand has done a 180 degree turn around. From the bickering, screaming mess they were in prior cups, they are now a well oiled machine. No known infighting, a massively complex design that was delivered (again and again) in very fast order, plenty of water time, a coordinated attack on the legal, design, building and PR fronts.... I find it hard to find fault in their organizational activities this time around. What changed? RC, and LE being comfortable with his leadership. Bottom line: BMW Oracle slightly beats Alinghi.
  • Owner Commitment - Almost equal to the discipline of leadership is the ability and willingness to make the kind of fiscal commitment coupled with fast and decisive decisions necessary to allow a team to explore every opportunity and take advantage of those that make sense. In this regard, Larry has been incredible in this cycle. No expense spared, and decisions made with lighting speed from what we can see from the outside. Ernie has also been incredible. He has commited what seems to be his entire life to this cycle, with near constant presence and focus. He also has commited unbelievable resources to the effort, probably more impressive than Larry's commitment only because in the world of relative wealth he probably has less than Larry's wealth. I can find fault with the decisions that he made, but in general he made those decisions (good or bad) in good speed. Bottom Line: A nod to Alinghi.
  • Overall Decision Making - BMW Oracle has consistently made good decisions during this cycle. They maximized the advantages that they did have, created advantages where they had none, and have made very few miss steps that I can see. Alinghi, on the other hand, has given away virtually every advantage they had under the Deed through a series of bad decisions, starting with the creation of CNEV. Other bad decisions included misjudging Larry's will and capacity to fight on every front to win this cycle, their poor decision to pick a non-Deed compliant venue of RAK, and their failure to cut a Mutual Consent deal while they still had some bargaining power. Bottom Line: BMW Oracle beats the pants off of Alinghi.
  • Boat Design: What can I say that has not already been said? Each team took a different approach to the problem and both came up with magnificent machines. BMW Oracle had the disadvantage of not knowing the venue and had to overdesign as as a result. Alinghi took their advantage and underdesigned. Then Alinghi screwed up the venue advantage and had it turned around on them to BMW Oracle's favor by being forced to Valencia which then forced them to play games with wind and wave limits. None of that, however, is the fault (or credit) of the design teams who worked with what they were given in the way of location guidance. What leads me to give the tip of the hat to BMW Oracle is that they took their platform and constantly refined it as the venue issues started to sort them selves out... a continuous improvement design cycle. I did not see the same from Alinghi. Bottom Line: Slight favor towards BMW Oracle.
  • Boat Building - Wow. Both teams have created unbelievable machines in unbelievable time frames. Hard to pick a favorite here. Each had breakages, but neither was allowed to slow down the teams for very long. Both have beautiful finish quality, and are amazing. Bottom Line: Its a draw.
  • Sail Making: Oh dear. Other than the lousy legal decisions that led to Alinghi frittering away all of its advantages from the Deed, I think this Cup will be looked upon as the one that was won by the sails. Alinghi's decision to use sails formed in Miden Nevada, versus BMW Oracle's design and build of the Wing. The Wing has done wonders to nullify the light air advantages of Alinghi's design, and allows them to dominate the heavier air. Plus it is damn cool, and allows them to grab alot of the PR air time. Bottom Line: BMW Oracle in a horizon job over Alinghi.
  • Base Logistics - To the outside observer, each team has done an excellent job at base logistics. BMW Oracle built in Anacortes, assembled in San Diego, trained in San Diego, transported to Valencia, reassembled in Valencia, and trained in Valencia. Alinghi built in Switzerland, assembled in Switzerland, trained in Switzerland, transported to Genoa (via helicopter, no less!), trained in Genoa, transported to RAK, trained in RAK, transported to Valencia, and trained in Valencia. In both teams cases, the bases seemed to run well, were well organized, security was tight and the mission was accomplished. Bottom Line: Nod to Alinghi since they had to set up and run in 4 locations while BMW Oracle did it in 3 locations.
  • Legal - Ah, where is your sixth best legal team when you need them? From a simple count of the motions won by BMW Oracle versus the motions won by Alinghi, this is a simple one to assess. BMW Oracle took a little bit of time to hit their stride in this discipline, but once they did it was game over for Alinghi lawyers. Of course, I don't envy Alinghi's lawyers having to fight their fight with Lucien in the background making all sorts of bad decisions. Bottom Line: A humiliating defeat for Alinghi.
  • PR - When you have a two team AC Cup Cycle, PR matters more because the focus is on just two teams. And in many respects, the PR game is played not to influence the outside world, but to engage in Psy Ops against your opponent. Alinghi started out strong, with great base run PR events during the boat launch and a light hearted web site. However, once the legal game started going against them, their PR team fell apart. They were never able to own the story, and instead got owned by the story. They still receive favorable reporting from some (but not all) of the European outlets, but it has been a long time since their PR has been able to have an impact on the BMW Oracle team. Meanwhile, the BMW Oracle team started out quite poor in the early going, with minimal to no coverage during the design, build or even launch cycle. Their first effort at a launch related party was kind of weak. But then they got better.... they opened up to some of the non-conventional outlets (e.g. SA), started getting their story in the more conventional media, and was able to leverage the legal victories to their favor. As noted above, they were also able to take advantage of the Wing being the coolest thing out there. Bottom Line: a win for BMW Oracle.
  • Weather - Very hard to tell who has the edge here. The teams (logically) provide minimal insight to their capabilities and planning in this discipline and there is very little output that can be seen from outside of the teams. I think the best way to judge this discipline is after the race, when we see who sailed into pressure, and who did not. Bottom Line: To Be Determined
  • Sailing Team - And this is what it comes down to. All the other disciplines have brought us to this point in time, where the only remaining piece to the puzzle is how well the sailing teams do on the water with the boats that have been given to them. Bottom Line - To Be Determined

Thoughts?

 

You are american ! :D

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You are american ! :D

 

I am, but I am trying to be objective. I invite you to post up any points you might want to make to counter my observations.

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Tr1plet -

 

Thanks for the reply. A couple of reactions to your reaction.

 

Boat Design - I can see your points, and definitely don't want to under sell the accomplishment that A5 has turned out to be. However, the Alinghi designers did have the advantage of knowing the venue that they had hoped to sail in, so from a design perspective they had a leg up on BMW Oracle. What I find most impressive about the BMW Oracle effort was the number of design cycles they went through after the boat initially hit the water. I lost count, but I think there were at least 6 significant cycles of improvements.... that is pretty outstanding. And each of those brought the Dogzilla design closer to being optimized for the ultimate venue. What truely would be interesting to see is what the design outcome would have been had either team a longer amount of time to have known for certain that the venue would be Valencia.

 

Sail Making - The fact that they may not have had as much time as they would have liked to tune to the the Wing (or lighten up the boat design) still does not change the accomplishment of the wing, nor does it change the fact that the Wing is perhaps the most significant accomplishment of this entire Cup cycle. I still have to give this discipline to BMW Oracle. I also would say that the winds of San Diego are not actually known for the strength.... I suspect these guys got plenty of data points on sailing in light air!

 

Overall Decision Making - If I understand your logic, you believe that Oracle really could have used another month, and that by failing to compromise (or handle correctly) the Singapore MC conversations, they lost the MC and the month it would have bought them. I guess my response is that I really don't see a tremendous amount of evidence that they needed an extra month. I think both teams could have put another month to good use, but you have not seen a lot of scrambling on either teams part that would indicate that they are dying for more time. The court actions and the lack of appearance at the presser and dinner are in fact decisions, but I don't really give them much weight in the overall outcome, whereas I think other decisions by Alinghi have profounding impacted their ability to win (or lose). I still think BMW Oracle has done better in this discipline.

 

At the end of the day, whom ever wins this will be painted in glory and any faults in their process and team work will be glossed over. I had wanted to try to do an objective survey of each teams performance before the outcome was known, but after the point at which we have seen enough to have an educated opinion.

 

Rail Meat,

 

Thank you for your response - I am equally impressed by the number of design cycles of BMW Oracle's trimaran, but I think they were more of a forced necessity to catch up on lack of in-house knowledge that Alinghi had and not driven by lack of knowledge of the venue.

 

I think if either team had a "pick-and-choose" of the parts for both campaigns, they would pick Alinghi 5 sailing platform and BMW Oracle's wing, the training time in a final configuration that Alinghi had and BMW Oracle's legal wins, Alinghi's knowledge in multihull racing and LE's unlimited funding, Alinghi's team cohesiveness and BMW Oracle's time on the water since the beginning of the challenge. For the perception of the general public and even the fans, I think each one is happy by pleasing their own.

 

I am pretty sure if Alinghi had a wing, they would beat USA 17 through the whole wind range again, and also be able to sail in higher winds without breaking. Even more, now the additional volume in A5's floats would allow it to be pushed much harder.

 

But I also think that the advantage for Alinghi 5's platform is larger for a soft-sail configuration because of the stiffness is allows. It is not clear to me how much of an advantage it would provide with a wing and a giant gennaker. Given the small apparent wind angles even on the downwind leg, I would think it is still somewhat there.

 

But the amount of time (and perhaps money) didn't allow Alinghi to go down that route. There is a reason BMW Oracle didn't want Valencia in May ;) .

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Great job, RM. Really great.

 

 

Thank you for your response - I am equally impressed by the number of design cycles of BMW Oracle's trimaran, but I think they were more of a forced necessity to catch up on lack of in-house knowledge that Alinghi had and not driven by lack of knowledge of the venue.

 

I think if either team had a "pick-and-choose" of the parts for both campaigns, they would pick Alinghi 5 sailing platform and BMW Oracle's wing, the training time in a final configuration that Alinghi had and BMW Oracle's legal wins,

 

<snip>

 

But the amount of time (and perhaps money) didn't allow Alinghi to go down that route;) .

 

tr1plet - I'm a little bit confused by this. On the one hand, you're saying that one of Alinghi's strengths is that they didn't "have to" ("forced necessity") go through all the iterative cycles of development that BMWO did... but then you say that BMWO gained a possible advantage by *not* allowing Alinghi more time, which they could have used to do some iterative development?

 

Those two things seem at odds with one another. Can you illuminate?

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Rail Meat,

 

Thank you for your response - I am equally impressed by the number of design cycles of BMW Oracle's trimaran, but I think they were more of a forced necessity to catch up on lack of in-house knowledge that Alinghi had and not driven by lack of knowledge of the venue.

 

I think if either team had a "pick-and-choose" of the parts for both campaigns, they would pick Alinghi 5 sailing platform and BMW Oracle's wing, the training time in a final configuration that Alinghi had and BMW Oracle's legal wins, Alinghi's knowledge in multihull racing and LE's unlimited funding, Alinghi's team cohesiveness and BMW Oracle's time on the water since the beginning of the challenge. For the perception of the general public and even the fans, I think each one is happy by pleasing their own.

 

I am pretty sure if Alinghi had a wing, they would beat USA 17 through the whole wind range again, and also be able to sail in higher winds without breaking. Even more, now the additional volume in A5's floats would allow it to be pushed much harder.

 

But I also think that the advantage for Alinghi 5's platform is larger for a soft-sail configuration because of the stiffness is allows. It is not clear to me how much of an advantage it would provide with a wing and a giant gennaker. Given the small apparent wind angles even on the downwind leg, I would think it is still somewhat there.

 

But the amount of time (and perhaps money) didn't allow Alinghi to go down that route. There is a reason BMW Oracle didn't want Valencia in May ;) .

 

I agree with that analysis. If BMW Oracle had allowed the race to be moved to May, Alinghi would have had the time to develop a wing of their own. And that, I am afraid, would have been the end of it for BWM Oracle.

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Great job, RM. Really great.

 

 

tr1plet - I'm a little bit confused by this. On the one hand, you're saying that one of Alinghi's strengths is that they didn't "have to" ("forced necessity") go through all the iterative cycles of development that BMWO did... but then you say that BMWO gained a possible advantage by *not* allowing Alinghi more time, which they could have used to do some iterative development?

 

Those two things seem at odds with one another. Can you illuminate?

 

Rail Meat answered it already, May would have been enough time for a wing for Alinghi, and thus probably the end for BMW Oracle.

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Rail Meat, very nice, but I think there are a few places in which I would like to add a different point of view:

 

Boat design: In my book, this one clearly goes to Alinghi: Contrary to the current PR spin by BMW Oracle, I don't believe that USA 17 was designed for a stronger air venue: They build the lightest and most powered up boat they could build because they knew EB's and Alinghi's background in high-powered ultra-light multihulls. The saw them testing with "LeBlack". They knew a venue like RAK was coming. And they were always playing catch-up. Even more, I think Alinghi 5 would be faster through the whole wind range than USA 17 with soft sails. And they would both fail at the same point. You can see the twist in the platform with soft sails - they are not one bit overbuild for soft sails.

 

Now that they have a wing, they are overbuild, and can sail safely into a higher range due to ablility to depower, and loosing most of the enormous compression force due to the main sheet. And they are faster in high wind speeds due to less drag. But their boat is still too heavy (they could have saved weight in construction if they knew the wing was going to work, and now probably didn't dare to remove additional structural components to be able to switch back to the soft rig).

 

Sail Making: The wing is the game changer, and if BMW Oracle win on the water, it will be because of the wing (besides the obvious failure of a part on A5, or a really serious tactical / wind calling mistake). The only problem is that they did not have as much time to tune it up in light wind. The soft sail / wing combo is not as easy to analyze with CFD as the wing alone, and I would make a bet that they could have used more time badly. And again, they could not make the boat as light as possible not knowing the wing would work.

 

Overall Decision Making: Favoring BMW Oracle, but largely, it be determined by the outcome of the match on the water: If my reading of the Singapore agreement is right, and it involved delaying for a month and forcing Alinghi to build new non-3DL sails, BMW Oracle overplayed their hand. Offering a fairer compromise would have lead to MC, and clearly improved BMW Oracle's chances on the water by giving them extra time from which they profit way more than Alinghi at this point. That would have been the best outcome for them. If BMW Oracle lose on the water, but continue their court action (and I bet they would), they will have a stigma no matter if they win in court. And the last episode with LE not showing at the owner's conference and gala diner did not help.

 

So on the boat building and sail making front, BMW Oracle were playing catch-up all the way until the end, and it may have just been enough due to the wing. But I think they would have been in much better shape with more time...

 

 

I think you have a point. Even RC admitted that they wanted more time, if possible.

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Mind games Oracle did a great job of enforcing the believe they were slow in light airs.

RC stating it twice in press conferences

The central hull not leaving the water prior to the start of race one, - followed by powering round the race committee boat at the start and catching A5.

 

One of the greatest pre-match buffs in history.

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Well analyzed RM and well argued tri1plet. Thanks for that. Glad to see some of us can have a grown up dialogue once in a while.

 

Everytime I've come into the AC Forum in the last year or more, an old Jewish expression came to mind:

 

"Ya put twelve people in a room...ya getz thoiteen opinions..." :D

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Thanks guys, stumbled over this via the front page and thought "Wow, finally something worth reading!" and it got even better here in the thread.

 

What I am really curious about: if and how are they going to develop a set of rules for future ACs that will allow for different approaches to build and develop future boats and rigs.

 

To me, the first leg of race two was a joy to watch because it was close racing by two very different designs.

 

Cheers

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Strategy & Tactics: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the strategical decisions that were made by the afterguard on A5. I can't figure out how, with all the brain power and experience on board, that the possibility of Spithill driving at them on starboard in the opening race might occur. It was a match race after all. Did they think he would not engage with them?

 

If A5 were aware that BMWO had a faster boat why not be more aggresive themselves in the pre-start and attempt to inflict a penalty and control the start? We saw that once 'in irons' BMWO was difficult to manoeuvre, should they not have been thinking before the start of the 2nd race that they ought to be forcing a dial up situation, surely this would have had a greater priority than pinging the ends?

 

I still can't believe how nieve the afterguard were in the pre-start.

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Do not think the defender was able to execute any tactics at the pre-start of race 2 since they appear to be in disarray after they were surprised by the PRO's decision to actually start the race minutes before cut-off. (much discussion on other threads regarding why/how this happened) They were still trying to ping the line when the flag dropped and got caught with a penalty....

 

Clew

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Great job, RM. Really great.

 

 

tr1plet - I'm a little bit confused by this. On the one hand, you're saying that one of Alinghi's strengths is that they didn't "have to" ("forced necessity") go through all the iterative cycles of development that BMWO did... but then you say that BMWO gained a possible advantage by *not* allowing Alinghi more time, which they could have used to do some iterative development?

 

Those two things seem at odds with one another. Can you illuminate?

 

Rail Meat answered it already, May would have been enough time for a wing for Alinghi, and thus probably the end for BMW Oracle.

 

Singapore was early Jan as I recall? So Jan-May is five months.

 

BMWO's wing guys said 6 months from do it to sailing and then testing, setup, etc. on the water. I think that means some design work was done prior but can't be sure. BMWO's wing guys also said that getting the subcrontactors and materials was an issue only possible because of the economic crisis.

 

In the Alinghi interviews they implied that they hadn't even done the exploratory design work. Might also have been more difficult to execute in SUI e.g. subcontractors, materials, etc.

 

I'm not sure that Singapore delay would've given them time to build a wing and if it did it might have been less tested and prone to failure while BMWO would have been more and more hardened.

 

I think this is a toroise and hare problem. Alinghi was to certain of their ability to control the game and so did not start the work soon enough to have a wing even if they had gotten the May dates. And, as has been mentioned BMWO did a great job bluffing about light air performance which Alinghi was certain they could get through venue, SIs, etc.

 

My hypothesis is that Alinghi would not have had a wing, or not a good one, with a May date and would still have been in trouble on the water if in Valencia.

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Strategy & Tactics: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the strategical decisions that were made by the afterguard on A5. I can't figure out how, with all the brain power and experience on board, that the possibility of Spithill driving at them on starboard in the opening race might occur. It was a match race after all. Did they think he would not engage with them?

 

If A5 were aware that BMWO had a faster boat why not be more aggresive themselves in the pre-start and attempt to inflict a penalty and control the start? We saw that once 'in irons' BMWO was difficult to manoeuvre, should they not have been thinking before the start of the 2nd race that they ought to be forcing a dial up situation, surely this would have had a greater priority than pinging the ends?

 

I still can't believe how nieve the afterguard were in the pre-start.

 

They are good points.... which I only covered in broad strokes by identifying the "sailing team" as one of the disciplines.

 

Since I wrote the piece prior to the start of race 1, I would not have been in a position to analyze the teams relative strengths and weaknesses. Now that the races are done, I would have to say that given the relative speed differences of each platform, the races were essentially done by the middle of the first legs. Some might even argue they were done before the start. But since the only time the boats were in the same space was the start, that would have been the only chance to execute on strategy and tactices.... and I give the retro-active, look back nod to BMW Oracle. The foul in Race 1, followed by ownership of the line in Race 2 (even if they might have picked the wrong side of the course) and finally the lay line tack in race 2 mean that BMWOracle mean that they dominated in this discipline. My own personal view is that Ernesto made a huge mistake in choosing himself to drive. It woudl have been interesting to see those two races with a different driver for Alinghi... I still think they would have lost, but the margins would have been closer.

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Hull Design:

 

The tri center hull is the perfect "endplate" for a wing. The tri gave BMWOR ten more feet of platform width. I think the tri was the better platform.

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i totally agree that oracle's sailing team out sailed alinghi. way rookie to choose yourself to start vs spithill on a match race

i would have chosen baird and then handover to loick peyron to drive

i also think that the first penalty probably out psyched ernesto and put him on the wrong foot, he could well be a good amateur driver but nothing compared to baird/peyron/gautier

i can't believe that the fab five let him do that...its called denial

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Strategy & Tactics: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the strategical decisions that were made by the afterguard on A5. I can't figure out how, with all the brain power and experience on board, that the possibility of Spithill driving at them on starboard in the opening race might occur. It was a match race after all. Did they think he would not engage with them?

 

If A5 were aware that BMWO had a faster boat why not be more aggresive themselves in the pre-start and attempt to inflict a penalty and control the start? We saw that once 'in irons' BMWO was difficult to manoeuvre, should they not have been thinking before the start of the 2nd race that they ought to be forcing a dial up situation, surely this would have had a greater priority than pinging the ends?

 

I still can't believe how nieve the afterguard were in the pre-start.

 

Relatively easy to believe - we saw it happen!

 

I think that they were thinking that with the RC44 style entry mark, there was no way that they couldn't cross - all those articles about how there wouldn't be a dial up this time They can't have been fully aware of USA's acceleration - which was the amazing thing. Poor planning not to have "what if"ed that one though. 2 seconds of "rabbit in the headlights" at 25kts was 2 seconds too long.

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+1 Well done RM !

+1 And the grown up discussion that it invoked, this is terrific.

 

On the owner commitment,

- how much weight did you factor into what appeared to be delays in building A5 until after the results of the court case (or did you believe it was underway despite appearances, or that building later was an advantage ?)?

- did you factor in the decision not to build a wing ?

 

On Base Logistics & PR

- The Alinghi base had a really fine display setup for the public, including interactive technology display for kids and a racing simulator. Perhaps much or all from the prior AC, but still very well done. (would have been more classy if they left out the pedestals with their twisted version of recent court actions against them)

- I heard the Alinghi did a really fine job of PR in the city of Valencia, including numerous interactions with children, schools, and so forth. They also succeeded in having locals believe that a win by Alinghi meant the cup would stay with Valencia. That is quite a feat considering all the evidence present that the cup would go to RAK, if not otherwise shopped out to the highest bidder if Alinghi won.

- With the local story controlled by Alinghi, I felt BOR made the right moves (basically stayed silent or spoke positive in press conferences, and otherwise effectively avoiding feeding the riveraly stories that local media was more than ready to report on) but Alinghi seemed to take control of the story from about the time David Boise came on board. At that point it seemed more important to win the court case then the PR battle.

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  • Owner Commitment - Almost equal to the discipline of leadership is the ability and willingness to make the kind of fiscal commitment coupled with fast and decisive decisions necessary to allow a team to explore every opportunity and take advantage of those that make sense. In this regard, Larry has been incredible in this cycle. No expense spared, and decisions made with lighting speed from what we can see from the outside. Ernie has also been incredible. He has commited what seems to be his entire life to this cycle, with near constant presence and focus. He also has commited unbelievable resources to the effort, probably more impressive than Larry's commitment only because in the world of relative wealth he probably has less than Larry's wealth. I can find fault with the decisions that he made, but in general he made those decisions (good or bad) in good speed. Bottom Line: A nod to Alinghi.

 

I would guess that Bertarelli's commitment was a negative. He took on too many roles for which he wasn't the most qualified person. The most obvious was driving the boat. But also he probably was more involved in the legal decisions (you don't go through that many law firms if you're taking their advice) and boat design (ended up with a scaled-up version of his pet boat) than he should have been.

 

In contrast, Ellison seems to recognize his strengths and weaknesses, and in this case decided to put the right people in place and then stay out of their way.

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  • Owner Commitment - Almost equal to the discipline of leadership is the ability and willingness to make the kind of fiscal commitment coupled with fast and decisive decisions necessary to allow a team to explore every opportunity and take advantage of those that make sense. In this regard, Larry has been incredible in this cycle. No expense spared, and decisions made with lighting speed from what we can see from the outside. Ernie has also been incredible. He has commited what seems to be his entire life to this cycle, with near constant presence and focus. He also has commited unbelievable resources to the effort, probably more impressive than Larry's commitment only because in the world of relative wealth he probably has less than Larry's wealth. I can find fault with the decisions that he made, but in general he made those decisions (good or bad) in good speed. Bottom Line: A nod to Alinghi.

 

I would guess that Bertarelli's commitment was a negative. He took on too many roles for which he wasn't the most qualified person. The most obvious was driving the boat. But also he probably was more involved in the legal decisions (you don't go through that many law firms if you're taking their advice) and boat design (ended up with a scaled-up version of his pet boat) than he should have been.

 

In contrast, Ellison seems to recognize his strengths and weaknesses, and in this case decided to put the right people in place and then stay out of their way.

 

In my mind ( a cluttered and small space) I had actually lumped Bertarelli's decisions around what role he played into the grades I gave for decision making and kept it out of my grade for commitment. I think his engagement and ability to devote a considerable amount of his time and fortune to the effort merited the high marks on commitment, and then I graded him down on decision making skills because of a number of things, including his decision on what roles he would play and how much he would influence various aspects of the Alinghi effort.

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+1 Well done RM !

+1 And the grown up discussion that it invoked, this is terrific.

 

On the owner commitment,

- how much weight did you factor into what appeared to be delays in building A5 until after the results of the court case (or did you believe it was underway despite appearances, or that building later was an advantage ?)?

- did you factor in the decision not to build a wing ?

 

On Base Logistics & PR

- The Alinghi base had a really fine display setup for the public, including interactive technology display for kids and a racing simulator. Perhaps much or all from the prior AC, but still very well done. (would have been more classy if they left out the pedestals with their twisted version of recent court actions against them)

- I heard the Alinghi did a really fine job of PR in the city of Valencia, including numerous interactions with children, schools, and so forth. They also succeeded in having locals believe that a win by Alinghi meant the cup would stay with Valencia. That is quite a feat considering all the evidence present that the cup would go to RAK, if not otherwise shopped out to the highest bidder if Alinghi won.

- With the local story controlled by Alinghi, I felt BOR made the right moves (basically stayed silent or spoke positive in press conferences, and otherwise effectively avoiding feeding the riveraly stories that local media was more than ready to report on) but Alinghi seemed to take control of the story from about the time David Boise came on board. At that point it seemed more important to win the court case then the PR battle.

 

Regarding delays in building A5, I think it the design and build cycle were well underway prior to the court case, and they were simply waiting to assemble A5 until they knew for sure they had lost the court case. Had the court decision been different they could have saved themselves the cost of transport and the cost of assembly.

 

I left the issue of the wing to be included in the "Sails" section and did not want to double credit or double debit any particular team on any particular discilpline. In the case of the wing, Alinghi's decision to go with non-CiC soft sails and forego a wing were why I gave the Sail discipline to BMW Oracle by a country mile.

 

Thanks for those observations about PR... it was difficult to see how the respective teams did in Valencia if you were not there.

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Rail Meat,

I am pretty sure if Alinghi had a wing, they would beat USA 17 through the whole wind range again, and also be able to sail in higher winds without breaking. Even more, now the additional volume in A5's floats would allow it to be pushed much harder.

 

But I also think that the advantage for Alinghi 5's platform is larger for a soft-sail configuration because of the stiffness is allows. It is not clear to me how much of an advantage it would provide with a wing and a giant gennaker. Given the small apparent wind angles even on the downwind leg, I would think it is still somewhat there.

 

But the amount of time (and perhaps money) didn't allow Alinghi to go down that route. There is a reason BMW Oracle didn't want Valencia in May ;) .

 

I agree with that analysis. If BMW Oracle had allowed the race to be moved to May, Alinghi would have had the time to develop a wing of their own. And that, I am afraid, would have been the end of it for BWM Oracle.

 

I don't agree at all.

 

USA has more RM. Putting a wing on A5 would not change that. Simple math says that to equal the RM A5 must be heavier than USA.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would reduced the windage of the rig, but would not reduce the windage of the platform.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would do nothing to move mass to closer to the centre of gravity, A5 would still have that against them.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would do nothing about eliminating the weight of redundant hardware that is required for a Catamaran configuration.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would do nothing to reduce the rocker required in the hulls so the boat can turn.

 

USA tacks like a 45 foot wide Cat, a wing on A5 does nothing to change the fact that she tacks like a 75 foot wide cat.

 

USA would have won with a soft rig, but not my as much. Putting a wing on A5 would not transform her into a silk purse.

 

R

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USA would have won with a soft rig, but not my as much. Putting a wing on A5 would not transform her into a silk purse.

 

I thought BMWO had admitted that USA 1.0 was slower than A5?

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Strategy & Tactics: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the strategical decisions that were made by the afterguard on A5. I can't figure out how, with all the brain power and experience on board, that the possibility of Spithill driving at them on starboard in the opening race might occur. It was a match race after all. Did they think he would not engage with them?

 

If A5 were aware that BMWO had a faster boat why not be more aggresive themselves in the pre-start and attempt to inflict a penalty and control the start? We saw that once 'in irons' BMWO was difficult to manoeuvre, should they not have been thinking before the start of the 2nd race that they ought to be forcing a dial up situation, surely this would have had a greater priority than pinging the ends?

 

I still can't believe how nieve the afterguard were in the pre-start.

I don't think the Aferguard WAS naive. A5 had a worse potential "stuck in irons" problem than DZ because their sails can't draw as close to the wind and their 75'wide configuration. They gambled on crossing DZ, and while they had good data on top speeds, as Spithill pointed out, in their testing they didn't do all that much starting practice with overspeed runs. Remember the angles for entry into the box aren't ones that would be on the polars the A5 Spies would have collected.

 

And I think the raw accelleration and speed of DZ on that angle surprised A5. And they reacted as though they were in a classic IACC boat and blew it.

 

Ask yourself - what could A5, given that it is 30%-50% less maneuverable - have done to "be aggressive"? any move they can throw at DZ, DZ can handle better than they can. Their only hope is a self-inflicted mistake as per Spithill sheeting on the Jib just a bit too hard. at 1:50 and getting too close.

 

BTW on

Design Team

I think too much is being made of "in house expertise". Large engineering projects, the expertise resides with the contracted designers. And BOTH teams used contract designers. In BOTH cases the teams derived ideas from OTHER programs (DZ from Groupama and CZ's hull design is from the A-Cat class). I think CZ's "knowledge" here is overblown.

  • Their hulls shapes were new and they had no expertise with massive hulls in a seaway.
  • Like DZ, they had to keep adding power to their masts
  • Even then they had to change the sail balance (larger spine, gennaker) late in the game for more power

So I see this as a 100% win for BMW. BMW built the more innovative platform, more adaptable platform and one that just plain SAILED BETTER in more conditions than A5.

 

Even if without the wing A5 would have been faster in the lighter airs, the hobbyhorsing their hull did in any sort of seaway as something they could not change. So DZ built the more versatile boat, and sailing fundamentally is done in variable wind and sea conditions. That A5 tried to avoid this reality in their design I think makes them a pertty big loser.

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USA would have won with a soft rig, but not my as much. Putting a wing on A5 would not transform her into a silk purse.

 

I thought BMWO had admitted that USA 1.0 was slower than A5?

 

What is your point? BMWO would have raced v1 of the BOR90. USA was quite able to beat A5 in its current configuration with a soft rig. Adding the wing just increased the margin.

 

R

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Hull Design:

 

The tri center hull is the perfect "endplate" for a wing. The tri gave BMWOR ten more feet of platform width. I think the tri was the better platform.

 

The selection of tri vs cat gave each a way to cheat in the same way as the Jboats with long overhangs giving lwl when heeled.

 

SUI had the big overhang but at the expensive of hydrodynamics because it is also the sailing hull. Ugly wakes.

 

The tri allowed the amas to be designed long and hydrodynamically optimized, clean wakes, assuming the other 2 are flying. You get to optimize/cheat on length and efficiency. The tri also gave the fore aft structure stiffness- and the end plate wing benefits. Better system level design to the rule.

 

Daggerboards- USA curved boards gave lift and also damped pitching (good for keeping flows attached). SUI had straight boards (maybe boat not strong enough otherwise?)

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Congratulations - This article of Rail Meat is so different from anything I read at SA.com in the past few months, both in the forum, but also in the editorial section (one of the recent low-points: The ultimate looser).

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I think that BOR's main advantages were:

  • More preparation time. Ernesto dithered on pushing the button for Alinghi 5, which gave BOR a further 11 months.
  • BOR signed up VPLP as their design house. They've designed several offshore boats on a similar scale to USA 17. That would have provided them with better load cases than Alinghi had with starting from scratch.
  • Looking at the pictures of USA 17, I was also struck that her wing looked larger than Alinghi 5's mainsail. She was a much more powerful boat.
  • An aggressive legal campaign that kept Alinghi unbalanced. For example, launching the suit against RAK as their boat was being unloaded.

I wonder if Ernesto's going to play in AC34. It doesn't sound like he wants to, and having been roughed up over the last few years by the BOR machine, I don't blame him.

 

That said, I don't think any of the big players have come out of this smelling of roses.

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Daggerboards- USA curved boards gave lift and also damped pitching (good for keeping flows attached). SUI had straight boards (maybe boat not strong enough otherwise?)

A5 had a full set of boards, including curved ones for lift in heavy air. They said they used the straight board in light air to minimize drag.

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Rail Meat,

I am pretty sure if Alinghi had a wing, they would beat USA 17 through the whole wind range again, and also be able to sail in higher winds without breaking. Even more, now the additional volume in A5's floats would allow it to be pushed much harder.

 

But I also think that the advantage for Alinghi 5's platform is larger for a soft-sail configuration because of the stiffness is allows. It is not clear to me how much of an advantage it would provide with a wing and a giant gennaker. Given the small apparent wind angles even on the downwind leg, I would think it is still somewhat there.

 

But the amount of time (and perhaps money) didn't allow Alinghi to go down that route. There is a reason BMW Oracle didn't want Valencia in May ;) .

 

I agree with that analysis. If BMW Oracle had allowed the race to be moved to May, Alinghi would have had the time to develop a wing of their own. And that, I am afraid, would have been the end of it for BWM Oracle.

 

I don't agree at all.

 

USA has more RM. Putting a wing on A5 would not change that. Simple math says that to equal the RM A5 must be heavier than USA.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would reduced the windage of the rig, but would not reduce the windage of the platform.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would do nothing to move mass to closer to the centre of gravity, A5 would still have that against them.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would do nothing about eliminating the weight of redundant hardware that is required for a Catamaran configuration.

 

Putting a wing on A5 would do nothing to reduce the rocker required in the hulls so the boat can turn.

 

USA tacks like a 45 foot wide Cat, a wing on A5 does nothing to change the fact that she tacks like a 75 foot wide cat.

 

USA would have won with a soft rig, but not my as much. Putting a wing on A5 would not transform her into a silk purse.

 

R

 

Good points... although I think that I read somewhere that the wing would be lighter than a soft sail rig, thus help with the righting moment challenge. Which also would have helped with the movement of the mass towards the center of gravity. As for windage, I think it is hard to argue that A5 has more windage than a Dogzilla platform, outside of the rig. I do think A5 could have gotten rid of some of their windage if they had cut down on their nets like Dogzilla did. Other than that, your observation about the tacking widths is spot on, and one of the things I notices in the Seahorse article. But it is hard to refute that a wing would have helped with the tacking angles and speed on A5, just as it did for Dogzilla.

 

As for your assertion that a soft sail BMWOracle would still have been faster than A5... I think it is interesting speculation but it is definitely speculation. No one knows what the outcome of races in that configuration would have been, and to try to make fact out of pure hypothesis is a fools errand, just as no one really knows what the outcome would have been if Allignhi had ended up with a Wing. I am pretty sure that BMWOracle team is just as happy that they did not have to find out about either scenario!

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As for your assertion that a soft sail BMWOracle would still have been faster than A5... I think it is interesting speculation but it is definitely speculation. No one knows what the outcome of races in that configuration would have been, and to try to make fact out of pure hypothesis is a fools errand, just as no one really knows what the outcome would have been if Allignhi had ended up with a Wing. I am pretty sure that BMWOracle team is just as happy that they did not have to find out about either scenario!

 

 

Very true. All what if-ery

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Good points... although I think that I read somewhere that the wing would be lighter than a soft sail rig, thus help with the righting moment challenge. Which also would have helped with the movement of the mass towards the center of gravity. As for windage, I think it is hard to argue that A5 has more windage than a Dogzilla platform, outside of the rig. I do think A5 could have gotten rid of some of their windage if they had cut down on their nets like Dogzilla did. Other than that, your observation about the tacking widths is spot on, and one of the things I notices in the Seahorse article. But it is hard to refute that a wing would have helped with the tacking angles and speed on A5, just as it did for Dogzilla.

 

As for your assertion that a soft sail BMWOracle would still have been faster than A5... I think it is interesting speculation but it is definitely speculation. No one knows what the outcome of races in that configuration would have been, and to try to make fact out of pure hypothesis is a fools errand, just as no one really knows what the outcome would have been if Allignhi had ended up with a Wing. I am pretty sure that BMWOracle team is just as happy that they did not have to find out about either scenario!

 

The figure for the wing was 100kg per panel x 9 for 900kg ... plus the mast ... for 3500kg total ... about the same as the soft rig.

 

So the RM available through cant remains a constant.

 

To have equal power you need the same ratio of sail power to weight. When one boat has 90 feet of beam and the other only 75, you have a problem. In the most simplified terms RM = HM (heel moment) Heel moment is sail power over height of centre of effort. Assume equal size wings and the heeling arm to be 100 feet. USA has a righing arm of 45 feet, A5 has a righting arm of only 37.5 feet. Advantage to USA at the same weight USA can carry more sail thus the power to weight ratio will be better for USA. If you ballast up A5 to handle the same sail power, her weight must be higher, still advantage USA. It is not possible to get the same power to weight ratio for A5 that USA has with equal span rigs. You can do it with a shorter rig on A5 at the same weight as USA or a still shorter rig with less weight for A5 ... now you are adding an induced drag penalty for the same power ...

 

For a boat with lower power to weight to be faster than a boat with higher power to weight, you need more than a simple change from a soft sail to a wing.

 

My speculation is based on the most reliable calculations that I have available to me. There are no numbers that are believable that can lead to any other conclusion IMO.

 

USA is not really a trimaran nor is it a catamaran. The keys are the centralization of mass, the minimum hardware required to sail the boat and the ability to sail at 90 feet of beam and turn on 45 feet of beam. This gives marginal advantages to USA both in straight line speed where RM rules. In tracking and stability where mass centralization helps. In maneuvering where excess beam is a penalty.

 

My feeling about the basic windage of the platforms is, I admit mostly speculation based on my experience with what works for drag reduction.

 

My feeling on total sailing weight is also speculation based on the power required for near equal speed and the weight of structure needed to handle those loads.

 

Thinking that a wing would have made A5 equal is, I think, a bit naive. It does not address the other advantages USA has. To think that a wing of the same span as USA's could be fit to A5 and still have near equal power to weight is a mathematical impossibility. I very much doubt that a wing on A5 would have made her faster than USA, closer yes, but not a winner.

 

I doubt that we will ever have enough information (real numbers) to get past the speculation point. I also doubt that we will ever see a generation 2 maxi-multi to see what direction a designer would take to best USA-17. If we ever do, I will go on record and bet that: It will not be a Catamaran and it will not have exposed struts and wires. :)

 

R

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Daggerboards- USA curved boards gave lift and also damped pitching (good for keeping flows attached). SUI had straight boards (maybe boat not strong enough otherwise?)

A5 had a full set of boards, including curved ones for lift in heavy air. They said they used the straight board in light air to minimize drag.

 

Good point, I wonder if the drag benefit was better than the pitching detriment! It pitched a lot! The curved foils was mentioned as one of the reasons USA was not pitching

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A5 had a full set of boards, including curved ones for lift in heavy air. They said they used the straight board in light air to minimize drag.

 

Are you sure? Based on what I saw, nobody at Alinghi could spell drag let alone define it or minimize it.

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A5 had a full set of boards, including curved ones for lift in heavy air. They said they used the straight board in light air to minimize drag.

 

Are you sure? Based on what I saw, nobody at Alinghi could spell drag let alone define it or minimize it.

 

Fack! ... I'm owed a new key board. :D :D :D

 

R

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I said this before the race and will restate it now.

Boat Design: The displacement of the 90 foot LWL main hull (vaka) on USA lifted the outrigger hulls (amas) out of the water. This allowed a longer more refined ( flatter runs & longer runs) "displacement" hull form. The hulls on A5 have over hangs and could never have as flat a running surface as USA (due to the bump in the run needed to float the total mass ) and still measure 90 feet LWL. Because this was a DOG limited 90 foot LWL unlimited design the nod goes to USA with second generation amars.

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Sail Making: I didn´t follow the whole thing from the beginning. Somehow I got the information that they were going to use huge multihulls. The first thing that came to my mind was DC driving circles around KZ1 in 88. Afterwards the word was that either they didn´t know at all how to use their wing the right way or they were trimming it the way they did only to not completely humiliate the opponent.

So my first thought was: this is going to be a fight not between sailboats but between aeroplanes. Why none of them started with a wing design from the beginning I still cannot understand, given all the rocketscientists and the money they were using.

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Sail Making: I didn´t follow the whole thing from the beginning. Somehow I got the information that they were going to use huge multihulls. The first thing that came to my mind was DC driving circles around KZ1 in 88. Afterwards the word was that either they didn´t know at all how to use their wing the right way or they were trimming it the way they did only to not completely humiliate the opponent.

So my first thought was: this is going to be a fight not between sailboats but between aeroplanes. Why none of them started with a wing design from the beginning I still cannot understand, given all the rocketscientists and the money they were using.

BOR didn't start with a wing because they thought they only had 10 months to build the boat. No capacity and no time. I suspect SNG didn't start with a wing because they figured their secret engine was going to be sufficient to wup the Americans.

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I would guess that Bertarelli's commitment was a negative. He took on too many roles for which he wasn't the most qualified person. The most obvious was driving the boat. But also he probably was more involved in the legal decisions (you don't go through that many law firms if you're taking their advice) and boat design (ended up with a scaled-up version of his pet boat) than he should have been.

 

In contrast, Ellison seems to recognize his strengths and weaknesses, and in this case decided to put the right people in place and then stay out of their way.

 

in shorter words: amateur x professional

the behavior, not he people involved.

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Strategy & Tactics: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the strategical decisions that were made by the afterguard on A5. I can't figure out how, with all the brain power and experience on board, that the possibility of Spithill driving at them on starboard in the opening race might occur. It was a match race after all. Did they think he would not engage with them?

 

If A5 were aware that BMWO had a faster boat why not be more aggresive themselves in the pre-start and attempt to inflict a penalty and control the start? We saw that once 'in irons' BMWO was difficult to manoeuvre, should they not have been thinking before the start of the 2nd race that they ought to be forcing a dial up situation, surely this would have had a greater priority than pinging the ends?

 

I still can't believe how nieve the afterguard were in the pre-start.

I don't think the Aferguard WAS naive. A5 had a worse potential "stuck in irons" problem than DZ because their sails can't draw as close to the wind and their 75'wide configuration. They gambled on crossing DZ, and while they had good data on top speeds, as Spithill pointed out, in their testing they didn't do all that much starting practice with overspeed runs. Remember the angles for entry into the box aren't ones that would be on the polars the A5 Spies would have collected.

 

And I think the raw accelleration and speed of DZ on that angle surprised A5. And they reacted as though they were in a classic IACC boat and blew it.

 

Ask yourself - what could A5, given that it is 30%-50% less maneuverable - have done to "be aggressive"? any move they can throw at DZ, DZ can handle better than they can. Their only hope is a self-inflicted mistake as per Spithill sheeting on the Jib just a bit too hard. at 1:50 and getting too close.

 

BTW on

Design Team

I think too much is being made of "in house expertise". Large engineering projects, the expertise resides with the contracted designers. And BOTH teams used contract designers. In BOTH cases the teams derived ideas from OTHER programs (DZ from Groupama and CZ's hull design is from the A-Cat class). I think CZ's "knowledge" here is overblown.

  • Their hulls shapes were new and they had no expertise with massive hulls in a seaway.
  • Like DZ, they had to keep adding power to their masts
  • Even then they had to change the sail balance (larger spine, gennaker) late in the game for more power

So I see this as a 100% win for BMW. BMW built the more innovative platform, more adaptable platform and one that just plain SAILED BETTER in more conditions than A5.

 

Even if without the wing A5 would have been faster in the lighter airs, the hobbyhorsing their hull did in any sort of seaway as something they could not change. So DZ built the more versatile boat, and sailing fundamentally is done in variable wind and sea conditions. That A5 tried to avoid this reality in their design I think makes them a pertty big loser.

Curved daggerboards were claimed to be a benefit in damping hobbyhorsee style pitching

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