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It’s the Format not the Boats


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Although I am not in the camp that thinks this AC is boring, I do agree with them that it could be more exciting. However, the lack of excitement has nothing to do with the boats. Rather, it is exciting almost exclusively because of the boats. If there is an area where the excitement dial could be turned up a bit, it’s the format.

Any interesting sport has a good balance of fairness and unpredictability. After four races, this AC looks very predictable: win the start, sail clean and you win the race. Changing the platform for more traditional boats only introduces more predictability because they are known entities. There might be greater diversity in manoeuvres – e.g., we might see more hooks at the start if it is easier to get a hook in a displacement boat – but they will still be known manoeuvres. Despite the predictability of the races, The AC75s still have some unknown elements to them and areas to improve (e.g., playing with canting angle in tacks, as Mozzy Sails pointed out).  

In order to introduce more unpredictability in the race, and thus more excitement, the most logical area to tinker with is the format. For example, right now there is not a lot of wind variability on the course, which results in little room, or incentive to hunt, for passing lanes. Tacking/gybing translates into roughly a 50m loss each time, so there is a strong incentive to reduce manoeuvres and sail boundary to boundary. Increasing the size of the course would increase the wind variability, and thus lead to less predictable results.

Another area to introduce more risk taking is the penalties. JS was criticized for trying a luff in race 1 whose risk greatly outweighed its reward, which would have been a measly 50m penalty. Increase the reward for penalties and there is a greater incentive to take riskier manoeuvres. Perhaps the rule makers do not want to incentive that kind of risk taking for safety concerns. It’s just an example.

The point is that if the game isn’t exciting, change the format rules, not the equipment. When the NHL wanted to increase scoring and open up the ice, they removed the two-line pass. When the NBA began having players who could jump high enough block any shot arcing down toward the rim, they introduced goaltending to prevent that. When the NFL wanted to see more passing offence and fewer kicks, they moved the goalposts from the front to the back of the endzone.  

All this to say that the last thing I would change about this AC is the boats. They are, for me anyway, the most thrilling thing on water; I would be happy just to watch them practice. Looking back at the 72s, it seemed hard to imagine anything as exciting or more than those foiling cats. The 75s do that and give the impression that we are witnessing a prolonged Wright brothers moment in sailing.   

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Another possible change that I forgot to mention was alluded to by KR during yesterday's race: encourage more displacement mode sailing, perhaps by removing or lowering the lower wind limit. This would widen the speed range of the boats and place a premium on how quick you can get on your foils.

Slow can be just as exciting as fast. Arguably the most thrilling moment in AC history was the final race in '07 in 2-5kt TWS. 

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Agreed. When I suggested mixing the courses up more in the Prada Cup final thread, I was told it was because I was probably an INEOS fan. The course with stable wind in strength and direction does not lend itself to excitement. And, as you also mention, the relatively small course doesn't allow for many strategic possibilities. 

I, however, think that it's not only a courses and formats problem but a boat problem too. There's a difference in the boats being exciting by themselves, which they are, and them producing good racing, which they aren't. After a while, the novelty and excitement of watching big boats foiling fast starts to go away and the racing is just too aseptic, contactless, possibility-less. Do we need displacement boats again, or a mix as you say, for this to improve? I don't know, but my guess is that the more variables you introduce, downwind sails come to mind for one, and the more possibilities for engagement you create, the higher the probability to have at least something happen in a race. If some of us as sailing fans are starting to get bored by this, I can't imagine how the general public is supposed to start enjoying it...

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Just a crazy idea. Tell me if it's bullshit.

What if the boats must, by a rule, use a huge CZ with a minimum specified sail area in every downwind leg? And they have to hoist it soon after rounding the upwind mark? They will have to somehow find a way to dramatically slow down the downwind speed (to get an apparent wind wide enough not to kill the CZ) and point lower, but still remaining in the foiling range. There could be also more covering from behind, crew errors in changing the sails.

Honestly, a downwind leg at 45/50 kts without any possibility of overtaking is quite useless.

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19 minutes ago, DLT said:

Agreed. When I suggested mixing the courses up more in the Prada Cup final thread, I was told it was because I was probably an INEOS fan. The course with stable wind in strength and direction does not lend itself to excitement. And, as you also mention, the relatively small course doesn't allow for many strategic possibilities. 

I, however, think that it's not only a courses and formats problem but a boat problem too. There's a difference in the boats being exciting by themselves, which they are, and them producing good racing, which they aren't. After a while, the novelty and excitement of watching big boats foiling fast starts to go away and the racing is just too aseptic, contactless, possibility-less. Do we need displacement boats again, or a mix as you say, for this to improve? I don't know, but my guess is that the more variables you introduce, downwind sails come to mind for one, and the more possibilities for engagement you create, the higher the probability to have at least something happen in a race. If some of us as sailing fans are starting to get bored by this, I can't imagine how the general public is supposed to start enjoying it...

True, something should happen, but whatever that is, it would be a shame if it diminished the performance of the boats. Innovation is kind of the AC brand and DNA. Otherwise, what would distinguish it from the World Match Racing Tour? 

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15 minutes ago, strider470 said:

Just a crazy idea. Tell me if it's bullshit.

What if the boats must, by a rule, use a huge CZ with a minimum specified sail area in every downwind leg? And they have to hoist it soon after rounding the upwind mark? They will have to somehow find a way to dramatically slow down the downwind speed (to get an apparent wind wide enough not to kill the CZ) and point lower, but still remaining in the foiling range. There could be also more covering from behind, crew errors in changing the sails.

Honestly, a downwind leg at 45/50 kts without any possibility of overtaking is quite useless.

I think it would be cool to see, but I'd favour rules that don't artificially decrease the boat's performance, and instead make it more unpredictable as to how that performance is maximized. 

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I honestly think it's partly a bit of bad luck with the conditions and courses. I thought the round robin was excellent racing. Some races light enough to get teams in and out of displacement, and some windy enough races to force big handling errors. And shifts to boot.

Since then we've had a one sided Prada cup semi final and then very steady conditions. 

I do think two relatively simple things could make the races better. first a wider course. I can see why they went narrow to keep the boats close. But as soon as every team can nail all tacks and gybes, it makes getting the leverage to pass very difficult. 

The ore-start time could be made longer, or, the start box and start line could be made smaller. I think if 3-4 manoeuvres were required before starting rather than 1 or 2 it would expand the tactical options exponentially. 

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1 minute ago, Will_Co said:

True, something should happen, but whatever that is, it would be a shame if it diminished the performance of the boats. Innovation is kind of the AC brand and DNA. Otherwise, what would distinguish it from the World Match Racing Tour? 

Innovation for innovation's sake is no good for anything. If all the AC is going to be is a battle of egos, then why don't they just make computer simulations (i.e. really expensive video games) in their respective R&D departments and have a final Geek Cup somewhere in the cloud. Of course, no one would see it or care about it, and that's one of the main objectives of the egos of the guys that run this thing. 

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1 minute ago, Will_Co said:

That's a straw man argument. Innovation is obviously defined by the parameters of the sport, i.e., sailing, and not video game playing. 

I think you missed my point: if it's only going to be about technology, and the racing, i.e. what appeals to the sailing and wider public, is bad, they might as well hold it behind closed doors as no one really cares.

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1 minute ago, DLT said:

I think you missed my point: if it's only going to be about technology, and the racing, i.e. what appeals to the sailing and wider public, is bad, they might as well hold it behind closed doors as no one really cares.

Right, but my point was never that it should only be about technology, as you suggest. It was that if we are going to make it more interesting, that should not come at the cost of the technology, which is astounding and worthy of celebration IMHO.  

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Just now, Will_Co said:

Right, but my point was never that it should only be about technology, as you suggest. It was that if we are going to make it more interesting, that should not come at the cost of the technology, which is astounding and worthy of celebration IMHO.  

I was being hyperbolic, but if you watch the races in the Prada final and the AC final so far, it would seem the balance between technology and "sport", show, spectacle, entertainment, or whatever you want to call it, has been badly skewed towards the former. For me tech, as part of a sport (or any of the others mentioned above) is only good if it improves it. If it becomes a goal in an of itself, IMO, it stops not only being "astounding and worthy of celebration" as you point out, but altogether useful or desirable.  

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If at the start of the race

the Wind is NOT heading from Top Mark to Bottom

and islands fuck with said wind

and boats go to opposite sides of the track

it's a Crap Shoot once reserved for acts of desperation for a boat so far behind it had no chance otherwise

these boats are Not in the same race, just in same place at same time

jus sayin

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I also thought that  bigger race course and larger boundaries would be better for nicer races, navigation etc.  but now I also realized that in that case a small straight line speed difference would be enough to win the race.

With larger race course we would probably be 4-0   (but I do not know for whom ;) )

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5 minutes ago, roca said:

I also thought that  bigger race course and larger boundaries would be better for nicer races, navigation etc.  but now I also realized that in that case a small straight line speed difference would be enough to win the race.

With larger race course we would probably be 4-0   (but I do not know for whom ;) )

Agreed. Need to keep the course narrow; its the only chance a slightly slower boat can win through sailing skills.   Wide courses, or reaching legs, or course races will just turn into drag races of pure boat speed. Then it TRULY becomes a design competition without any regard to sailing skill. 

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1 hour ago, DLT said:

Innovation for innovation's sake is no good for anything. If all the AC is going to be is a battle of egos, then why don't they just make computer simulations (i.e. really expensive video games) in their respective R&D departments and have a final Geek Cup somewhere in the cloud. Of course, no one would see it or care about it, and that's one of the main objectives of the egos of the guys that run this thing. 

Looking at global viewership no one is seeing or care about the Cup now. NZ and Italy yes, rest of world....meh.

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1 hour ago, DLT said:

I was being hyperbolic, but if you watch the races in the Prada final and the AC final so far, it would seem the balance between technology and "sport", show, spectacle, entertainment, or whatever you want to call it, has been badly skewed towards the former. For me tech, as part of a sport (or any of the others mentioned above) is only good if it improves it. If it becomes a goal in an of itself, IMO, it stops not only being "astounding and worthy of celebration" as you point out, but altogether useful or desirable.  

I think you've put your finger on an important limiting factor in technological development. That is, whatever the technological improvement, it must retain a sufficient connection with the sport and ideally grow the crowd rather than lose it. In other words, it must get the casual sailor to say "this is mind blowing, but I can relate to it" and to the non-sailor fan, "I don't understand this, but it is thrilling and I want to know more." (e.g., I know nothing about rugby, but I love watching it.) Perhaps the AC is falling short in growing the fan base. I just think that you can improve the races while keeping the boats as they are.  

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2 minutes ago, kenergy said:

When is it ever different? 

If Americans in final more viewers I suspect and covered on news in US. If NZ vs. ITA, I enjoy but in France or US not on tv or in papers. 

My 6 year old grand daughter followed Vendée daily at school (a geography lesson). My three daughters all very talented sailors, none have watched 1 minute of cup.

When your global event has less viewers than a Ligue 1 football match between teams that are set to be relegated you have a problem.

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Nathan pointed out that so far Port Entry significantly advantages your start and the likelihood of winning the race. The worst case would be that the boat which, by draw, had the most Port Entries won the Cup.  

I think there is too little time in the box before the start, and 5 or even 10 minutes of Mano a Mano with boats this volatile would enhance the event.  I also think the artificially narrow racetrack is problematic, at once keeping the boats close together but making it very hard to pass.

I also think the races are too short.  I would target races that were closer to an hour in length.  The 18’s seem to be able to keep the audiences attention for that long, I expect the AC should be able to do the same.

SHC

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13 minutes ago, Jean-Baptiste said:

If Americans in final more viewers I suspect and covered on news in US. If NZ vs. ITA, I enjoy but in France or US not on tv or in papers. 

My 6 year old grand daughter followed Vendée daily at school (a geography lesson). My three daughters all very talented sailors, none have watched 1 minute of cup.

When your global event has less viewers than a Ligue 1 football match between teams that are set to be relegated you have a problem.

It has always been a niche event, when there are more national teams in the event then interest is higher but as they get knocked out, interest falls, nothing new or surprising about it. 

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The boundaries just make it to easy to stay ahead and they are too good at sailing the boats. Options could be:

  • Include some legs at the death angle so there might be an element of excitement and capsize is always on the cards
  • Sack off match racing and just have a series of fleet races. Faster boat would still win but at least you can't cover everyone
  • Make the foil span shorter in the rule. Make the boats harder to sail so they still make mistakes. 
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On my TV screen, 40 knots doesn't look that different than 8 knots after awhile. It's hard to tell whether they are going upwind or down since the AWA only varies by a few degrees. Mark roundings are hardly different than any other turn with the sails hardly moving in or out.  At super high speeds, a tiny miscue (missing a button push) ends the race.

Sport is about the people pushing themselves to the max. Out of the 22 sailors racing, we only see maybe 6 actually do anything and for the most part, we only see them sitting there, holding the wheel, turning a knob or pressing a button. Yes, the others are grinding their little hearts out, but it's invisible and even if we could see them, what their grinding achieves isn't visible to us. Most of the cool technology is hidden and we are not allowed to see it and understand how it works or where teams have taken different approaches. 

Yes, the competitors seem evenly matched for the first time since the IACC in Valencia. But that regatta was far more interesting to watch on TV than this one has been so far. 

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1 hour ago, Jean-Baptiste said:

Looking at global viewership no one is seeing or care about the Cup now. NZ and Italy yes, rest of world....meh.

And this is a problem, because...?

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26 minutes ago, G-Shack said:

The boundaries just make it to easy to stay ahead and they are too good at sailing the boats. Options could be:

  • Include some legs at the death angle so there might be an element of excitement and capsize is always on the cards
  • Sack off match racing and just have a series of fleet races. Faster boat would still win but at least you can't cover everyone
  • Make the foil span shorter in the rule. Make the boats harder to sail so they still make mistakes. 

Bold: Please read this:
DoG.pdf
Then, and only then, press "Submit Reply".

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3 minutes ago, Sailbydate said:

And this is a problem, beca

For me is no problem, for rights holder attempting to monetize event  I imagine significant issue.

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8 minutes ago, A3A said:

On my TV screen, 40 knots doesn't look that different than 8 knots after awhile. It's hard to tell whether they are going upwind or down since the AWA only varies by a few degrees. Mark roundings are hardly different than any other turn with the sails hardly moving in or out.  At super high speeds, a tiny miscue (missing a button push) ends the race.

Sport is about the people pushing themselves to the max. Out of the 22 sailors racing, we only see maybe 6 actually do anything and for the most part, we only see them sitting there, holding the wheel, turning a knob or pressing a button. Yes, the others are grinding their little hearts out, but it's invisible and even if we could see them, what their grinding achieves isn't visible to us. Most of the cool technology is hidden and we are not allowed to see it and understand how it works or where teams have taken different approaches. 

Yes, the competitors seem evenly matched for the first time since the IACC in Valencia. But that regatta was far more interesting to watch on TV than this one has been so far. 

The crews are like hamsters, the skippers may as well be driving a car. Ok I’m vaguely into it because its a competition but its still as boring as fuck. Win the start = win the race so far and I cant see that changing much. You are right, once the ooh aah look at their speed and foils gets old (about 5 minutes) just like the emperors  new clothes there isn’t much going on, just some really dull racing at high speed. I would much rather watch the concup.

People seem to be culturally seduced into more is better, new is better. I dont think that foiling is an improvement in sailing skill as far as the relationship between crew work, playing on the chess board of water and wind. Everyone is focused on the platform, when really it should be about the sailors. They say its a technology race, really? If thats so, go and build a rocket or something. It just goes to show that most people dont sail, dont understand the sport and prefer silicone tits to the real McCoy. That’s all these boats are 75ft silicone titties, nice to look at but the thinking behind them is questionable 

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There are plenty of other regattas and yacht races in other formats to watch for anyone who's interested.

The thing about the AC is that it's the AC - that thing with the 'Deed of Gift' always looming on the horizon of people who want stadium racing with giant beach balls being fired randomly across the course, and tear out hatches in the bottoms of the boats that open when enough people vote for it, and stupid hats at $50 a time, ...

 

But, no we have this things called the 'America's Cup' which involves stupidly wealthy people throwing their money at a really ugly piece of silverware, and using every technological, muscle powered and legal trick they can get away with to win. As long as what is on the water is driven by sails and floats.

Don't like it, other foolishness is available.

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1 hour ago, Steve Clark said:

I think there is too little time in the box before the start, and 5 or even 10 minutes of Mano a Mano with boats this volatile would enhance the event.  

Yes. I don't understand why the period is so short. It is, obviously, by far the most interesting part of the race, at least for anyone who understands what is happening.

I don't agree that the races are too short, at least not while they mostly consist of the leading boat stretching their lead.

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7 minutes ago, Adair said:

There are plenty of other regattas and yacht races in other formats to watch for anyone who's interested.

The thing about the AC is that it's the AC - that thing with the 'Deed of Gift' always looming on the horizon of people who want stadium racing with giant beach balls being fired randomly across the course, and tear out hatches in the bottoms of the boats that open when enough people vote for it, and stupid hats at $50 a time, ...

 

But, no we have this things called the 'America's Cup' which involves stupidly wealthy people throwing their money at a really ugly piece of silverware, and using every technological, muscle powered and legal trick they can get away with to win. As long as what is on the water is driven by sails and floats.

Don't like it, other foolishness is available.

Sure, but thats not how it’s marketed to the masses. 

Would be fine if it was just billionaires playing games but in our case our govt and council (i.e me the taxpayer)  are also mesmerised by it and they are trying to sell it as the pinnacle of sailing.  Why not have a two vestas sailrockets on a straight course, first to the end wins? Maybe I’m a Luddite who thinks sailing should involve more crew work than pumping oil but its still dull racing 

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I think it is mostly the boats that are the issue.

If you do not win the start and still lead at the first top mark, the race is over. These boats are so fast, relatively speaking, and always going up wind it is impossible to come from behind unless there is a major mistake. In the race #4 NZ were 9 seconds behind ITA at the top mark. In non foiling boats this would been so close that Crew work and Spins would have mad a huge difference. But as I have seen in Land sailing, the first boat around accelerates to such a high speed that 9 seconds grew to 30sec and that was the race. No coming from behind because the wind is always forward.

Which is why I have my book with me while watching the races. I'm almost done with the Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt series and I can say his antics are far more exciting than the AC racing. 

Foililng is cool but not ready for primetime

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2 hours ago, Blitzkrieg9 said:

Agreed. Need to keep the course narrow; its the only chance a slightly slower boat can win through sailing skills.   Wide courses, or reaching legs, or course races will just turn into drag races of pure boat speed. Then it TRULY becomes a design competition without any regard to sailing skill. 

You mean like the first ever America’s cup race. 

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13 minutes ago, Stingray~ said:

I sometimes wonder if they should have gone with reaching starts? Those, and the action heading to the gybe mark, then who-gybes-when, were actually great in the AC50’s. Why not also for AC75’s? 

Yes this ^ one of my mates who is an Olympic level sailor said as much, in Bermuda the reading start gave passing lanes. He said it was a big mistake with foilers to not do it.

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19 minutes ago, Stingray~ said:

I sometimes wonder if they should have gone with reaching starts? Those, and the action heading to the gybe mark, then who-gybes-when, were actually great in the AC50’s. Why not also for AC75’s? 

@Stingray, you might be someone who could find where Oracle Racing studied the various courses and arrived at the reaching start to a downwind run specifically to make passing more likely and address the issue this Cup and thread has emphasized.  I recall how much they talked about the choice of courses and boats to make the events attractive to the public.  Am I right in recalling that this was the purpose of the revised format used in the two prior cups?  I feel like Russell may be chuckling.  

There may be other ways as mentioned above to improve the event, but my sense is by forgetting recent history, we are trying to address issues already well investigated with professional skills and substantial resources.

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I think unpredictability should be introduced into the event as much as possible but without compromising the performance of the boats.  A couple of simple changes as mentioned from the point of view of a non expert.

1. Increase the length of the start time to say 4 minutes would certainly increase close manoeuvres and all the excitement that would bring.

2. Widen the course.

3. Reduce the reliance on tactical software and increase the responsibility to make the judgment call on when to execute a manoeuvre on the skipper tactician etc - seat of the pants sailing.

Hopefully course C will be used tomorrow with a SW wind, interesting to see if this gives the unpredictability desired.

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Having watched the first AC race in SF from the bleachers when the two boats came blasting around the mark and aiming straight at the spectators, I can affirm that it was very, very watchable.   About 10,000 people saying "Holy shit!" all at once. 

Timing the first gybe and working downhill to the leeward mark guaranteed an aggressive and competitive first leg.  Most importantly, the trailing boat has a wind-shadow weapon to attack with and control the course, rather than the lead boat having a weapon to defend with while controlling the course.  

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10 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Most importantly, the trailing boat has a wind-shadow weapon to attack with and control the course, rather than the lead boat having a weapon to defend with while controlling the course.  

Not true for boats that are always sailing with apparent wind from off the bow. That's part of the issue with fast boats, they can inflict bad air on the trailing boat both upwind and down.

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I didn't like the reaching starts in the last 2 editions. The DoG specify's a upwind downwind course for race 1, but a Triangular course for race 2.

I'd like to see that 2nd course back in the cup again, Old George Schuyler  knew a lot about sailing.

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There is a lot of rose-tinted glasses and unreasonable expectations in this thread. Displacement boats in the cup had plenty of boring races, especially in steady wind when one boat got ahead. People forget the bad and only remember the good.

There is a quite a bit of match racing going on, and the same decisions that all one design match racers have to make. Here are the things that these boats seem to be doing quite well at:

  • Tricky lead/push scenarios in the pre-start, having to pick between tight to leeward, gapped to windward, or split tack start. They are at higher speeds, but the fundamental theory of the upwind start has been the same. The biggest difference is the boats have less momentum and are more effect by dirty air, making the lead the powerful position, given more races the sailors will adjust to this.
  • The first cross is crucial, and in steady breeze, the boat that controls at the first cross is likely to win the race.
  • When leading you have to pick whether to engage with the boat behind or try and save a maneuver and limit mistakes. 
  • The trailing boat has to hunt for splits and hope to get a lucky shift in order to pass.
  • The relative loss for a maneuver is fairly low (~2 boat lengths), this means you do see boats tactically short tacking instead of going boundary to boundary.

Being apparent wind boats, it is harder for the trailing boat to attack downwind. If we get these boats for another cycle (I hope we do), I think the following changes would help:

  • A 3-minute pre-start to force an extra couple of maneuvers. I doubt you will see the boats engage much in the extra minute, but it changes the positional dynamics.
  • Switch to traditional match racing penalties (A 270 degree turn) where you can carry a penalty and try and burn it. These boats have proven that they are more than maneuverable enough spin. I don't think anyone expected that and they stuck with the distance penalties that were required in the cats.
  • Widen or eliminate the boundaries. Given the relatively low cost of a maneuver, the boats have proven that you can tactically race without going boundary to boundary.

This cup has proven that no matter what boats you sail, the fundamentals of racing are the same. If you win the start and sail faster than the other boat, you will win the race.

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2 hours ago, toad said:

That’s all these boats are 75ft silicone titties, nice to look at but the thinking behind them is questionable 

That's some funny s right there. 

My first thought was the crazy/hot scale.  ETNZ was thinking they could design a Unicorn. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Will_Co said:

I think you've put your finger on an important limiting factor in technological development. That is, whatever the technological improvement, it must retain a sufficient connection with the sport and ideally grow the crowd rather than lose it. In other words, it must get the casual sailor to say "this is mind blowing, but I can relate to it" and to the non-sailor fan, "I don't understand this, but it is thrilling and I want to know more." (e.g., I know nothing about rugby, but I love watching it.) Perhaps the AC is falling short in growing the fan base. I just think that you can improve the races while keeping the boats as they are.  

I think technology advancement should always serve a purpose. Has technology from the America's Cup improved something? I think it has, cuben fiber comes to mind for example. And there will probably be many technological contributions from this cup not only to the world of sailing but to other areas as well. However, has the America's Cup been necessary to create these technological advancements or could they have been also found in a strictly R&D environment? If you are going to organize a very expensive competition that the public can watch, in whatever field by the way, shouldn't the scales tip in the direction of entertainment? Of presenting a good competition, good sport ultimately? 

As another poster wisely said, modern times are focusing too much on the machines, the technology and the hype itself when in sports it has always been the human component that has made a difference. Let's give humans their importance back, not only in America's Cup sailing, but also in F1 for example, and the spirit of sport will be redeemed. 

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5 hours ago, strider470 said:

Just a crazy idea. Tell me if it's bullshit.

What if the boats must, by a rule, use a huge CZ with a minimum specified sail area in every downwind leg? And they have to hoist it soon after rounding the upwind mark? They will have to somehow find a way to dramatically slow down the downwind speed (to get an apparent wind wide enough not to kill the CZ) and point lower, but still remaining in the foiling range. There could be also more covering from behind, crew errors in changing the sails.

Honestly, a downwind leg at 45/50 kts without any possibility of overtaking is quite useless.

There isn't much of a downwind leg.  Like iceboats, the speed pulls the apparent wind so far forward on either leg, they're close-hauled ALL the time.  Racing iceboats is fun to do; not so much fun to watch.

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53 minutes ago, sailer99 said:

There is a lot of rose-tinted glasses and unreasonable expectations in this thread. Displacement boats in the cup had plenty of boring races, especially in steady wind when one boat got ahead.

Amen. In the famously spectacular 2000 AC there were TWO HUNDRED AND SEVEN races. 207.  And each race was over 1.5 hours long. With that much racing, even in a beer league, there are going to be some awesome moments. 

But 99.9% of the time it was a total snooze fest. Bring a book. 

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When I saw the first renderings  of the AC75 back in 2017 I thought that’s never going to work, I must admit I was very impressed when the first videos of them foiling started to appear. Since then my appreciation of them has been slowly waning, images of the underdeck hydraulic  plumbing and electrics had me wondering if they were power boats and not the beautiful sailing boats they appeared to be. Fuck, for way less money and technology you could easily get pigs to fly!  I’ve watched all of the races so far and in hindsight the only really interesting ones have been the two on the day Patriot capsized(both in a decent breeze, especially the earlier race where there was a bit of swell present) and the races where both boats fell of the foil, and one other where there was something like 6 changes of lead.                               I feel that by replacing the athleticism with technology will be undoing of the AC75 as a future AC class no matter what changes are made to courses,rules etc.  

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5 hours ago, Jean-Baptiste said:

Looking at global viewership no one is seeing or care about the Cup now. NZ and Italy yes, rest of world....meh.

Ya I'm watching from Europe (somewhere in DAGOprea VPM)

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Heres the thing, at 8kts youre looking at a lot of puffs and sailing  to them, at 50 kts theres  a lot less shifts to work. Moreover a fraction of a second miscalculation is the end of the race, this event is all about the gear not the sailors. I know its not a popularity contest but the simpler the gear the more its about the athletes, lasers are stupidly popular because they so basic. A football (which can be anything roundish) is what makes the worlds most popular sport. When its pushed to the limit like this, then the sailors may as well not be there and some geek with a remote control and a zillion data feeds would do a much better job.

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If the AC is supposed to be about the tech, then the rules should require revealing the systems involved. Once the final measurement for the AC is complete, each team should have to demo their sail and flight control systems for the public.  Answer the thousands of speculations on this site!

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9 hours ago, Will_Co said:

Another possible change that I forgot to mention was alluded to by KR during yesterday's race: encourage more displacement mode sailing, perhaps by removing or lowering the lower wind limit.

How would requiring displacement mode inside the rounding rings work?

Getting up on the foils again would introduce a lot of skill based variables.

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6 minutes ago, Forourselves said:

Get rid of the boundaries and the racing will be much more interesting. Also have both boats come into the start box at the same time like they used to.

With how much these boats lose/risk on maneuvers, removing boundaries would likely just result in one or two-tack/jibe legs, which would be even more boring.

I say have the boats come into the box earlier, at 3 or 4ish minutes, and hope for unsteady breeze - not much else you can do imo.

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7 hours ago, Steve Clark said:

Nathan pointed out that so far Port Entry significantly advantages your start and the likelihood of winning the race. The worst case would be that the boat which, by draw, had the most Port Entries won the Cup.  

I think there is too little time in the box before the start, and 5 or even 10 minutes of Mano a Mano with boats this volatile would enhance the event.  I also think the artificially narrow racetrack is problematic, at once keeping the boats close together but making it very hard to pass.

I also think the races are too short.  I would target races that were closer to an hour in length.  The 18’s seem to be able to keep the audiences attention for that long, I expect the AC should be able to do the same.

SHC

Yes, yes, yes for more time in the start box, if possible a bigger start box.

Recognising the commercial need for max action for TV viewership, I think race lengths are about right.

The other biggie for me is a TV director who is an experienced sailor, preferably match racer,  who focuses his shots, cut and edits on showing a visually logical story.  Example: save shots of crowds cheering for a simple tack, or similar.  Avoid beauty and sweetening shots when one boat is rounding with another in their wake. I want new viewers to come away with a better appreciation of the sport and not a recollection of jumbled out-of-context action shots.

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10 minutes ago, Forourselves said:

Get rid of the boundaries and the racing will be much more interesting. Also have both boats come into the start box at the same time like they used to.

Boundaries exist mostly for crowd control.  Always have.

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6 hours ago, toad said:

 

The crews are like hamsters, the skippers may as well be driving a car. Ok I’m vaguely into it because its a competition but its still as boring as fuck. Win the start = win the race so far and I cant see that changing much. You are right, once the ooh aah look at their speed and foils gets old (about 5 minutes) just like the emperors  new clothes there isn’t much going on, just some really dull racing at high speed. I would much rather watch the concup.

People seem to be culturally seduced into more is better, new is better. I dont think that foiling is an improvement in sailing skill as far as the relationship between crew work, playing on the chess board of water and wind. Everyone is focused on the platform, when really it should be about the sailors. They say its a technology race, really? If thats so, go and build a rocket or something. It just goes to show that most people dont sail, dont understand the sport and prefer silicone tits to the real McCoy. That’s all these boats are 75ft silicone titties, nice to look at but the thinking behind them is questionable 

AC has always been about the platform.

 

18 minutes ago, KiwiJoker said:

Yes, yes, yes for more time in the start box, if possible a bigger start box.

Recognising the commercial need for max action for TV viewership, I think race lengths are about right.

The other biggie for me is a TV director who is an experienced sailor, preferably match racer,  who focuses his shots, cut and edits on showing a visually logical story.  Example: save shots of crowds cheering for a simple tack, or similar.  Avoid beauty and sweetening shots when one boat is rounding with another in their wake. I want new viewers to come away with a better appreciation of the sport and not a recollection of jumbled out-of-context action shots.

I think the small start box is a blessing, bigger start box will just result in a longer lead/push battle on starboard tack, but not any more maneuvers

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1 hour ago, Oceanagain said:

How would requiring displacement mode inside the rounding rings work?

Getting up on the foils again would introduce a lot of skill based variables.

I’m not suggesting requiring displacement mode, but rather allowing races to go ahead in conditions where it is likely to occur. 

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how about

once in Start Box .... No Exiting other than across the startline

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How about 2 races of the 13 where each boat gets to start 2 minutes in front of the other one and has to try and maintain the 2 minute head start?  Each boat would sail each race in clear air and with modern computer graphics could be  made pretty compelling.  It would be interesting to see them come blasting in at 60 knots or so and then stuff it up at the starts!   It’s a little boring when one boat is constantly getting dirt or is being forced to sail on the slow half of the course...

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Make the start sequence a minute longer.

Make the course another 100 to 200 metres wider.

I think both of those would improve things quite significantly.

As it stands the start sequence consists of one 10 to 15 second chance for one boat to make something happen. Once on the course the boats never get enough seperation or time to wind up to really benefit from sniffing out a great shift or pressure change.

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I find my self not watching the race and just the starts. It tells me who will win. I am a neutral in this with my boat (INEOS now land fill) It is a bit like a game of rugby where one team gets of to a 30 point lead in the first 20 mins. Then not much happens of interest after.

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I propose a 'surprise start' i.e. the start is given between 3 and 5 minutes after the preparatory signal. The public see the time, the racers do not. For two minutes you must be ready to start in a better position than your opponent. A very short course, only one upwind/downwind leg. 3 to 5 races per day. Well, IMHO this could be enjoyable for the mainstream public but I learnt to race with the old 1-2-3-1-2-1-2 olympic course, 2hrs> race with the oppies...

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1 minute ago, jurop88 said:

I propose a 'surprise start' i.e. the start is given between 3 and 5 minutes after the preparatory signal. The public see the time, the racers do not. For two minutes you must be ready to start in a better position than your opponent. A very short course, only one upwind/downwind leg. 3 to 5 races per day. Well, IMHO this could be enjoyable for the mainstream public but I learnt to race with the old 1-2-3-1-2-1-2 olympic course, 2hrs> race with the oppies...

Fun idea! :D 

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10 hours ago, dullers said:

(INEOS now land fill)

Only landfill if the class changes.

However it seems to me that with relatively large differences between ETNZ and LR that INEOS wasn't actually such a bad boat. Off the pace for sure, but maybe not as much as was assumed during the Prada Cup final.

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6 minutes ago, jaysper said:

Only landfill if the class changes.

However it seems to me that with relatively large differences between ETNZ and LR that INEOS wasn't actually such a bad boat. Off the pace for sure, but maybe not as much as was assumed during the Prada Cup final.

Both INEOS and AM had their sweet spots, for sure. 

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43 minutes ago, Stingray~ said:

Both INEOS and AM had their sweet spots, for sure. 

I still think AM had a damned good shot at being the challengers. My only concern about them was Hutch and Deano. They just don't seem up to the task.

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The speeds that these boats generate on a ridiculously narrow course doesn't do justice to sailing performance of crews due to inability to pass except due to a mistake from the boat in front .I also think that NZ are at a disadvantage with lack of racing competition in the Prada cup .All teams should have the benefit of equal racing in the leadup especially when these are new boats and tech .The holder of the cup must be allowed equal opportunity to maximize starts in competition as were the other boats

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Instead of having the entry line on the start box in the centre of the restart zone it should be offset 30% to the right so the starboard tack boat will boundary out quicker and be forced to sail out of the right and then they can both fight for the best spot. 

 

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20 minutes ago, Mitre cut said:

Instead of having the entry line on the start box in the centre of the restart zone it should be offset 30% to the right so the starboard tack boat will boundary out quicker and be forced to sail out of the right and then they can both fight for the best spot. 

 

Oooh, interesting idea. 

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4 hours ago, jaysper said:

Only landfill if the class changes.

However it seems to me that with relatively large differences between ETNZ and LR that INEOS wasn't actually such a bad boat. Off the pace for sure, but maybe not as much as was assumed during the Prada Cup final.

Rita might be a very good boat with the right foils

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What about a beat to the finish? There is always an extension by the leading boat when they round the top mark. This is never recovered all things being equal in a run to the  finish. By having the finish at the top the finish D will generally be less than it was at the bottom mark.

It would force the leader to be more conservative on the last leg if its tight and could encourage more tacking duels or even a potential flyer that could make it interesting.

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On 3/13/2021 at 4:05 AM, Will_Co said:

Another possible change that I forgot to mention was alluded to by KR during yesterday's race: encourage more displacement mode sailing, perhaps by removing or lowering the lower wind limit. This would widen the speed range of the boats and place a premium on how quick you can get on your foils.

Slow can be just as exciting as fast. Arguably the most thrilling moment in AC history was the final race in '07 in 2-5kt TWS. 

Agree 100% ... And have been saying this for weeks 

The whole format is for tv, dumb Gen Y'rs, and people who like image more than substance.

Racing at 4pm when the breeze goes down with the sun is not about sailing but TV.

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America’s cup ....the new style of match racing ....
As we find ourselves midway through the current edition of the America’s cup and the scores are locked  at 3 a piece , there are plenty of people questioning the style  of racing we are witnessing on the water off New Zealand .
The history of the America’s cup goes back well over 170 years and the racing has always been based on boat on boat match racing style where the winner takes all and as the famous quote goes “there is no second prize”
Back when it all started and right up until the turn of this century the boats have been predominantly displacement type hulls that go about as fast upwind as they did down wind ..there fore the upwind start and slow speed boat on boat battles that where a feature of that era in sailing definitely delivered close racing as the boats would fight for every boat length advantage they could get upwind ,then the big spinnakers where deployed for the downwind legs and then the boat behind could try and take the wind away from the boat boat in front by covering and trying to Fed dirty wind to the boat ahead .....so on and so forth until
 eventually there was a winner ...sometimes this was by mere seconds ,yes it was captivating at times !
The traditional upwind down wind course suited these boats perfectly as it provided both boats  an opportunity to get back into the races if they were behind .......
Fast forward to the new type of apparent wind sailing we are now witnessing in the America’s cup and these boats are sometimes sailing 4-5 times faster then the wind and the apparent  wind being so far forward all the time therefore never really going downwind as such... gone are the days of the boat behind bringing breeze to the leader or finding a shift that they could use to catch up on the lead boat ...
So we are all complain about the current boats in the America’s cup not producing exciting racing but I don’t think the boats  are the problem ...it’s the 170 year old course design that we have put these modern machines on and expecting the racing to be like it was in the old days ....not going to happen .....
Plenty has been made of the  stadium type race course  (and I love this concept ) but the course design /config needs to change to allow the new style of boats to really Show how good the Racing could be. 

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10 minutes ago, tbm said:

Plenty has been made of the  stadium type race course  (and I love this concept ) but the course design /config needs to change to allow the new style of boats to really Show how good the Racing could be. 

And you suggest the course design should be..........?

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9 minutes ago, dogwatch said:

And you suggest the course design should be..........?

Reaching starts into a downwind first leg into a bottom gate would give the boats more options to setup  there first upwind legs and tighten up the racing as a whole ........
 Or something along these lines ......

when I finally make my first 150 million and put an Aussie team in the cup and win it I’ll be able to make the rules ...but while I’m waiting these are just some of my ideas .....roast  away if you need to ...

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The Wussell-vision course then, of AC34-35. Some 60 seconds after the start, first around mark 1 was a strong predictor for the winner and the prestarts were dull as ditch water.

 

 

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23 hours ago, jaysper said:

Only landfill if the class changes.

However it seems to me that with relatively large differences between ETNZ and LR that INEOS wasn't actually such a bad boat. Off the pace for sure, but maybe not as much as was assumed during the Prada Cup final.

I agree but the final 1% is always the hardest to get.