Untold: "The Race of the Century" documentary on Netflix

Curious2

Anarchist
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He didn’t claim anything he proved it in his book.

How? The excerpt you linked to just claims it. Are there verified documents to prove he refined the keel shape to the extent that he actually designed it (as far as that can be defined)? As far as I recall the controversy, Sloof claimed to have invented wings and that was clearly not the case as the plans of a winglet 12 had been published around 1974.

Just saying something is not proof. If that was so, the denials would also be proof. Anyone can say anything, but that is not proof.

I only met Ben personally once but he was well known as someone who was fond of trying out wild ideas. He had been a fan of Uffa Fox, who had used "upside down" keels in the 1930s and 1940s. He mentioned his Uffa story in a Ronstan-sponsored lecture at Middle Harbour YC, Sydney, that I went to as a kid and that was reproduced in Australian Sailing magazine about 1980, so this is not revisionist history.

Many designers had done "upside down" keels (ie with root shorter than tip) in the 1890s and Van de Stadt and Spencer (not to mention others) had done "upside down" keels in the '50s to '70s, so the inference in the book that they were new thinking is obviously wrong. Sloof says that he "point(ed) out" that an inverted tape/upside down keel moved ballast lower and improved stability but come on, everyone knew that, and Ben certainly would have. After all, within a mile or so of his house there were Spencer and Van de Stadt boats with keels specially designed to have narrow chord roots and long bases to keep the ballast low, as did his hero Uffa's Flying 15s. Sloof's claim that he had to "point out" this stuff is obviously over the top.

Sloof says that the opportunity to test "upside down" keels had not come up, but he also says he didn't know much about 12s or the AC so one may well wonder how wide his yacht design knowledge was. "Upside down" keels had been around for 90 years so they were not unknown, as he seems to imply, whereas we know for a documented fact that Ben had been a big fan of two men (Fox and Herreshoff) that used them and every designer here knew about Spencer and VdS who also used them. Given that Ben had used wings on foils (I have 1963 vintage published drawings of them on my bookshelf); that he was aware of "upside down" keels; and that the two other Australian designers had published a drawing of a 12 with winglets a few years before, it's easy to see that he could have put the ingredients together and conceived the winged keel. If it was so hard to conceive, why had Payne and Hood done it years before?

Parallel invention is also very well known, as is taking an idea and effectively making it your own by modifying it significantly and putting it into practise.
 
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enigmatically2

Super Anarchist
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Earth
It seems to me that much of this argument is mis-directed.

It is clearly the case that nothing is completely designed by one person or in one country. Everything leads on what has gone before. Plainly that is the case with wings and upside down keels here.
Therefore there can be no contravention of the rules by the use of either of those elements (any more than there can be for traditional keels which pre-date the existence of the USA so could not have been totally designed in country).

The evidence strongly supports the assertion that Ben asked the Dutch to test such a design, and thus "designed" that design. Thus the only question is whether the Dutch at any point suggested changing some aspect of that design and actually proposed a new design rather than just saving that the existing design didn't work because of X or just giving the test results.

I have no direct knowledge, but had such a suggestion been made, there would have presumably been records of the report/communication in the Dutch test house. In the absence of such every appearing in the public domain, Occam's razor suggests that we must assume they do not exist.
And therefore the keel was designed in Aus (based on elements that had been in the public domain for a long time)
 

dogwatch

Super Anarchist
17,176
1,769
South Coast, UK
I didn't see a related thread posted anywhere, so figured I'd start a new one.

Watched the "Untold: Race of the Century" documentary on Netflix last night covering the 1983 America's Cup, and I have to say I rather enjoyed it. I'm familiar with the story and have seen similar documentaries, but the new interviews with John Bertrand, Dennis Connor, and more really gave it a new level of depth. It follows the narrator-less, interviewee only voice format that "The Last Dance," "Senna," and other recent sports documentaries take. Some critique is that it's clearly geared towards the sailing-uninitiated, and doesn't focus much on actual strategies and techniques. (ex: they focus a lot on the innovative winged keel, but don't even try to explain how it works.) Also, they kind of overplay the underdog aspect of the Australian team, which had won the last few challenger series and was already on their way to becoming a world class entity. Still, I'd say it's worth a watch!

Curious to hear everyone's thoughts? Discuss!

I finally watched it yesterday. Better than I expected. Of course, yes, it's for "sports fans" not sailors but that's to be expected, nobody is about to make mainstream TV aimed at us. I didn't know Bertrand was so into woo-woo psychology but I guess it worked for them. Fuck me, Connor looks and sounds old, most 80+ people I know appear sprightly in comparison. I was never a fan but it makes me a bit sad.

I don't want to get into a debate on the relevance of the boats, as that's been done to death here but my main take away from it was how many people knew and cared about the event in 1983 compared to today.
 

JimC

Not actually an anarchist.
8,188
1,087
South East England
I can imagine Bond not signing on principal.
From Bertrand's 'Born to Win'
"Bondy, more out of devilment than anything else, suggested a rather exotic place in which they could store their affidavit. He just refused to sign it. And in total exasperation, Commodore McCullough went off to Bill Fesq, former commodore of the RSYC, and asked him to supply another challenger. Fesq told him rather more politely what Bondy had been so poetically blunt about."

There were, of course, an awful lot of mind games going on. Refusing to sign was just one more way of playing the NYYCs mind games right back at them.
 

sailman

Super Anarchist
8,334
443
Portsmouth, RI
How? The excerpt you linked to just claims it. Are there verified documents to prove he refined the keel shape to the extent that he actually designed it (as far as that can be defined)? As far as I recall the controversy, Sloof claimed to have invented wings and that was clearly not the case as the plans of a winglet 12 had been published around 1974.

Just saying something is not proof. If that was so, the denials would also be proof. Anyone can say anything, but that is not proof.

I only met Ben personally once but he was well known as someone who was fond of trying out wild ideas. He had been a fan of Uffa Fox, who had used "upside down" keels in the 1930s and 1940s. He mentioned his Uffa story in a Ronstan-sponsored lecture at Middle Harbour YC, Sydney, that I went to as a kid and that was reproduced in Australian Sailing magazine about 1980, so this is not revisionist history.

Many designers had done "upside down" keels (ie with root shorter than tip) in the 1890s and Van de Stadt and Spencer (not to mention others) had done "upside down" keels in the '50s to '70s, so the inference in the book that they were new thinking is obviously wrong. Sloof says that he "point(ed) out" that an inverted tape/upside down keel moved ballast lower and improved stability but come on, everyone knew that, and Ben certainly would have. After all, within a mile or so of his house there were Spencer and Van de Stadt boats with keels specially designed to have narrow chord roots and long bases to keep the ballast low, as did his hero Uffa's Flying 15s. Sloof's claim that he had to "point out" this stuff is obviously over the top.

Sloof says that the opportunity to test "upside down" keels had not come up, but he also says he didn't know much about 12s or the AC so one may well wonder how wide his yacht design knowledge was. "Upside down" keels had been around for 90 years so they were not unknown, as he seems to imply, whereas we know for a documented fact that Ben had been a big fan of two men (Fox and Herreshoff) that used them and every designer here knew about Spencer and VdS who also used them. Given that Ben had used wings on foils (I have 1963 vintage published drawings of them on my bookshelf); that he was aware of "upside down" keels; and that the two other Australian designers had published a drawing of a 12 with winglets a few years before, it's easy to see that he could have put the ingredients together and conceived the winged keel. If it was so hard to conceive, why had Payne and Hood done it years before?

Parallel invention is also very well known, as is taking an idea and effectively making it your own by modifying it significantly and putting it into practise.
Read the book, it is a digital download. It is well documented and not a bad read. He goes into detail about his interactions with Lexcen and Bond. He also details the concept of the design, how it worked, etc.
 

terrafirma

Super Anarchist
7,599
1,336
Melbourne
Read the book, it is a digital download. It is well documented and not a bad read. He goes into detail about his interactions with Lexcen and Bond. He also details the concept of the design, how it worked, etc.

Not sure why anyone would want to read it? The man has been called a sad individual amongst other things. Each to their own I suppose.........
 

Ease the sheet.

ignoring stupid people is easy
20,349
2,342
So if van Oossanen lied in 1983, why is he trusted to tell the truth in 2009?

Was he waiting for those who knew the truth to either die or just forget?
 
Just to keep this conversation going, on YouTube there has recently been a series of mini documentaries on various controversial America's Cup editions from a channel called "Fast Forward Sailing." Again, I don't think any of the material is "Untold" for us experts frequenting this forum, but some pretty good nostalgia and a few clips and interviews I hadn't seen before. It's certainly better watching than "Sailing Doodles."

1988 Deed of Gift match:


2010 Deed of Gift match:
(this one smells awfully like propaganda sponsored by Ellison)


2013 Series:
 

Curious2

Anarchist
670
246
The 2010 video looks great but it makes some pretty big howlers early on. USA 17 didn't have the first wing mast in the AC and it wasn't the biggest AC boat ever unless you just count beam and ignore LOA, displacement etc. Were the script writers just ignorant or is it an example of opting for hype over truth? Stunning boat, though.
 

terrafirma

Super Anarchist
7,599
1,336
Melbourne
JB? A Sad individual? Whats the back story?
How did you come up with JB LOL..? The dutchman who waited for Ben to pass awayand then make outlandish claims that he designed the boat. Research shows Lexcen was already playing with winglets/wings prior to the cup. If not for the 2 breakages onboard Australia 11 they could have won the cup prior to the 7th race IMO.
 

sailman

Super Anarchist
8,334
443
Portsmouth, RI
How did you come up with JB LOL..? The dutchman who waited for Ben to pass awayand then make outlandish claims that he designed the boat. Research shows Lexcen was already playing with winglets/wings prior to the cup. If not for the 2 breakages onboard Australia 11 they could have won the cup prior to the 7th race IMO.
Joop Sloof published his book in 2016. He does not claim to have designed the boat, just the keel. He does bring up Lexcen trying to use winglets with no success prior to AII. Sloof's concept and Lexcen's were two different implementations. All the design and testing were done by Sloof.
 

Swanno

Super Anarchist
How did you come up with JB LOL..? The dutchman who waited for Ben to pass awayand then make outlandish claims that he designed the boat. Research shows Lexcen was already playing with winglets/wings prior to the cup. If not for the 2 breakages onboard Australia 11 they could have won the cup prior to the 7th race IMO.
Mixed my drinks. All good now
 

Ease the sheet.

ignoring stupid people is easy
20,349
2,342
Joop Sloof published his book in 2016. He does not claim to have designed the boat, just the keel. He does bring up Lexcen trying to use winglets with no success prior to AII. Sloof's concept and Lexcen's were two different implementations. All the design and testing were done by Sloof.
If only Sloof had his name on something official, something a court could consider evidence.

Like a drawing...
 

terrafirma

Super Anarchist
7,599
1,336
Melbourne
If only Sloof had his name on something official, something a court could consider evidence.

Like a drawing...
Sloof..? An untoward Dutchman and claims that don't have any evidence or foundation. Got to love it.. Peter Pinoccio Van Oossanen

PeterVanOossanen.jpg
 

Svanen

Super Anarchist
1,040
293
Whitby
The NYYC Americas Cup committee pissed off Blackaller with the multiple certificates. He wrote about it in sports illustrated.
''Why We Lost the America's Cup'', Sports Illustrated March 12, 1984:

''Although I think the America's Cup Committee, particularly its chairman, Bob McCullough, handled many situations badly last summer, by far the worst, in my opinion, and the least discussed, was the way the committee got in bed with Conner and the Liberty group in the matter of multiple measurement certificates. To Conner's credit, he figured out an unorthodox but legal way to alter Liberty to suit the conditions. By first having the boat measured in three different configurations and then, on the basis of the weather forecast for the next day, jerking a thousand pounds or so of ballast off, he managed to make his turkey a little better in light weather. He and his designers should be congratulated for that. But for making some kind of an agreement with the N.Y.Y.C. to keep what they were doing secret from the other American competitors, they should all have been drawn and quartered. Paragraph 23 of the N.Y.Y.C.'s own 'Conditions Governing Races for the America's Cup (1983)' says that if a change, such as one in a boat's ballast, is made, the change must be within the 12-meter rule (which this was), that the boat must be remeasured (which Liberty was), that the race committee must be notified of the change (which it was) and that the other boats must be notified of the remeasurement (which we were not).

''There are two reasons for notifying the other boats, both having to do with keeping the competition fair. The other contenders could make sure the remeasurement was done properly, and they would be aware that the boat they prepared to race against today may behave somewhat differently than it did yesterday.

''Technically, the 'Conditions Governing Races for the America's Cup' apply only to the Cup races themselves, but because there are no written rules that I know of governing the Cup trials, surely the same rules and the same reasoning would apply to the trials, especially because the selection committee is supposed to be impartial in its selection of the best American boat. If the committee is not impartial, then a lot of people who have contributed millions of dollars in good faith—the backers of the Defender/Courageous syndicate—are throwing their money down a hole.

''So as I see it, the N.Y.Y.C. broke its own rules by not telling Defender and Courageous what it was doing. It was ungoddam-believable. People cheat and things like that, but it's doubly bad to have this committee that's supposed to be the referee, judge and jury, in collusion with one of the competitors.''
 

dogwatch

Super Anarchist
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1,769
South Coast, UK
I have no direct knowledge, but had such a suggestion been made, there would have presumably been records of the report/communication in the Dutch test house. In the absence of such every appearing in the public domain, Occam's razor suggests that we must assume they do not exist.
And therefore the keel was designed in Aus (based on elements that had been in the public domain for a long time)

I can guarantee that documentation and memos from the projects I worked on in 1983 no longer exist. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
 




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