TEAM EMIRATES – Ray Davies rather likes sailing the AC72. He’s the tactician and a large part of the role is assessing what’s going on around them.
He couldn’t do that on the AC45 where this job was oriented more to crew work And that’s head down without much time to look around.
Grinding is part of the tactician’s role on the AC72 but Ray can now keep his head up and take a look around.
“I am able to focus more on traditional tactics. The 45 is a slave ship by comparison – with only five crew it’s definitely very physical.
“In saying that, the 72 with 11 crew, is physical too, but more from a set position, a pedestal, I’m not running around so much with my head down. I can help on the winches but keep my head out of the boat at the same time.”
Ray believes it will be possible to race the AC72s on short courses. “We’ve set the boat up so it’s relatively easy to manoeuvre it well. Our AC72 was designed to be raced on a short course and we can do that.
The furling sails are much easier to handle than some of the sails we have had to deal with in the past like spinnakers. So even though we are sailing at 40 knots we can turn whenever we want.
He says the biggest adjustment he’s had to make is the speed and angle changes which can make it difficult to accurately place he boat on the course when picking lay lines etc.
“It’s much harder to make accurate calls and it has taken time to adjust to that… and running while foiling can be a bit tricky at times to keep your balance. So we have had a few areas to work on, but nothing that’s out of reach.”