AC NEWS – Last week the International Jury for the 34th America’s Cup ruled that the regatta director didn’t have the authority to change the AC72 Class Rule without unanimous consent of the teams. Murray had recommended deep rudders with minimum areas for the winglets, an important safety feature when the sterns begin to rise out of the water. He still believes that’s the case, but has added to satisfying the U.S. Coast Guard’s concerns over the safety of racing on San Francisco Bay.
“We are relying on the teams and they ultimately have the responsibility to stay on the racecourse or go home at any time,” said Murray. “At the end of the day the teams need to assess their ability in combination with their boat to make the decisions they need to make about racing their yacht.”
Murray and U.S. Coast Guard Captain Matt Bliven, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in naval architecture, have requested the teams to create a team management plan and onboard “playbook” that defines how they sail their yacht and how they manage their yacht. The playbook would be a supplement to the safety plan filed last month with the coast guard for the regatta permit.
“The safety management plan we’ve requested from the teams includes a playbook on how they race their boats, how they go around marks, the systems they have to set and control, the speeds required to maneuver… basically, how they manage their boat around the racecourse,” said Murray. “I expect those reports tomorrow afternoon. Once they’ve been submitted they will be reviewed and assessed, and hopefully they will fulfill the supplement to the safety recommendations.”
Murray said that the teams have been sharing valuable experience and information about the methods used to sail their AC72s since Artemis Racing’s accident on May 9. From that dialogue new methods have emerged for controlling the powerful wing sail catamarans.
“There are a whole lot of things that need to be done to put the boat through its maneuvers,” said Murray. “Speed is your friend, but the angle of the front daggerboards, the position of the crew, the positioning of the crew, the proximity to the course boundary, the inversion of the rig, the cant of daggerboards, the twist of the rig, the camber of the rig… are all elements of the process of racing an AC72. We’re looking for the documentation of this procedure to supplement what we already know.”