The America’s Cup: This isn’t your father’s yacht…

Recently, we had our first hard frost here in CT and I’m feeling pretty anxious about getting Pandora out of the water and properly winterized for the coming cold weather.

The need to protect Pandora from the cold is in sharp contrast to the Salty Dawg Rally, about 50 boats strong, as they prepare to head south, with the bulk of the fleet heading to Antigua.  No winterizing needed for them.

Most of the boats are leaving from the Hampton VA area again this year and conditions in the North Atlantic suggest that they may have a challenging time getting south this year.  With so much “easting” to make before heading south to the islands, leaving from Hamption brings with it a whole set of complexities.

Some would suggest that just leaving from New England makes sense given the fact that the run to Antigua is nearly due south, avoiding the hundreds of miles of easting that the boats leaving from VA must make in order to get into a position to enjoy the persistent easterly trade winds.

In fact, the course from Montauk to Antigua takes you just west of Bermuda and avoids a lot of beating into the trades from a start in VA.  However, given the number of gales, and there is one going on now, north of Bermuda this time of year, it is very difficult to get a proper weather window to make the run from New England to safer waters south of Bermuda.  As a result, lots of painful easting or not, most folks opt to leave from farther south and avoid the uncertainty of leaving from further north.

I am feeling a mixture of sad and excitement for the coming weeks.  Sad, because Pandora comes out of the water and excitement for the fellow Dawgs that will be heading south.  Hopefully next winter I’ll be feeling only excitement.   I’ll be posting again in a few days with the details of what’s in store for the fleet.

Exciting yes, but that enthusiasm will have to be tempered by the reality that moving from island to island will be quite challenging this season given the threat of infection.  The much promoted Caribbean “bubble”, promising “easier” travel between islands seems to be breaking down with several islands opting out of the agreement even before the season gets going.   With infections spiking all around the world, and more tourists visiting the islands, often from hard hit areas, it seems likely that moving from island to island will become even more difficulty.

Having spent weeks longer in Antigua last spring than we wished, often strictly confined to Pandora, I am wondering how much fun being there will be when compared to a “normal” year.   However, my position on all that might soften when compared to being here in the frigid north over the winter.

Ask me how I feel in about a month…

When I am “home” I always struggle to come up with ideas of what to post and I am sure that this winter will be more of the same.  However after some 950 posts over the years, I somehow always come up with something to write about, so here goes.

And, the next installment of the America’s Cup ramping up, and the defender and challengers alike, launching boats designed to the AC75 rule, we are learning more about what these remarkable boats, if you can call the boats, will be like.

I found a very interesting clip where the host describes the theory and technology behind these boats.   But first, this short piece about the history of the cup is worth watching to give better context to what sort of machines are competing today. And this, a nice piece about the 1934 race in big classic J class boats.  We see quite a few of these classics in Antigua each season. This description of the new A75 boats will dramatize just how much has changed in the competition for the America’s Cup.   Today’s yachts seem to have more in common with airplanes than boats.  Are these the proper direction for the sport?  You decide. I am sure that you would much prefer to hear about  what’s going on in the cruising community but for now we will all have to settle for an “armchair” look at what others are up to.

Well, at least those of us that are stuck in the frigid north for the winter.  For now, we can just watch and I guess “watching” boats, and they are barely boats at all, compete for the America’s Cup, the oldest international sporting trophy, will have to do.

Damn, it’s getting cold…

One response to “The America’s Cup: This isn’t your father’s yacht…

  1. Bob,
    These new boats are absolutely amazing. It also touched into memories where we were 36-months ago. We had a dinner dance at the RNZYS, and the America’s Cup was available for anyone to touch & hold. Of course, we walked those docks.
    As an American, I do have reservations about AIRBUS sponsoring the NYYC entry…
    The idea of the mainsail sweeping across the deck makes perfect sense. I have a Yankee (high-cut Genoa) which is great for sightlines and heeling, however downwind it is like a handkerchief. Even my Asymm/Genny is too high-cut for true DDW sailing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *