Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Future technology

Ah, the America’s Cup. This is truly a land of the inventive, and with the gloves taken off for this next Match, some of you ‘buttheads are really going to wet your drawers on the ingenuity that will be on display. At the BMW Oracle team’s media briefing on Tuesday, the Challenger was certainly not going to reveal all their tricks - heck, that would be foolish. However, with so many of the Racing Rules of Sailing being dismissed by the Swiss defender, the Alinghi team, the challenger did provide a glimpse of what lies ahead.

As for the engine option, that is a lock. Skipper Russell Coutts and helm Jimmy Spithill will be sorry to see their burley mates off the boat, but the engine will replace the four grinding pedestals and the odorous scent of sweaty men working with old school methods. Anyway, Spithill had tired of the endless rugby talk, and is eager to surround himself with more cerebral conversation. The bonus, of course is that with the engine, all the other options come aboard as well.

Moveable ballast? Heck yea, but don’t let your small mind think just water. With a wink, Russell noted how there are a lot heavier things than water, which is only 8.34 pounds per gallon when Mercury is available at 113.4 pounds per gallon. But who wants to carry that much weight offwind? While dumping Mercury in the ocean might seem like an environmental offense, the rules in the Persian Gulf are not nearly as restrictive.

Ah yes, the Persian Gulf. Some people think that Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE was chosen because of it weather and suitable facilities. Naive! The challenger recon discovered that the Alinghi team had concocted a system to release toxic polymers from their boat, and they didn’t want all the “Go Green” activists slowing them down. Can’t you envision those wave piercing bows not piercing waves at all, but slicing through chemical emissions? The challenger is now working on a system that includes both bow and stern emissions. The Batmobile was equipped with a smoke emitter and a nail spreader to discourage pursuit… those Swiss are in for a sticky mess.

As for the hard wing sails, the challenger knows how fruitful that concept is, and given additional time, the flaps and superior coefficients would be onboard as well. No, they will be staying with their soft sails. However, they do expect the Swiss to have the hard stuff. The Deed of Gift requires the Defender to be constructed in the country of the Club holding the Cup, so it would hard to explain why it is okay for them to use their 3DL sails from Minden, Nevada…in the U.S.A.

Curmudgeon’s Comment: While all the above is only 'theoretical', I will take full credit if any of it comes true. However, for better or worse, this America's Cup will go where no yachting event has ever gone so many ways.

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At 3:28 AM, Blogger Into The Blue said...

This should be interesting. If any of the highly polluting activities are engaged in, there is likely to be a backlash that spreads far outside the sailing world - regardless of the rules that apply in the locale where the race takes place. We'll see...

At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

go further - not mercury or lead but tungsten or uranium. and off the wind float the stuff with some balloons below the deck - use that engine to inflate them. inertia is till there but not displacement. up wind on a rack back and forth - no need to dump stuff. as for lubrication, all you really need is soap. but start with the riblet technology that was recently, finally banned on the swimsuits, after being banned on olympic shells and ac hulls previously. every non steady lift mechanism is more efficient than steady ones, so put that engine to work pumping the sails regular, the foils too. speaking of which why arent there more vertical lift foils - think of those moths. finally if you really want weight out of the boat run the whole thing remotely from a chase boat - rc sailing is up to it, and now with the engine trim is easy. everyone off the boat! a certain amount can be taught to a parallel processor and the rest run remotely. and so with no one below decks lots of room for those balloons to float the tungsten off the wind. think out of the boat!

At 6:54 AM, Blogger timmy said...

Even if the toxic polymers are "constructed" and applied , of course, in the home countries of the protagonists, they would only work their magic when mixed with "foreign" water, so leading to instant disqualification! A slippery slope to litigation?

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Pat said...

So much money could be saved by poor Ernesto and Larry if they'd sail the DOG match in one-design West Wight Potter 15's under normal rules in a scenic venue such as Cape Horn (southern hemisphere site eliminates venue disputes).

And, think of all the benefit the class would get from trickle-down technology as yachting's greatest names migrate to the class.

At 3:43 AM, Blogger Glen said...

We really need a proper development class (per the A Class Cats) where there are minimal rules for really large racing boats, Americas cup used to fit the bill to some extent, but can you imagine a 90 foot high 90 foot long 90 foot wide box (waterline measured at rest) that must sail in coastal waters?
this is the level of technology that could bring back Sailing as Cost Efficient transport (as F1 used to be until they formularized it!)


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