Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Artemis Racing's AC45. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com
by Terry Hutchinson
It's been a busy couple of weeks for our team down here in New Zealand getting the AC45 ready to sail. Phil 'Blood' Jameson has been running the project so it was fitting that his wife Kylie christened the AC45, before we headed out for our maiden sail on Saturday morning.
We have now had two full days of sailing and I can safely say that the AC45 is quite different than anything we've sailed before. It is also powerful and physically demanding, so it should make for some interesting racing.
The boat handling dynamic is going to be really intense and challenging as well. We are being cautious as we are learning about the boat, so for the first two days we sailed with seven guys onboard. We'll be working this week on figuring out roles onboard, sailing with a crew of five. The need is for massive versatility, that's for sure.
In terms of the conditions, Saturday was breezy but Sunday concluded in much the same way as it started, light! It was so light that we had to be towed back to the Viaduct, a sign that there was absolutely no wind as the AC45 is quite fast.
With the two days under our belt, it is pretty difficult to draw any real conclusions. We are still running through the sea trialling phase, developing the master list of work items and slowly getting our feet wet. In some ways it feels a little bit like Christmas morning as a kid. Lots of toys in front of you and you are just not quite sure where to start. The only difference I would suspect is that I don't think that this toy is going to get old and end up being re-gifted at another 5 year old's party.
The forecast for today (Monday) was not much better with 20-25 knots by mid-morning and large sea state. The trickiest part isn't actually the sailing but the launching and hauling out. It is quite a sight with the boat and wing hanging 30 feet in the air attached to the crane. I have a feeling that the "tag line" used to hold the boat will be the end of a whip in which Brookie is swung around trying to control the boat. Not a sight I really want to see, so we were prudent and took the opportunity to get some work done to the boat today.