Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 170: America's Cup Update: These Guys are INSANE!

Retaining the America's Cup trophy, the Auld Mug, is looking bleak for the Oracle Team USA. They currently trail the Emirates Team New Zealand 7-1 which means the Kiwis need to win just two more races to swipe the Cup and take it Down Under.

In watching these races, I've come to one conclusion. The guys manning these catamarans are freaking insane. The boats look like they're almost floating, only touching the water on thin, underwater daggerboards which reduce drag and increase speed. Like they need to be going any faster. While doing research for my first sailing post, I discovered that just six years ago, the average top speed of these yachts was 10 knots. This year, it's 40 knots.

What I failed to understand was how the equipment evolves over the years and that the Cup's defender gets to determine the race rules, including what types of boats are used. Billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle Team USA chose the new AC72 catamaran over the heavier, single-hulled boats used in the past. These new boats not only hydroplane on the water at speeds of almost 50 miles per hour, but they are the fastest, most expensive and most dangerous ever built. Nothing like adding a little peril to your day.

The USA team really had an uphill battle and the chances were slim they can come back from the two point penalty they were given for illegally weighting their boat. And some of their tactics have come back to bite them in the ass. In race five, Oracle attempted a sharp tacking turn with the hull out of the water. When the maneuver failed, the sailboat stopped almost dead in its tracks, and the New Zealand team won the race. Ooops.

The Kiwis nearly had a tragedy of their own on day five. And this is were the title of the post originated from because if you watch this video, I think you'll agree that this is some insane shit. I most certainly would've soiled my draws had I been on this boat. But then again, I'm pretty sure you couldn't pay me enough to participate in one of these races.

Crazy, scary shit. I will admit, I'm not much of an adrenaline junkie so reaching ridiculously high speeds while skimming across the top of the water doesn't much appeal to me. Plus, I'm not a very good swimmer. Golf is more my speed.

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