Sunday, November 9, 2008

Alinghi is trying to shanghai the event....

[Excerpt from Associated Press] "Oh, mate, I would love to race this thing," said Australian-born helmsman James Spithill. "You see it out there on the water, just imagine two of these things just going at it during a race. It would be unreal to see it. It's never been done before having a multihull like this, with this amount of power-to-weight ratio.

"It would be a real shame if us and Alinghi, we have these two machines and we don't get to race. It would be an awesome thing to watch."

Even Mr. America's Cup himself, Dennis Conner, would like to see the two syndicates face off in their giant boats.

"It's quite the machine, isn't it?" said Conner, a San Diegan who won the America's Cup four times. "I watch it go out every day. It's so fast they can't sail in the harbor."

The boat, berthed at Conner's former base camp in downtown San Diego, is towed onto the ocean, where its giant mainsail and jib are hoisted.

While the current America's Cup sloops generally do about 10 knots, BOR 90 can sail at 2 to 2 1/2 times the speed of the wind. Syndicate CEO Russell Coutts, a three-time America's Cup winner who defeated Conner in 1995 off San Diego, said BOR 90 has hit speeds approaching 40 knots.

"It can go a lot faster than that, that's for sure," said Coutts, who estimated BOR 90 could make it to Hawaii in two days.

Even the syndicate's chase boats — one of which carries a medic, a diver and a backup diver in case of an accident — struggle to keep up when BOR 90 hooks into a breeze.

Twenty years ago, Conner fought back a rogue challenge from New Zealander Michael Fay, both in court and on the water, sailing a catamaran to a two-race sweep of the Kiwis' massive monohull.

BOR 90 "makes my cat look like a Volkswagen," Conner said. "This thing is like bigger, faster, better, and they've done a great job in bringing all the technology together in this boat.

"The whole sailing world will benefit by having this out on the race course in a lot of different ways," Conner said. "I applaud Larry Ellison for building this boat. I'd like to see it race and I'd like to see Larry win because Alinghi is trying to shanghai the event." - Read full article