Forming the America’s Cup Form Guide

Published on May 15th, 2017

Fueling the curiosity on who will win the America’s Cup has been a steady stream of videos posted to MyislandhomeBDA. Jason Smith has been following the teams as they practice on the Great Sound, providing nearly daily updates as the teams train and participate in practice races.

Bora Gulari and George Peet, two sailing professionals and longtime Moth racers, are among the experts making notes as the teams learn to sail the new 15-meter America’s Cup Class boat.

“Big thanks to Jason and his commitment to getting the videos up,” said Gulari. “They have been part of my daily morning routine now for quite some time, but I believe that George Peet is the expert in couch coaching.”

Scuttlebutt reached out to Gulari and Peet for their assessment last week…. here it is:

Defender: Oracle Team USA (USA)
George Peet: You mean Oracle Team AUS?

Bora Gulari: Damn dyslexia.

GP: Overall look good but I think they are lucky they don’t have to sail the challenger series because they would be fighting for third with SoftBank Team Japan. I’m sure they are fast but they look like they struggle with their maneuvers. Gybes are okay but tacks are average at best. Some grumblings of a lack of hydro power at critical moments – purely from video comments and chat room talk. Perhaps the twist grips on the wheel allow for the helmsman to be a bit “trigger happy”?

BG: There is something eating up some hydro power at a rate higher than other teams, in the last capsize I’m not sure if the wing ever popped.

GP: I have also noticed that in the two capsize vids it seems the helmsman when finishing the maneuver is turning the wrong way, and in the last video this is easily verified in the maneuver.

GP: They also look like they are the most raked. Most boats look 10’ behind vertical or so and they look more like 15′. They sail with their jib sheet in the highest and second highest hole in the clew board while others are closer to the bottom.

BG: I agree about the rake but you got too much time on your hands if you are comparing jib clew board positions. If they were raked more than the other boats, assuming the foils are in the same relative spots, their habit of more bow down trim would help balance out the boat to be in line with the others.

GP: Verified now they are trying a cycle set-up for tactician Tom Slingsby that is aft of the helmsman. I like this idea and I think if executed properly could be a better set up than NZL with reasons being better comms with helmsman, better race course vision, easier for tactician to get to into steering position for maneuvers, better power output, and another big one is that the dedication of grinders to winches and hydro isn’t as absolute.

Challenger: Artemis Racing (SWE)
GP: Videos show them flying high and very stable, rolling the sh#t out of Oracle as well as crushing maneuvers. The foils look to be the most outboard of any team; can’t tell about the horizontal lifting surface. Top of daggerboard cases seem the biggest – not sure what’s in there but seems to be working.

BG: For sure something is going on underneath that bonnet. I have to believe everyone would be at max beam/righting moment for their foils.

GP: They are 90% on foiling tack and 99% on foiling gybes. Rudders may be max length/depth. They certainly fly high all the time with control. They will be fighting it out with NZL for the challenger spot.

BG: Flying high no doubt. They don’t seem to be as bow down most of the time as Oracle. We have both commented on that they seem to have less spray drag than the other boats, I have not taken any screen shots but I have the perception that their main foil vert seems to have less forward rake when going at pace downwind. Seems to be a fair amount of second element flapping without much sheet movement, maybe using twist instead of AOA to control power in the wing.

Challenger: Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
GP: Same as Artemis – flying high, stable and killing it. 98% on foiling tacks, 100 on gybes. For sure the most maneuverable boat/team. They haven’t been in Bermuda long, it seems like they are getting new foils this week. Im sure the spy team has some good data on the speed of the other boats so I expect them to be right in the game.

BG: Flying super high, boat handling is impressive looks like they are sailing a moth. The big gull wing foils are impressive too. Same thing as Artemis, the second element seems to be pumping with no AOA (angle of attack) changes. Seems like their last set of foils are either just coming online or they are waiting for them. The kiwi fans are impressive looking at some of the negative Oracle Team AUS hate one sees online (you said it first I’m just copying).

Challenger: SoftBank Team Japan (JPN)
GP: Seems like they are in the game for the most part. They are maneuverable, have a good race record and a solid team. Seems like they are taking the approach of steady paced development with their equipment with an emphasis on sailing their boat. It seems to me like they sail their boat better than Oracle. As far as we know there has been a lot of, if not complete, parallel development of the equipment with Oracle. Like Oracle, they fly lower all the time than Artemis and NZL, also with a lot more bow down attitude albeit not as low and as much as Oracle.

BG: Some solid people in the team, and I believe they have taken good races from everyone so they will be in the game. Do you remember watching the race against Artemis where both boats tacked from starboard to port after the right turn at the bottom? Artemis showed a pretty impressive gain from a good tack. They were the first ones to show foiling tacks and they seem to be quietly chipping away without a whole lot of public media blitz.

Challenger: Land Rover BAR (GBR)
GP: It’s pretty hard to tell what’s going on with them. They seem slow, gybes are ok, foiling tacks are almost nonexistent. Race record was bad, and based on the videos it looks like they are slow. Again, we don’t know the timelines for foil development and implementation with these teams; may just be they waited as long as possible to pull the trigger on their designs. At the moment they will probably win a couple races, but not likely against Artemis or NZL.

BG: I don’t think there is a lot of ‘wait to the last minute to pull the trigger with the design’ as the gear takes so long to build. They do seem to have some speed issues – maybe they will sort them out by the time the flag drops

Challenger: Groupama Team France
GP: They look like me at my first Moth regatta, however, the .videos on May 9-10 show a lot of progress with their boat handling. They went from not even really being in the sailing area a week ago to actually going for it now. They pulled off a few foiling gybes and were almost foil tacking. Boat looks like it has stability issues and doesn’t like to fly all the time. Definitely does some “porpoising”. I have them battling it out with BAR for the final spot in the semi-finals. They are a good team and will know how to close out a race if they have even a little bit of pace and get into a good spot tactically.

BG: I have seen the porpoising also – not sure what is happening there. I have not had a chance to watch in the last couple days maybe they have improved a lot.


What is the racing schedule? Click here
How can I watch the racing? Click here

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