Weather forecasting for the America’s Cup
Published on March 12th, 2013
ETNZ: A DIFFERENT KIND OF PRE-START
Emirates Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies explains the big difference in the pre-start and weather information required in the new America’s Cup form of AC72 racing…
“For the last America’s Cup, there’s so much preparation before the start with the weather team’s information. But this time around the course is quite different. You start at the top of the course, you reach and then go downwind, so you are going into breeze you have already seen. It is not all in the future, like sailing upwind you are sailing into a new playing field the whole time whereas this style of racing, with only a two minute pre-start and then you are off downwind.
“So for the weather team, the type of information from the past is quite irrelevant, especially with the boundaries that we now have on the sides of the course. What will be critical this time around, and for all the teams this is now obvious, is configuring your boat for the weather conditions.
“These boats are going to be geared toward different conditions, with varying foils and sails put on the boat, and it takes time to change these things. So a lot of these calls are basically going to be made the day before. Everyone is in the same boat – if it is going to be 25 knots, it’s a different configuration than if it’s going to be 5 knots, so the weather team is very much geared for the 24 hours forecast.”