What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger
Published on August 22nd, 2013
Given the lack of parity exhibited among the America’s Cup challengers, the racing highlights have focused on the rare performance of the AC72. Commentary is about punching through the power zone, foiling gybes, top speeds, and ‘drifts’ at the leeward mark.
But of all the moments, none compare with that one heart-stopping, huge bear away crash which saw the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 nosedive at the windward mark in race one of the challenger finals.
“Emirates Team New Zealand has a lot of flotation in their bows,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “I’m not sure that Oracle Team USA would have survived this incident.”
Despite having gone though a crash that stained underwear around the globe, Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby said instead that the incident had actually given the Kiwi crew more confidence in their boat and how hard they could push it. Here Justin Chisholm of Sail Racing Magazine catches up with Ashby…
“It was a good one, but it was also a good example of Team New Zealand’s design and engineering capabilities to be able to create something that us as sailors can throw that sort of punishment at it and it will just pop up with nothing but a bit of cosmetic damage to the fairings.
“The boat performed extremely well. We have designed a boat that will allow us to push it really hard and it will be forgiving and look after us. That means we can keep our foot on the throttle. It let us know that we were probably pushing a bit too hard the other day.
“The biggest thing that stopped us was when the front beam hit the water and that’s when I went for a little bit of a tumble. It happened quick like every down the mine episode – whether it be on a Moth, A-Class, or a 49er, you generally get a split second before hand to say to yourself ‘Oh bugger!’ and then you know you are on your way.
“At the end of the day we are not going to change anything we do. In fact if anything it gives us more inspiration to keep pushing hard and learn the limits. We are still learning about the boats the whole time and we have really good confidence that we can pull off some pretty wild maneuvers in good breeze and shifty conditions and get away with it.
“Having never had that experience with the boat before it’s good to know that the boat is safe as house and that the performance is hopefully good enough as well.”