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post #193 of Old 05-15-2013
KeelHaulin's Avatar
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Re: Another America’s Cup entry destroyed

So should we have never launched another the Space Shuttle after Challenger? Should we stop flying in airplanes because 'some have crashed'? I can understand where people are trying to apply logic to an event like this, since, sadly a life was lost; but let's not go overboard. The boat suffered some sort of structural failure; or they pitch-poled, we don't know which yet. All catamarans are subject to a pitch pole, and all racing sailboats are subject to the potential for a structural failure (such as keels falling off and hulls failing due to oil-canning). I'm not saying that mistakes may not have been made, let's find out what they were before everyone starts calling it a NASCAR pile-up attraction.

On a side note, there are fatal accidents on SF Bay during the summer several times per month. Lots of pleasure boats have some sort of failure or another; and there are also the people who go out on kiteboards and can't get back in or just drown. Is anybody putting limits on doing the high risk activity? No; the USCG just goes out to recover them or try and help boats in distress. The local news has stopped reporting on most of these accidents since there are just too frequent.

If you have not witnessed one of the AC72 boats sailing at 40+ kts with both hulls out of the water; you really don't know how amazing these sailboats are, and the skill required to sail them. You can watch it on Youtube but it still does not give the same impression as seeing it with your own eyes. We've watched Oracle 17 sail past us on three occasions and it was amazing to see each time.

The America's Cup (among others) is a race that has always encouraged pushing the envelope of sailboat designs; and has benefited us all by development of those innovations. To say that it should be a one design race or confined to a certain type of boat is a misunderstanding of the history of the event. It's always been about who can build the fastest boat (to a set of design criteria) and sail with the best crews; regardless of cost. Recent rules regarding cost limitations were agreed upon in this AC. Ellison could have spent way more than he is on the current boats (just look back to the last AC; that boat cost over 300M)

Before the cats were sailing everyone was complaining about how slow and fragile the monohulls were; and that they could not be raced in over 12 kts of wind. Now everyone is complaining about the speed and safety of the cats. What do you guys expect? Artemis did not design their first 72' boat to be foiling; so they were in the process of making/testing design changes to help get them up to speed with Oracle 1. In their first practice race Oracle just sailed away from Artemis; so changes were required. I don't know if they modified it to be foiling or if they changed the boat in other ways.

The main issue with safety on these boats is getting trapped beneath the trampoline netting if the boat gets flipped; and on that issue I call question to the use of PFD's that are only going to pin the victim beneath the wreckage. IMO they should be wearing manual inflate devices so that they don't have to deploy it if they are stuck under something (and yes, I know there is the possibility of head injury).
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