Smack - I might concede that the AC45s would be better, but that's one design racing. Part of the thrill of the AC has always been the latest design revolution within the rule parameters. I can see one-design racing every weekend, if I want.
In any case, as things stand now, we're going to get unwieldy 72s for the finals.
Yeah, it seems that they should focus more on something between the 45s and the 72s. With only 3 competitors showing up with 72s - it was obviously the wrong move to go that big (RC has even admitted that).
Maybe they should go 60(?) with the foiling? The foiling alone is obviously adding an entirely new dimension to this thing - one that is proving very edgy (which is good).
I just think the AC should keep its focus on speed. Pure speed. Then let these guys work into the control part. Watching the ETNZ 72 bust along at 40+ knots was insane. You combine that speed with the handling required on a confined course - you're going to have some very compelling action.
Faster boats might be more interesting to watch if it were possible to capture the reality of that speed on camera - it's not. So, you're left with two boats whose apparent wind is so severe that they obviate 90 percent of the sail triming (they are always close hauled regardless of point of sail). Assuming they are anything close to evenly matched, one small mistake and you're *miles* from your competitor and the "race" falls apart - it turns into a rout. Snooze. The boats themselves are interesting in their novelty, but that wore off pretty quickly last time when we didn't get to see anything resembling a real competition - no tacking duels (there will never be again with cats), no burly crew straining at the winches, just the helmsman and some human ballast pushing buttons.
Come to think of it, maybe it's perfect for the video game age.
I never saw a tacking duel I couldn't sleep through.... How else could a monohull (AC boat) be interesting? Aren't tacking duels just a silly artifact forced by match racing on a closed course with silly starting line rules, rather than simply racing point to point, which is what speed is about? It's all about choises.
Now, a good pitch pole or collision, they're harder to miss.
As for those that suggest cat racing is unskilled, snicker, snicker. I'm embarased for you.
(I hope everyone realizies this is just a fun thread at this point)
Less skill? Never said that and didn't even imply it. Technology getting in the way of a sailboat race? Absolutely.
Of course tacking duels are absolutely where the excitement is, though it's understandable that as a catamaran owner you're not fond of tacking. Tactics are always more interesting (and more video-friendly) than outright speed. Otherwise it's just a drag race ... and I ain't seen one of those I couldn't sleep through.
And, of course, the winged sail alone is 20x the cost of the main on the monohulls. How many "rich men" and rich countries are there to support this sport?
This isn't about cruising cats or race cats for that matter. by all means have a big-budget international catamaran competition - just don't hijack this one and price out the competition.
One more thing, whether it's cats or monos. Crew should be from the same country as the boat.
These international competitions in million-dollar boats with high tech gear bore me. What these races should do is put the teams in identical production boats, give 'em a day to get acquainted with them and then race them.
You want to prove how good a sailor you are? Then take that stock 43' Hunter out there and beat everybody else in their identical boat.
There should be multiple races, with the sailors in J-22s, Hobie 16s and dinghys. Now that would be fun to watch.
No doubt, stuff breaks on the "bleeding edge" - and every time this discussion comes up, someone trots out that same video. The difference, of course, is that that was a structural issue, not a design issue. Both the 45s and now the 72 has/have had unrecoverable and/or catastrophic capsizes in recent months. Adding a bit more carbon fiber around the chainplates is not going to fix that.
I am not making any broader critique of catamarans here. They definitely have their strong points. I'm just saying that the dynamics of big cat races are more problematic on TV, which is what really counts. Aside from the things I've already mentioned, there's the problem of broadcast delays if these boats can only race in ideal conditions, which now looks entirely likely.