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  #1  
Old 09-10-2013
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Is it time to fire the crew?

If you had a racing boat that, I don't know; you put a fair few grand into, and the captain and crew screwed up 4 of 5 races, would you fire them?
What about if you invested a few hundred million dollars? How is it that these guys are still sailing these boats? I doubt that the second string crew could do any worse.
From the lousy decision making in a few starts to the fiasco at mark 3 today, I do not understand how the Oracle crew is keeping their jobs. They have had much more time sailing their boat on the Bay than the Kiwis and they have had another boat to practice against.
I guess the decision making is as bad at the top as it is onboard Oracle. A sad state of affairs indeed.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

If those were conventional, production sailboats, I'd agree, but they are state-of-the-art. highly unconventional sailboats. When the boat that you are sailing is essentially one-of-a-kind, where do you go to learn how to sail it and to practice sailing it other than on that boat, and where do you find someone to teach you how to sail it? The designers can give you some guidance by explaining how everything is supposed to work, but the skipper and crew are essentially like test pilots, who must figure out how to optimize it's abilities by themselves. Where do you look to find a skipper and crew who know how to pilot a massive catamaran that can make nearly 50 kts of boat speed? I haven't seen anything vaguely resembling that boat on the Chesapeake Bay recently. How would a tactician gain experience in judging whether his boat, on port tack, is going to cross ahead of the starboard tack boat, when both are making 35-40 kts? The answer is that you start with a skipper and crew with the best sailing and racing skills you can find, give them all the support you can, and hope they can solve all the mysteries about sailing that particular boat before race day. If they don't, where are you going to find another skipper and crew...the second stringers, who you already decided were not as skilled as the first stringers? You can't fire the skipper and crew until you have someone better to replace them, and they probably don't exist just now.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

Ignoring the tactical mistake made at mark 3, I think that Oracle is having a harder time sailing their boat. It seems to be more finicky and quick to fall off it's foils. If this is the fault of the guy on foil trim, or if the boat is not as well balanced is the question.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

I don't know that it is entirely fair to blame the crew. From memory the starts have been very close within a fraction of a second and in most cases I think Oracle has been in the lead at mark one and two. Any mistake by either team will be punished at this level.
It seems NZ is faster upwind and they are close otherwise.
That said the NZ team has put a lot of effort in and it shows.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

Just watched the race replay...

The move at Mk 3 was pretty unexplainable, but it turned a small lead into essentially being even on the next cross when TNZ had to duck.. The fact that TNZ went on to build a 1500 meter lead points to other issues than that one move. TNZ simply a faster boat?? Did Oracle damage something that slowed them down in the subsequent legs?

Hard to believe they'd play their one postponement card over bruised egos...
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

Oracle has been playing catch-up for months. The Kiwis got their boat up on foils and stable long before anyone else. Remember Oracle's first attempts at foiling? They looked like they were doing a wheelie around the course! Both teams are still on a very steep learning curve on those boats, but the Kiwis are a bit further along.

Why they decided to try a "foiling tack" at the bottom mark is a mystery, but the maneuver itself is something they had been practicing previously. Barker said that they had been practicing it too. Apparently they need more practice!

I also wonder what the conversation during the race where one of the crew kept saying "we need more time..." and Spithill responded something to the effect that "we've got to sort this out..." was all about. Clearly they were having some issues.

Clearly the Kiwis are the more polished team, and their boat is superior in most conditions, but it isn't fair to suggest that anybody on Oracle should be fired! At least not until the cup is in Auckland!
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Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilsails View Post
Ignoring the tactical mistake made at mark 3, I think that Oracle is having a harder time sailing their boat. It seems to be more finicky and quick to fall off it's foils. If this is the fault of the guy on foil trim, or if the boat is not as well balanced is the question.
Oracle lost their foil trimmer in the jury decision. He was replaced by a guy who is 21. Is that why they tack so poorly? Is that why they have occasionally nose-dived on turns? Is that why they have been getting their clock cleaned on the 3rd leg? I don't know. But I'd like to hear from someone who might.
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Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

All this started when they destroyed the first boat. Having a learning curve so steep, if you miss a months worth of training, it really puts a nail in your coffin.

The nose dive was completely due to an excited crew member who raised the foil too early.

The foiling tack was IMHO, too risky, especially when you're ahead. The other mistakes in boat handling are unexcusable at this level. They are a little slower upwind, but boat handling should be better than what it is now.

In hindsight, I don't blame them for pulling the postponement card so early. They fell apart after mark 3. Not exactly the professionalism I expected from such talent.
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Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

Based on the continual drubbing Oracle is taking upwind (3rd leg), I'm starting to think the boat is the biggest weak link they have. Just watching the speed, ETNZ is consistently faster on that leg. Even if Oracle had a clone of the Kiwi team, I think their boat would lose.
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Old 09-13-2013
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?

I think these last two races were somewhat of a vindication for Kostecki. If the upwind differential brtween the boats is that great then you need to try something even if you are marginally ahead at mark 2. It now painfully obvious ETNZ has the faster overall boat by a long shot.
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