Saturday, 13 February 2010

Rules picture of the year?

Since there were going to be umpires in the AC 33 match race, we could expect there would be Yankee flags. But I don’t think anybody expected it would be straight away in the first half minute of the first match and ending with a penalty!

Helmsman on USA 17, Jimmy Spithill surely credited his nickname in this match.

So I’m nominating the following picture of the incident as 

‘2010 Rules picture’

AC33 Match 1; P-SB on the starting line just after entry.

That is, until someone sends me a better one.
(In fact I’ll do a poll if I get a few more entries end of the year.)

USA (Yellow) on Starboard – SUI (Blue) on Port and has to keep clear. USA is holding for three – four boat lengths and in the picture SUI is now only just beginning to get head to wind. Her turn could have been much tighter! No rule 16 issue, USA may have initiated the collision course subject to 16, but holding for that long without SUI doing much more, negates that restriction on Rule 10.
SUI could have done much more – therefore she is not keeping clear. Either as Port boat or while tacking. Penalty on Blue.

A classic picture perfect example of a Match Race entry but in 90 foot tri/catamarans.

It also shows exactly what the courses of the two boats has been and on top of that it has both umpire boats and the race committee-boat in the frame.

Here’s the whole series on that entry:
AC33 USA-SUI Math1 entry - 01
Entry. SUI is a few seconds earlier, but USA on full speed on collision course

AC33 USA-SUI Math1 entry - 02
USA holding. SUI cannot cross. They will have to do something!

AC33 USA-SUI Math1 entry - 03
SUI heading up, as is USA. Very tight turn by USA 17 and holding again.

AC33 USA-SUI Math1 entry - 04
The turn by SUI is too wide! Just beginning to get head to wind.

AC33 USA-SUI Math1 entry - 05 While SUI is head-to-wind or tacking, USA has to luff to avoid a collision.

I’ve copied the series from the website. Head over there to see lots more on this match.
Sunday we will see if SUI can lay the same trap for USA-17, when she’s Yellow boat.



  1. I'm no expert, but I am wondering what Alingli should have done? From my view (on the TV) Alingi started to head up to avoid collision, and BOR came up as well, Alingi tightened their turn, and ended up head to wind in front of BOR. You imply they could have turned tighter, but the wake behind Alingi appears as tight as BORs.

    What was Alingi supposed to do?

  2. Gybe onto Starboard tack, before BOR was too close.

  3. Ummmmmmmm, gybe would have been the correct thing to do once it was apparent that Alinghi would never be able to cross above or below BOR. True it would have put BOR in control but since Alinghi were supposed to be faster they should have just "run away" instead of getting a penalty. I am sure Spithill could believe his luck in seeing them turn up when barely moving.

  4. Alingi should have started 3 to 4 seconds before to head up in order to allow enaugh space against a probable protest by BOR that was trying to create the conditions to do it

  5. Trying to turn the catamaran so sharply from such a deep angle really puts the brakes on and they were left with no hull speed to carry through the tack as they approached head to wind.

    Spithill had been saying publicly for 24 hours that he was going to go after them at the start and see if he could prevent the cross. Alinghi should have been ready for that. They should have gybed and run instead of tacking as a gybe can be executed much more quickly than a tack on a multihull.

  6. Alinghi had no real choice.
    1 - Gybing ahead was oppening an avenue for USA17 to chase Alinghi and get them out of the prestart zone beyond the time limit... meaning a disqualification even before start.
    Even on monohulls that tack and gybe at very short angles, you have to go for a dial up to try and get rid of the boat trailing you.
    2 - Which is what Alinghi did, maybe 5 seconds too late but in any case, because of such wide tack-angles and speed on these boats, it was nearly impossible to avoid BMW.

    We saw it clearly in the second race. Because Alinghi was so late, USA17 had all the time to go down the prestart zone in order go back up behind Alinghi and control them. Alinghi wanted the starboard side of the course and thus had no other choice than tacking to port very late into the procedure (25 sec before start) which led to their poor start. But then USA 17 could not cover them. It was very well done on both sides.


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