Rolly Tasker Sails is proud that our Australian distributor Sam Newton from Sail Solutions is part of the America’s Cup Team Oracle. We are very glad to include below report from Sam Newton to give you an impression about a training day on America’s Cup 72 Class.
«Sailing in the 34th Americas Cup is different to any other. Just loading the sails and tossing the dock lines before a day of testing is well in the past.
Before these new sophisticated machines called AC72’s can even leave the shed, there is over an hour of checks for all departments. There are riggers, sail makers, boat builders, electronics experts, designers, hydraulic specialists, performance data analysts, machinists, marketing teams, a sailing team, trainers, doctors, cooks, cleaners, admin, accountants, lawyers and the list goes one. Everyone is somehow always busy! Boards, rudders, strain gauges just to name a few have all got to be calibrated, wings are checked and re-checked, structural soundness of the platform and its appendages are all checked and tested. Once each department has ticked all there boxes we are ready to roll out the door of our massive shipping warehouse.
Now the next part is not a small feat either. It takes about 30 people to launch one boat and about an hour just to get it into the water. And to do all the lifting, we have a 230ft tower crane on site 24/7 with a full time operator. To get two boats in and out each day makes for 120hrs just for lifting.
Logistics are everything to make a smooth successful day. When we are 2 boat testing, we have close to 50 people on the water and 4 large chase boats in pursuit including a specialist from all departments. After all, time is just about the only thing a big Americas Cup campaign can’t buy. We can’t afford breakdowns and when they happen, getting things sorted is key.
We also never leave the dock without a trained paramedic, doctor and two rescue divers. History has proven that these mean machines can be dangerous and we take safety very seriously.
So just when you think it’s about time to step on board and just go sailing, it’s off to the locker room. First things first. Eat! Get in what you can, get the protein shakes down. A big day on the water can see crew burning over 5000 calories. That’s double what the average runner burns in a marathon. The second step is getting geared up. We all dream of sailing around in a pair of shorts but in reality its not going to happen on a 72ft foiling cat. Our personal crew gear is very extensive. The main push being safety. We wear full length light neoprene suits and have a PFD impact vest for the chance of coming in contact with parts of the boat in a capsize or crash. We also all carry spare air canisters for breathing under water if we get trapped. We have safety knives for cutting the net and lines, high powered customs strobes for locating people underwater, and an electronic crew counting system to identify missing people in an emergency. And most importantly a full impact helmet with high visibility stripes.
But before too long, the mornings chores are forgotten as the boat lifts out of the water on its foils and peaks at speeds well over 40 knots. Its time to focus on your job and get that boat around the course as fast and as safely as possible.»