Team New Zealand Hopes to Pedal to America’s Cup Victory
“With its resources, Oracle Team U.S.A., the defending champion, is the favorite for the 2017 America’s Cup, to be held in Bermuda in June. But Emirates Team New Zealand is, as usual, full of talent and creative thinkers, even on a tight budget,” writes Christopher Clarey for The New York Times.
“The Kiwis are the mystery boat at this stage,” said Ken Read, a former Cup helmsman turned television analyst. “But as usual, they will be really good and will be a front-runner because they know how to organize things with less than everybody else. I think they have proven that over the years.”
When the Kiwis “unveiled their new Cup boat in Auckland on Feb. 16, they also revealed a secret: four stationary-bike grinding stations on each side of the 15-meter catamaran instead of the usual arm-powered pedestals.”
The idea behind it is to create the energy to work the control systems and maneuver the wing sail with pedal power, writes Clarey.
“These boats are very power hungry,” said Dan Bernasconi, the design coordinator for Team New Zealand.
“With unstable foils plus a small racecourse requiring lots of maneuvers, we can never have too much hydraulic power available. Leg muscles can obviously provide more power than arms. At the same time, it frees sailors’ hands to control the boat. The trade-off is that it’s harder to get from one side to the other in a maneuver, getting on and off the bikes.”
“We’ve been working hard on this for a couple of years now. We’ve had a full-size hull fitted out with the bikes for many months, which has helped the development of the systems and the training of the guys. For sure, other teams could pull out their pedestals and put in some sort of cycling unit, but we’re confident in launching now that other teams won’t have time to get their mechanics and sailors to the same level by the time we race,” said Bernasconi.
Article Source: New York Times, Christopher Clarey, February 28, 2017
Image Source: Twitter – EmiratesTeamNZ