In the America's Cup, it's as easy as in almost any other regatta dive: the fastest boat has the greatest chance of victory. Speed is not a guarantee of victory, but with a slow boat someone has rarely and only happily won.
So the question arises who has the faster boat, challenger LunRoss or defender Team New Zealand. They will meet for the first time in the America's Cup final next night, or rather early in the morning at 4.15 a.m. There were meetings at the Christmas Race before Christmas, but a lot has happened since then.
LunRoss had to fight through the elimination of the challengers, the PradCup, and last defeated the British in the final. This superiority leads many cup observers to suspect a strength of the Italians in light winds of about ten knots. "I think the New Zealanders have gotten nervous," says Rolf Vrolijk, a designer who advised the British team.
Naturally, the New Zealanders do not want to admit such alleged weaknesses. At the final press conference, helmsman Peter Burling said: "There are many conditions under which I am relatively confident that we will have a faster boat." When asked specifically about the light wind strength of the Italians, the 30-year-old replied: "There are obviously many conditions in which LunRossals has proven to be very strong, especially against some of the other challengers. But many of them have been areas where we've been in the last few years Made some pretty big strides. It's been a pretty good development phase for us as a team, we're really looking forward to getting into this first race."
But even the other side did not let themselves be looked at. "We don't know much about the actual speed of the boats, we can only guess," said Patrizio Bertelli, head of the Italian syndicate. "A lot will depend on the wind conditions, wind shifters and the like. You can never be entirely sure in a final."
However, there is much to suggest that the New Zealanders are superior. Bookmakers see it that way at the moment. The betting provider Betfair sth gives back 137 euros for 100 euros on a win New Zealand; if you bet 100 euros on the Italians, you get 240 back.
How strong are the New Zealanders?
The New Zealanders have perfected foil sailing and the way in which it is developed. So they finally dropped the curtain on their research department and unveiled their sailing robot, a type of artificial intelligence with which the test cycles for changes to the material or maneuvering sequences could be reduced from days to hours, which made more test series possible.
Team New Zealand introduce the AI bot
The size of the foils for the New Zealanders also speaks for a technological advantage in the development of foils as well as in the double membrane sails. Their main foils are about 20 percent smaller than those of the Italians, and the so-called elevator, the T-Foil on the rudder blade, is also smaller. The smaller a foil, the less drag it creates, which becomes more and more important the faster the boats sail. With a small foil, however, it is more difficult to take off, because the smaller area usually means that less lift can be generated at low speeds.
Peter Burling, helmsman of the New Zealanders
Apparently, however, the New Zealanders manage to generate enough pressure with the double membrane sail, even at low speed, that it is enough for take-off. This usually requires a deep, bulbous profile in the sail. It is not difficult to produce this, it is rather a matter of being able to adjust the profile flat immediately after lifting off. Because then a lot less profile is required, a deep sail, on the other hand, has more resistance. To be able to make these adjustments quickly and fluently is the great art of the new sail design.
Peter Burling's strengths also lie in being able to sail the boat quickly. Together with Blair Tuke, who trims the foils, Burling is world champion and Olympic champion in the 49er, both of which have clearly been the dominant team in recent years. With their experience in this high-speed skiff class, both are very familiar with speed sailing and have learned it from the ground up in their youth. Spithill and Bruni, on the other hand, are not among the Italians, they come from classic sailing. Burling will in all likelihood try to stay out of all duel situations at the start. Because if the New Zealanders are ahead at the first meeting in the wind, the so-called First Cross, they should hardly be able to catch up.
How strong are the Italians?
Max Sirena, Team Principal of the Italians
The Italians' greatest chances are likely to be in light winds and they will have to seek their advantage at the start. If they manage to control the New Zealanders at the start, it could be difficult for them to happen. That was shown by the races of the Prada Cup final against the British. The helmsman duo Jimmy Spithill (Australia) and Francesco Bruni (Italy) succeeded more often in duping their counterpart Ben Ainslie on the British boat at the start. After that, the British were almost never able to free themselves from control. The narrow courses of this cup with their limitations also contribute to this. They force three to four turns per cross, a speed advantage can only be exploited to a limited extent by a team because it does not succeed in simply sailing away from the opponent in one long stroke - which is one of the reasons for this course design. Spithill is an excellent starter and very unpleasant opponent in tight tack and neck duels, Bruni is also a very experienced match racer. It would be very surprising if they didn't try to put the New Zealanders under pressure, especially at the start.
Where can you see the races?
So both teams seem to have their chances of beating the other. Hopefully, both of them will use it for more exciting and as many races as possible. It takes a team seven wins to win the America's Cup. The teams sail against each other twice on Wednesday; winds between 12 and 17 knots are predicted. After a day of rest, there will be two races every day from Friday. If there are no further postponements due to too much or too little wind or again increased corona warning level, the winner could already be determined on Sunday, but no later than Wednesday of next week.
All races are broadcast live free of charge and are on the Cup website, on Youtube as Facebook to pursue. No extra app is required for mobile devices. The reps should be made available on these channels immediately after the end of each race.