Day 2 of the America's Cup and the forecasted breeze is lighter. Could this be the Kiwis day? Matthew Sheahan reports
The forecast is for the weather to be light today on Day 2 of the America’s Cup. With wind speeds not expected to climb above 10 knots, these are just the conditions that NZL92 has appeared to performed in previous races. She’s a narrow boat that heels quickly to the breeze and achieves her additional waterline length early.
In yesterday’s race her additional heel angle when compared to SUI100 was very noticeable, the Swiss boat looking stiffer throughout the race, apparently justifying the early speculation that Brad Butterworth’s team has optimised the boat for stronger wind conditions.
On the face of it, today could be a day for the Kiwis – but it’s not as simple as that.
“You’d have to be colour blind not to have noticed the change we’ve made to our boat,” explained Dean Barker. “We’ve got the longer Buzzy Bee bulb on now and not the flag,” he continued referring to the distinctive graphics on their two keel bulbs.
The Buzzy Bee is a longer, more slender bulb, still weighing around 20 tonnes, but has a lower centre of gravity. The skinnier bulb also allows a longer and therefore more efficient fin to fit between the underside of the hull and the maximum draft restriction. The downside is that the bulb has a greater surface area and potentially more drag. Overall, a shift towards optimising the boat for breezier conditions.
Therefore the big question is, has Emirates Team New Zealand traded some light weather performance for heavier airs? If so, today could be more nerve wracking than anticipated for the Kiwis.
A win today will get the Kiwi hopes back on track and counter the fast building confidence in the Alinghi camp following yesterday’s convincing win.
Make no mistake, today is crucial.
RESULTS SO FAR
Alinghi – 1
Emirates Team New Zealand – 0
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