by Richard Crockett
I have been astounded by the number of people who have not yet worked out how to watch the Louis Vuitton Series unfold, or are bitter that they have to pay for the privilege!
Firstly, all one has to do is download the America’s Cup app FREE, and if you want to watch the live coverage as a video, you have to pay R59.99 for the privilege. Or watch the Virtual Eye free.
What you get is absolutely mind-blowing coverage of some serious sailing – flying if you like, although foiling is the really true and correct term.
I watched ALL races last night from about 19h00 until about 21h30 – and was rivetted, and will be back again tonight.
Why? The boats are awesome and fast – sailing most of the time at 3X the speed of the wind – yes, in the approximately 10 knots of wind they were off at speeds over 30 knots – with closing speeds of 50 – 60 knots. That’s FAST – superfast and even faster than superfast!
The commentary by Ken Read is incisive, knowledgeable and enjoyable – despite him making ALL the Land Rover BAR viewers choke on their tea and cucumber sandwiches when he suggested that they may have damaged their boat yet again. He did apologise when he realised his mistake – but their sandwiches had already been spoiled by then!
One gets the opportunity to be on board with the crew as the onboard cameras bring you right into the action -and there’s plenty of that too. Plus you can hear some of the chatter aboard.
The racing is no picnic for the crews as they work damn hard to keep their steeds flying, while the grinders keep the hydraulic pressure up to allow them to foil and trim their wingsail.
Talking of grinding, I think that Emirates Team New Zealand has ‘bingoed’ the hydraulic issue with their ‘cyclors’ who are on bikes pedalling away furiously – and who always seem to have oodles of power available. Plus they appear to be a formidable unit on the water – so let’s hope that if they get to the finals they don’t blow it like last time!
I have been disappointed by the performance of Land Rover BAR so far as Sir Ben has simply not stepped up to the plate yet. Pity as I thought he may well be one of those who simply quietly got on with the business of preparing under the radar – although he has yet to show he’s up to it and put in a performance that shows he can do it. My impression is that right now he is a few knots slower than his competitors, and he has issues when bearing away as he tends to bury the boat which brings it to an almost grinding stop. He won’t win like that.
Artemis with Nathan Outeridge at the helm may well be the dark horse who surprises everyone – only time will tell.
What I so enjoyed last night was the final race Oracle Team USA sailed. It was poetry in motion. They were up and foiling fast and hardly made an error by dipping the hulls in at any point – as I say, poetry in motion and breathtaking to watch.
So, forgo those few beers in the pub tonight – and rather spend that money on paying to view the Louis Vuitton qualifying series tonight – you will not regret it – that is for certain sure.