The C-Class guru's assessment

Christophe Launay Photography /
Steve Clark looks back at last week's Little America's Cup and tells of his new wing
C-Class guru Steve Clark is still reeling from the destruction on first day of Little America’s Cup racing last week of the solid wing sail from his catamaran Cogito, the aerodynamic masterpiece that won him the event in 1996. “It was a dear old friend. I was thinking I should have had a moment of silence at one of the briefings or presentations. We may have a memorial service,” says Clark. We point out that he was lucky that the new wing he has been developing over these last months was not ready in time, as it might have become matchwood on its first outing. “The sequence of events that resulted in the tipping over was certainly freakish: We had a puff, a lull, and for the first time in some number of years Oliver [his crew] gets washed off his trapeze hook, and the sheet happens to get wrapped around his leg, so I have no steerage. It might have come back down if we hadn’t been hit by the next puff... So it could have happened in 4 knots of breeze or 15 knots. And once I fall on it [the wing], it is all over, although I was trying hard not to...” So Clark suggests, stick the bits in a dumpster with full military honours. Last week, Cogito’s wing was not the only one to touch the water, however as Clark points out it was the only one to be ‘totalled’. Due to them having lighter touch downs the other wings survived – the French team on Patient Lady VI did most damage to theirs when a daggerboard fell through it. As someone who has championed the C-Class and the Little America’s Cup (in fact he is second generation - his father Van Allan Clark campaigned Beverley in the second LAC