Back to kindergarten - part 2

Today James Spithill and Ed Baird look at how an AC match in multihulls will be different to a monohull race
This article follows on from part 1 published yesterday.... Tactically sailing multihulls is very different too – shifts are all but irrelevant since the apparent wind is so prevalent, dragging the wind forward of the beam, and so it becomes all about finding pressure. “It is amazing what a knot or two of more wind speed will give you for an angle downwind,” confirms Alinghi helmsman Ed Baird. “The boats just take off which means you can turn deeper and go faster.” BMW Oracle Racing's James Spithill agrees: “It is all about pressure, especially downwind. It kind of reminds me of skiff sailing in some ways. Even the Melges stuff, the shift is important, but downwind pressure rules and with these boats especially you really have to think so far ahead about what you are doing and once a decision is made you are committed.” Then there is the manoeuvrability. Multihulls don’t carry their way and so are much slower through tacks and gybes, both manoeuvres very easy to get wrong, although on multihulls crews tend to develop their own techniques for managing this, be it backing headsails or sheeting on without the barber hauler as the boat gets up to speed. This varies from boat to boat largely dependent upon its displacement and turning ability. Ironically Cup monohulls have required similar techniques from their trimmers who help turn the boat in conjunction with the helmsman, but a subtlety that enables a smaller rudder to be fitted, thereby reducing drag and improving straight line speed, whereas do this to prevent themselves ending up in irons, sailing backwards. This lack of manoeuvrability will have a profound effect on how a match race in multihulls will look compared to what we are used to between Cup monohulls. The pre-start will be very different