A whole new game

Audi MedCup crew discuss bowsprits, twin backstays, less crew and the new free pumping rule
The TP52s have undergone some significant changes over the winter, turning them from a boat clearly born of IMS to something more modern and 2010 with the replacement of the spinnaker pole in favour of a bowsprit and the old single backstay set-up with twin backstays allowing for a larger roach and a flat top to the mainsail. However the change to twin backstays in particular is something the teams have undertaken in different ways. As Nick Bice showed us in our guided tour to TeamOrigin 1851, the only new boat built for this season (and the only Juan Kouyoumdjian design), they have two chain plates for each of their running backstays, moving it to the outboard position when the breeze is up. Some, such as Artemis have gone down the low hassle, low weight gain route and stuck with the existing single backstay structure, by having their twin chainplates close to the centre line of the boat, while others have made a structural change to the back of the boat so their chainplates for the runners can be located further outboard. But there is more to it than even that, as Emirates Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies explains: “There are two backstays, but whether you go to a bigger or smaller winch and what purchase system you use differs from boat to boat. If you look at our boat we have a lock on the dead end, so you can still adjust that quite quickly, but the key is to be able to have the runner man still work the runner while he’s hiking to get maximum weight out. Some boats don’t have enough purchase in their system so that they have to sit in and over the top of it. So we are happy with ours in a straight