Tom Slingsby on the 35th America's Cup - part 2

Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA
Nationality rule, and the thorny topics of Oracle getting two boats and LV Cup limitations
This article continues from from part 1 published yesterday Hydraulics For the crew, the AC62s will remain a priming-of-hydraulics fest. In this age of push button technology now being widely used on big boats, one must question why it is really necessary to have the entire crew, save for the helmsman, continually manning the pumps, however Russell Coutts’ argument is that sailing in the America’s Cup must be a severe athletic exercise. In practice these days even on boats like Mini Maxis, the grinders are responsible not only for winding rope on winches but driving the rotary hydraulic pump to operate ‘long travel’ hydraulic rams, such as those for the runner deflectors. Perhaps the issue is not so much the degree of crew horsepower having to be put into grinding, but more that the effect of what that grinding achieves being less evident, particularly in still relatively unfamiliar equipment to casual observers’ eyes, such as wing and foil trim. A significant change to the hydraulic set-up, Slingsby advises is that for safety reasons it will this time feature a hydraulic accumulator for foil rake. He explains: “That is being brought in for a safety factor, so if something goes wrong and say we break the hydraulics or a grinding pedestal, you’ll still have some oil pressure there to make a bear away and get back to shore, whereas last time the guys had to be permanently grinding. Otherwise, everything else is the same. It is still as hard, and I like that – the athletic element to it is really important. If we all sat there and just pressed buttons, the spectators wouldn’t even know what is going on.” Although it would be interesting to see how many crew could sail an AC62 if it were push button. They could be doublehanders perhaps… At