You guys don’t seem to be putting much emphasis on foiling - what’s your thinking on that?
KH: I remember being in one of the very early design team meetings and one of the assignments for the performance team was to make sure we were on top of all the things we would want to measure, maybe occasionally have some sailor input. Adam (May) and I are both Moth sailors. At that meeting, [designer] Juan [Kuoyoumdjian] and his team came in and announced that it was clear that if you could get a boat foiling and going straight and fast, there was a little bit less drag so it went faster. We had that discussion a long time ago, but it’s correct. We’re not pursuing it to the same extent that the other teams have because there’s always been the question of control. It’s one thing to get something to fly in a model and it’s another to get it to fly in the real world. Hats off to ETNZ for doing that - really!
Then there are trade-offs after that. You pay a price for generating the lift to be able to fly—that price is the drag—then you pay another price for generating that lift in a way that also gives not active control like we have in the Moth but a form like that you can control as the height/lift/leeway changes. They’ve done a good job of making that fairly self-regulating. For us, we’re not sure that all those penalties are worth it. So while you’ll probably sure you’ll see our boat out of the water a bit, I’m not sure how much.
There’s rumor that foils may be abandoned because of the size of the course.
KH: Even on a really good day on a Moth, you do have to bear away and get up on the foils before get going fast. For that brief time you’re slower than a boat that’s designed to sail through the water traditionally. They may already have worked out that all those little times where you have to heat up after a jibe or bear away [after a tack], maybe that’s too costly. We can kind of tell a little bit what they’re doing when they’re going straight but it’s very hard to have a feel for all the dynamic stuff from faraway. Certainly they [ETNZ] know that.
You were the first to crash your wing, what lesson’s did you learn from that?
KH: I would say we were the first ones to put a wing up and sail with it, and with that, the first ones to crash it. But I value those days we had on the water in the trimaran quite highly because we had a heck of a lot of instrumentation in the wing and the feedback that all of that provided while sailing and during breaking it I’d like to think that’s all gone into an evolution in wing 2 that otherwise not have been there.
Fortunately the way that it was destroyed was remarkable and it was fixable. The way it broke and landed on the boat basically in three pieces that we towed in was pretty cool. There are so many guys who are good at what they do around here and willing to work as hard as they can to fix things, we fixed it. That’s the wing 1.1. We’re working on wing 2 and look forward to getting that on the boat eventually because it’s an evolution of the things we've learned from wing 1.
Time frame on wing 2: two weeks, a month, more?
As soon as possible - before the America’s Cup and not tomorrow!
Progress on boat 2?
Coming along and on a similar timeline basically. I think all the teams are wishing they could have launched a little sooner to have more of what you learn from boat 1 go into boat 2 but in order to do that your boat 2 is likely with very accelerated timelines to arrive quite late. A lot of the big decisions were made a while ago and there’s a lot of fine-tuning that can go on now and is, but we look forward to seeing boat 2 when it arrives and getting into it with that too.
How’s your training program going to be affected by training in San Francisco during the winter?
It’s funny you should ask. This particular week, although we’re ready and rearing to go, we’ve been blown out by this particular front. As hard as it is for all of us to sit on shore and look out what looks like sometimes really good sailing, it’s the prudent thing to do. One thing about these boats is it’s not just a question of chucking it in the water and pushing off the beach. There’s a huge amount of work and coordination just getting onto the mooring ready to get off the mooring. That means you need to pick your weather window carefully.
Goals for the next few months?
We’re hoping to learn to sail the boat as fast as we can in a straight line and hoping to get our boat handling to an America’s Cup-winning level.