Recovery Drink: Carbon Lemonade and Red Bull
Recovery Drink: Carbon Lemonade and Red Bull
Tell us about the craft. You had a catamaran made out of paddleboards and then a glider mounted on top?
[Originally] it was going to a one-fifth-scale model of the 72. We actually had to have the whole thing set up in the pits for the morning of [the Flugtag event]. I wanted to have it so it was a vertical wing, so people fully connected with what we’re sailing out on the Bay. Then come jump time we’d spin it 90 degrees, and it would become our flight wing. But the designers—I popped into the aero design room during the week of the build—they basically told me you need to put dihedral [upward angle of the wings] on it in order to control roll stability, so that’s why I had the 30-degree bends [on the wing tips]. And at that point I figured you wouldn’t recognize it as [a boat], so we canned the whole vertical option. For me the story line was that I used recovered frames from the wing and cut them down and built this spar just like we would build a 72 or 45 spar, with the frames and Clysar. It’s a solid spar. It didn’t fly very far. Originally we were going to fly it without any pilot because we didn’t want to risk injury. So we set up the [center of gravity] without a pilot, and we had 15 pounds of lead weight at the front. At the last minute we heard Jimmy during the announcements saying that the teams that didn’t have the crews going in the water were getting really low scores, so we just said we’ve all got to jump with. So we added [surfer Ian Walsh] as a pilot, but we didn’t get rid of the [weight]. Ian Walsh said as soon as he went over he felt the thing had lift, but then it just went into a dive. It’s got potential. I reckon it will fly.
You’re a front-of-the-boat guy, mastman, grinder, always at the whim of the program manager or skipper. For this project, however, you were in charge. Did you enjoy having the power to choose your crew?
The funny thing was—and I was really surprised—I had to twist a few arms to get a full crew. I’m not sure if: A) It was a weekend so people want to relax or head out of town; or B) If it was the fact we’re jumping off a 30-foot platform. That’s sort of how I was presenting it to them; you’ve got to get back into this, just practice another jump. You can see the Team New Zealand guys jumping off the 10-meter diving board. I said this is way more realistic because the water’s cold, and we’re going to have debris coming down with us. That didn’t get them either. Jimmy was the only one who jumped in on the idea, he usually does. The other guys, I roped in some of the young guys, told them it was a must-do. The Red Bull guys, they were easy. We ended up filling half our team with other athletes. We had Chase Kosterlitz who’s a pro paddler and Walshy and another Red Bull guy. In the end we swelled it up. We had seven on the team, plus Jimmy and [musician] Sheila E [both of whom were helping judge the event].
Sounds like it was a successful diversion for the team. Now it’s back to reality, so to speak. What’s on the agenda right now for Oracle Team USA. There isn’t traditionally a lot of wind this time of year in San Francisco. How are you keeping your days full?
At the moment, sailing team-wise, not all the sailors are here. Some are getting a break. The guys who did Olympic campaigns, like Tom [Slingsby] and Ben [Ainslie], they came in straight after [the Olympics] for the World Series, they need to disconnect for a little bit after having pushed something so big for so long. Some guys are in NZ keeping an eye on what’s going on down there. The rest of us are basically here. We’re sailing 45s, testing out a few things when there’s enough breeze: foils and things like that, which we can upscale to the 72.
This week, a lot of the younger guys are involved in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup selection process. We’ve had young groms between 18 and 24 coming through the base.
In the gym, they have a fitness test in the morning, and you see them kind of broken [afterwards]. I don’t know any of them personally—just from their stature it looks like a lot of them are coming from Olympic-class background, and you can see a big difference. You see them coming in, and it’s like, “Whooah, these guys are small, we need to bulk them up.” The sailing skill sets could be there, totally. From what they’re coming from, I think this program’s a very different environment.
But it’s good because we’ve got a lot of young guys on the team now. We’re actively pushing to get younger guys on board. People like Rome [Kirby] who’s come in off the Volvo campaign and has a lot of big boat experience, but is the same age as those guys, could be a good role model for those guys to look up to.
Rome was a dinghy sailor in his youth, but he put on a tremendous amount of muscle leading into that Volvo campaign
When I was 19, I was 90 kilos [198 pounds], and I put 15 [33 pounds] on during my first campaign. I was 105 [231 pounds] at the end of Mascalzone [during the 2003 America’s Cup], and at Luna Rossa I put on another 20 [44 pounds]. I got up to 125 [275 pounds], so that’s 35 kilos [77 pounds] in a three-year period.
What do you see your weight for this boat?
I’ve dropped it now. Since we knew we were going multihull, I was in at about 118 [260 pounds] and I’ve dropped basically 15. I’m coming in generally at about 103, 104 [227 pounds]. And I think for race trim, I’ll be down to between 100 and 102 [222 pounds].