Wound Up & Ready to Rip
Wound Up & Ready to Rip
Is four days of racing enough?
HPS: Yes. We are training now, our practice race days will be the three days prior to racing. It’ll look cool, like the normal event. It’s practice for the boys, as they won't have an opportunity to train with Liveline and the electronic boundaries before then, as they won't have full electronics on board until August 26.
The issue with the Oracle boats and “weight-gate," has that affected anything from where you’re standing?
HPS: Well, it started with us. We took the boats out of the container, the boys put everything together, and they controlled everything because we like to completely set the boats up for the Youth AC, and that’s how we found the problem.
It’s a really little thing, I don’t know why they did it. I didn’t speak with Russell about these things; they have to figure it out. One thing is for sure, it’s not an advantage at all. But, it’s also not allowed. The number one rule of sailing is not to make the boat slower, so to put something somewhere so that the boat is slower--there must be a reason they put it there?
Which of these teams are standing out to you?
HPS: It looks like Peter Burling on Team NZ is quite strong because he’s already sailed here at the World Series last year. He was helming Team Korea, so he has some experience. But we will see. There are some really good helmsmen with a lot of feeling, and they can sail the boat really quickly. He’s actually the favorite. The other teams like it--they all chase him!
You & Roman raced in the World Series in Naples earlier this year. What do you like about the 45s?
HPS: It’s an excellent boat; it’s very nice to sail. You have a lot of power in the wing, and you have to learn to sail the boat fast because you have asymmetric foils. It’s all about speed. Speed the thing up and you are good.
With your sailing background, why aren’t you on an AC72?
HPS: On the 72 you need 11 sailors, and you need a lot of experience, mainly how to work with such a big team. When you look at the teams, 99 percent of them speak English. The crew must communicate together on board the right thing at the right time; you have to understand everything very clearly. The only team that is a little different is Prada. They’re mixed up because it’s mainly an Italian team, but Oracle, ETNZ--they’re fully English-speaking.
I grew up in a ski resort close to Salzburg in Austria. We have a nice little lake nearby. I didn’t start sailing until I was 16 years old. So I started late into sailing and stayed a very long time in the Olympic classes. These teams aren’t hiring you with no experience when you are nearly 40. They hire you if you are 26 with no experience, and they know you are a good sailor because you have time to learn. By the time you are 40, you should already have experience on the big boats, but that’s what we are missing in Austria. We have no big boats. How can you sail big boats when you have only small lakes? We are the first in Austria who went into this big boating, never before have Austrians sailed big boats or had a big boat team. The Red Bull Extreme 40 is the biggest and fastest boat sailing in Austria.