Monday, 3 August 2009

33rd America’s Cup - 100% technology

As for the Deed of Gift match, what an awesome display of yachting technology! Both the BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi multi-hulls are amazing. Legal issues aside, the 33rd America’s Cup is destined to be a truly historical event. As for using engines to drive the winch and hydraulic systems, one can understand this from a technology aspect (with the ‘open’ Deed of Gift rule), but as an athlete one can only hope that this does not become the future of pro-sailing.
Only recently have the physical demands of elite/pro sailing become acknowledged as an important component of sailing success, particularly in big-boat sailing. For example, efficient grinding has been shown to affect the speed of manoeuvres. Hence, the high physical demands of ‘grinding’ has led to innovative research of the sports science of grinding, including optimum grinding pedestal configurations, grinding technique, etc. It’s not commonly realised, but big-boat sailing is the only able-bodied sport where arm-cranking (grinding) is the primary physical activity. It is not surprising that grinders are among the most powerful upper-body athletes. Therefore, in my opinion from a physiological aspect the uniqueness of grinding as a sporting activity is extremely interesting and should be encouraged as a fundamental activity in pro-sailing.

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