SEASON 2 : BERMUDA : THE FINAL

PRE-START

So a couple of notes before we start the race. First, this is the first time that 3 boats will make the finals instead of the traditional 2-boat match race. What’s cool about this is that instead of it being the usual boring tack and cover – the 3rd boat adds pressure from behind. So it’s really a completely new dynamic. You’ll see some of that play out here.

Second, I’m adding some additional screens from the app showing how you can set it up to see more data (at the expense of a smaller video window). But because that data really helps understand why a boat is doing well – it’s a great thing to have…especially since you can move between boats and do comparisons when re-watching the races.

So, to the….

START

The last couple of races we’ve seen GBR either running a midline shift down to that low end pin – or bunching the low end pin every time. But we’ve also seen it pay dividends as the fleet hits that speed mark and GBR is in the zone first.

Similarly, we’ve seen both FRA and AUS favor that high end – likely hoping for better air. So it’s shaping up to be the same-old, same-old.

Slingers does a good job pushing FRA down off the foils without losing much ground to GBR. AUS is ready for this. It’s going to be really close…

And pulling the trigger JUST at the right time, AUS takes the start with plenty of speed. GBR is close – but slow. You really have to admire Slingsby’s starts.

It’s really close racing, screaming along at 90 kph…

But once again, GBR is JUST able to nudge AUS out at the mark hitting over 51 knots…

But with just a bit more speed, AUS nudges ahead for the lead. GBR calls a protes.

Now, another really cool thing with the app is that you can see the umpire reviewing the sequence on his own monitor (see below) as the race continues …

He even zooms in and replays it again. No foul…

LEG 2

GBR, covering AUS, starts to inch ahead – but the racing is still tight. FRA is hanging in after a horrible start due to that pushdown by AUS…

But GBR just continues to pull ahead – now 3 seconds over AUS…

Carr mentions that the setup between the GBR and AUS boats are identical. So what exactly is giving that extra turn of speed to GBR?

Ride height. Look at this comparison – which is pretty much the case for the entire race…

GBR is consistently higher than the other 2 boats. And even though AUS is a bit faster in terms of pure speed a lot of the time – they still lose ground due to better height and VMG control by GBR. It really is mastery when you understand what’s happening.

A great shot of all 3 boats blasting toward the mark…

And GBR has opened up an even more comfortable lead coming into the mark – while also keeping AUS low so they’ll have to pinch up…great tactics…

Coming around, AUS gets sloppy and drops off the foils momentarily…keep that in mind…

FRA comes around behind AUS and does the same thing…while AUS works to get back some speed and distance on GBR…

Another comparison to the AC75…as you can see here, an F50 coming off its foils hurts, but doesn’t destroy the race like it did with the America’s Cup. These F50s accelerate so quickly the excitement is not only maintained – but amped up when this happens. Watching the AC75s sail the wrong direction all the way out of bounds just to try to get foiling again while the other boat was lapping them was just about the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen in racing.

LEG 3

Slingsby is doing an exceptional job of keeping the race tight – despite the touchdown…and FRA is still in it…

But GBR is about to pull a seriously nasty (and brilliant) move on AUS that will clinch the race. Watch this…

The two boats tack and AUS gets settled into the dirty air coming off GBR as usual…

But just then, Iain Jensen on GBR flattens the wing to throw serious shade over onto AUS – and it works like a charm…

And in you go AUS…

Look at the data off of AUS…under water, 15 knots gone, and GBR clean away…

And you wonder why GBR wins races? Just incredible.

Knowing it’s desperation time – AUS goes for the split. But remember what I said above about that 3rd boat? AUS is now really racing FRA for 2nd.

FRA plays it smart and splits from AUS to follow GBR…

Only 5 seconds separate AUS and FRA – who intend to ride GBR all the way to the barn at this point….

But Slingsby isn’t about to give anything away as AUS pulls a beautiful rounding. Don’t you just love the aggressive look of the F50?

LEG 4

FRA is losing ground – but it’s still a great race…

GBR and AUS set up for a cross as time and space is running out. You just have to know that Slingsby is PISSED about that dirty air slam dunk. He is pushing like hell…

But going back to the data – here is what’s winning GBR this race. Compare both ride height and time between the boats…and remember these boats are set up identically…

All Ben ever needs is an edge – no matter how small. And he’s found it.

Coming into the mark, AUS is really pushing now…

Obviously a little too hard as they make another mistake and lose more time…

It’s abundantly clear that AUS has speed. They just clearly don’t have the consistency and strategic chops of GBR. And it’s really, really cool that you (along with AUS all the other teams) can see all this through the data. No secrets – just skill and performance.

GBR is just covering now. FRA is far enough back not to be a bother…

Pretty much a simul-tack as both boats lay the line for home…

AUS can only pray for a mistake by GBR – which just ain’t happening these days…

It’s just not going to happen for AUS. And that sucks because they did so well overall. But finals is finals…

Major hats off to BA and he GBR team. It’s a pleasure to watch sailing like that. Every time.

And to reiterate that winning combo? It’s all about the ride and the tactics. GBR nailed both.

FINAL ASSESSMENT

So, overall assessment?

PRESENTATION: Technical and production stuff continue to improve. Working on what I assume was a skeleton crew due to COVID this was a stellar job on all fronts. This is going to be GREAT season.

5 SMACKS

RACING: An absolute Master Class by Ben Ainslie. That’s how racing is done. But you also have to give it to Slingsby. He is absolutely in the hunt. When JPN and USA get back on – this is going to be a hell of a season.

5 SMACKS

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