Walking the ACWS Racecourse with Dean Barker
The high speed, high-adrenaline race courses for the America's Cup World Series events in the lead up to the 35th Cup put a premium on split second timing, faultless crew work and fearless tactical calls. SoftBank Team Japan skipper Dean Barker shows us the new style racecourse through the eyes of the sailors.
We normally try to give ourselves 45 minutes to an hour before the start to prepare. We tend to focus on nailing the manoeuvres – tacks and gybes mainly – for that wind strength Once they start to lay the course we take a look at what is going on with the wind and the current and try to work out if there is a favoured side. We sail a couple of legs and get ourselves comfortable with our recorded headings on both tacks upwind and both gybes downwind. Once we are happy with that we look at the start line bias and the potential angles to the first mark on the opening leg.
The goal in the time before the start is to set the boat up so that you have optimum performance so that you can get off the startline well. When you have 10 to 12 knots of breeze it’s all about getting the boat on the foils quickly. In a perfect world you would line up at 30 seconds and come foiling in at full speed when you hit the startline. However, that’s a very high-risk approach - every now and then that might work but... READ THE FULL ARTICLE