As the founder and president of Wally, Luca Bassani knows a thing or two about sailing and innovation. He explains why the recent America’s Cup in Bermuda was his favourite edition to date…
Emirates Team New Zealand was a fitting winner of the 35th America’s Cup — they prepared their boat much better than the Defender, Oracle Team USA. They adopted innovative solutions to improve the boat handling, on the water they had superior tactics, both at the starts and on the course, they manoeuvred better and they were much sharper. Basically they dominated every area making them truly deserving of this historic victory.
We must also acknowledge the contribution of Russell Coutts, who is to be praised for making this the most beautiful America’s Cup in terms of the media. Most of the races offered spectacular moments the likes of which had never been seen before in the sport of sailing.
Some have been critical of the foiling catamaran format but I would argue that the importance of race tactics was magnified by this type of boat. Their speed allowed teams to gain time or lose the race in just few seconds, meaning that the tacticians had a much more difficult job than they would on board traditional monohulls.
Additionally, these boats showed the huge potential that the America’s Cup has for the development of environmentally friendly technology. Much like hybrid racecars, which are helping to bring sustainable cars to the market, the America’s Cup’s flying catamarans showed an unparalleled sustainable efficiency.
They can fly at almost five times the true wind speed (38 knots of speed in 8.5 knots of wind) and can sail upwind with a velocity that is double the wind speed. It is amazing to think that three tonnes of boat (crew included) can reach 47 knots of speed using only wind power and the grinder’s muscles! A planing motor yacht of the same weight would need at least 600hp to deliver the same performance.
If this technology is developed further, it would be possible to revolutionise maritime transportation by focussing on wind exploitation. This would drastically reduce the pollution generated by container ships, which is one of the biggest contributors to global pollution today.
I would like to thank all those who contributed to this magnificent event — both winners and losers. With a more or less fair attitude, all of the teams contributed to make this a fun edition of the America’s Cup.