With winds on the lower end of the expected wind threshold for the second day of the Copa America, today could be the day Team New Zealand unveils “The Whomper”.
What … you may ask? Here’s everything you need to know about dramatic screens, including how they are used, when and why.
The Whomper is a large, light, traditional, masthead sailing style that will allow Te Rehutai to continue fighting his way to the finish line if the winds become so light he can’t stay on the mast.
Regatta director Iain Murray is unsure about race conditions this morning, with around 2-7 knots of wind from the northeast expected today.
A race cannot take place if the wind speed is not recorded to exceed 6.5 knots for five continuous minutes on the course selected before the scheduled race.
In addition, if the race is to start in marginal conditions, the lead ship must arrive at the first mark within 12 minutes while the total race time must not exceed 45 minutes.
However, if the wind conditions did meet the threshold for the occurrence of a race, it would likely be at a very challenging level for the two ships to stay in foil.
That’s where The Whomper might come in.
AUT Screen Professor Mark Orams was thrilled by the potential of his performance, but said it could also turn against them.
“The only time I can see it deployed is if the weather is clear, the wind will not rise to a level that allows takeoff and derail and the boat sails with the wind in displacement mode,” he said.
“What’s really scary is if they produce enough power and speed to lift onto the foil and suddenly the ‘whoper’ will become a huge load and sure to be a ‘screen of doom’.
“But I would love to see him … I am a sailor around the old world where there are no limits, you can just use whatever nature gives you whether it’s zero or 60 knots.”
The screen name comes from a film documenting the success of the 1983 America’s Cup campaign, but steals details from a 1987 campaign in which Australia’s Alan Bond IV used a giant spinnaker screen.
The Whomper is “a completely asymmetrical spinnaker description developed by the Bond syndicate for the first reach at 12 meters pinned from the bow, or through the post to the bow, as opposed to flying it high at the post”, Murray explained to the media during a briefing on the day. Friday.
Put simply, what the general public can understand: it makes a “whomp!” sound when filled with the wind.
World champion sailor Phil Robertson told NZME in February that there would be many logistical issues to be overcome in rolling and unfolding sails – which are not good against the wind – during the race.
Sailing observers told the Herald they were wondering how the team could combat the breezes that continued during the race, after the crazy Christmas Cup clash between Team NZ and Team Ineos England.
The victory of the NZ team was robbed of the race, their huge lead meaningless after the boat was stranded in light air and was unable to meet the 45 minute time limit.
Today might be the perfect conditions for Team NZ to unveil this invisible weapon and sailing enthusiasts will listen closely.
Towards a Cup race?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about taking the ferry, train, or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.
• Don’t forget to scan the QR code with the NZ COVID Tracer app when taking public transportation and entering America’s Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.