The AC72's are designed to sail at 3X wind speed. I don't understand the negative comments about them not sailing in winds above 20kts. The loads on a boat are what counts, not the wind speed, and those loads are tremendous at boat speeds of 40-50kts.
The only reason anyone here can still sail in 20kts of wind is because all of us are on pig boats that can't get out of their own way. All of us. Relative to these boats.
I doubt any of you would attempt to go out in 80kts of wind, which would put equivalent loads on your boat and gear
as 20kts do on the AC72's.
I was recently sailing on a Mod70 trimaran
at 35kts in 15kts of wind. The forces were tremendous and it took a professional crew and helmsman (L'Hydroptere and AC45) working full time to keep it under control. Some of the control lines were 1.5" Amsteel. That was not a typo.
They call F1 races due to rain, but would you complain that they should be using rally cars or dune buggies instead?
Does anyone know what it costs to campaign an F1? Does F1 translate in anyway to your Toyota? I wouldn't watch a bunch of Prius's lumbering around a track.
We just spent a week watching the AC72's practice and race. I dare anyone to actually go and watch these things in person and not come away impressed and excited. The racing
takes place only meters away from the spectators, the course is short, requires a lot of maneuvering and provides many opportunities for screwing up spectacularly, the crew are actually athletes and you get to watch them in action, and the boats are on the edge at all times.
Is it perfect? No. From my observations, the boats are a bit too big and still in the research
stage - the teams are daily discovering new ways to operate them. Just in the one week we were there, the teams discovered the code 0 was not helping them, they were just perfecting foil-foil jibing, they found a way to foil upwind and are now working on finding how to optimize VMG this way, they changed the shape of the foils, and Oracle seems to have found a way to be faster without any headsail at all.
All of this learning
is being done on TV, which probably hurts the impression of these boats.
But all of this will be ironed out in the future - just like bulb keels, canting keels, broad beams, etc were with the RTW racing boats.
There is no way I want to go back to watching slow mono's slog their way around a long, boring course 10 miles offshore
. I could barely stand that when they were, and I have a large interest in the sport.