Image: Mark Wiss, Jimmy Spithill and Peter Harken
We were all exceptical about this Americas Cup and the use of Catamarans for Match Racing. What are your comments after watching the races?
Mark: I couldn’t get enough! And I didn’t want it to stop. This is my 5th AC that I have been involved through Harken, and it ranks as the most exciting next to the 2000AC in NZ. I believe the Finals certainly muted all those critics who doubted the vision by Larry and Russell. Assuming they retain the AC72, we will now be in the second generation; where the teams will become more equal in speed and handling. First generation of any class there is always a big speed gap as some design/sail teams get it right and others just don’t. The following generations inside a rule always improve after watching, copying and improving . There is no doubt in my mind that the end result; ETNZ vs Oracle was an incredible match racing event.
How do you see AC technology migrating into your everyday sailor? Do you expect to see classes sailing with Wind-Sails and Foils?
Mark: the Americas Cup is an incredible R&D arena for our industry. We always experience ‘trickle-down’ from the Cup, and this is already happening after the AC34. For example, many of the newly constructed racing boats are already ordering hydraulic solutions that we supplied Oracle. Multihulls are more popular than ever, and this is evident in what we are seeing from the boat builders. More charter catamarans are ordered every year than monohulls now, and beach catamarans are becoming more popular than ever. Foiling is already happening with the Moth and now the Kiteboarders are foiling too. I’m confident that foil designs and shapes are going to improve and provide giant leaps in performance for both mono and multihulls that we are all sailing. I believe that we will even find Wings more commonplace; that will take more development, but I’m confident that Wing sails will become something that could be installed onto a day sailor.
Harken is a big part of the AC development. What Harken product is in use today by the everyday sailor that came directly from AC technology (year?)
Mark: Wow…a big question, and the list is very long! Lets see if I can start the list from memory…. I am sure I have missed a lot!
• Black Magic Airblocks (1995)
• CRX Traveler Cars (2000)
• 1111 Winch (2003)
• 65 Winch (2000)
• Carbon Pedestals (1995)
• Carbon Pedestal handles (1995)
• All our Gearbox technology (1995, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010)
• Pivoting Track solutions (2007)
• 50 Winch (2003)
• 990 Winch (just after 1995)
• TTR Blocks (2007)
• T2 Carbo Blocks (2007)
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