As things stand now, it’s intimidating, standing 40 metres tall and weighing less than 6000 kilos. The power and potential “doomsday scenarios” of the new AC72 can send a shiver down even the most hardened round-the-world sailor’s back. That will diminish with the new cat’s every outing.
The vision of being trapped under the trampoline after a violent capsize, and having to use the emergency air bottle, or having to take your knife to cut your way thought the tramp to get to the surface, or both, will fade as the reality of preparing to race takes over.
We have seen before, well some of us have.
As with the 150ft KZ1 and the first IACC boats, they get smaller and more manageable as you get used to them. It’s like learning to drive a car. The first time behind the wheel, your eyes are as big as saucers. Now you just hop in, turn the key and you’re off.
By the time we take the cat to San Francisco for the Challenger series, we (and all the other teams) will be throwing the boats around like we do the AC-45 right now.
But for the next month or so, we will suffer a bit in the dark side before breaking through to the light.
That is the nature of doing things that have never been done before. Things will not always work the way we intend, things will break or fail, and the odd mishap (operator error) will be hanging over our heads like a dark cloud, but only in the early stages.
The best defence? Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
I can’t wait to get past sorting out the boat and systems and get on with preparing to race. Because at the end of the day, it is a sail-boat race.