America's Cup

I like watching it - which makes no sense, whatsoever, since I have never sailed, never spent much time near the water (except when I was in the Peace Corps and trust me, I was not doing anything with yachts), never hung out with rich people who could afford those boats. In addition, I couldn’t tell the difference between a spinniker and a jib (and please don’t bother telling me because I could care less). I just enjoy watching it. I have no idea why.

Anyone else?

I love watching the America’s Cup. They do a great job with the camera work and I find myself literally on the edge of my seat. I find it very exciting and would rather watch that than football, baseball (snoresville, in my opinion) or any other classically American sport.

I’ve only been sailing a few times and not in more than a decade. My brother who lives on a sailboat and runs a marina doesn’t exactly qualify for being rich, just lucky. :slight_smile:

I was stationed in San Diego the when the race was held there. It was a real treat, especially as my duty station gave me a decent view of the races, and a ringside seat for the craft mustering out to the course.

One of the more interesting sights was the Stars & Stripes III coming in under tow with a million dollors of mast snapped in twain.

You don’t need to be rich to sail - I have (and race) two boats (a 16 foot dinghy and a 24 foot keelboat) and I am not rich! In Ontario we have a number of community co-operative sailing clubs were you pay a low membership due and have to give back to the club by helping out. These clubs also provide a fleet of dinghies for the use of members who pass their sailing lessons. (Dinghies: small sailboats that don’t have a keel and that you can’t overnight on, but are still funs.) But I digress from the question.

I’ll talk about sloop rigged boats. The mainsail is the main sail that is pretty much always used while sailing. The top of the sail (the head) is attached to a line which comes out of the top of the mast and is hauled up. The luff of the sail (the leading edge) is attached to the mast. The tack of the mainsail (the point at the bottom of the sail nearest the mast) is attached to (usually) the mast and the slw (the point at the bottom of the sail away from the mast) is attached to the boom. Using the mainsheet (a line attached to the boom) you control the mainsail (in and out). The main sheet generally attaches near the middle and or the end of the boom (depending on how you have your blocks (pulleys) set up). (For simplicity sake, I won’t get into travellers or vangs/kickers/kicking straps.)

The jib is the sail in front of the mail. The head of the jib attaches to the jib halyard which comes out of the mast and is hauled up (sometimes all the way to the top of the mast and sometime not depending on your boat design. If the jib doesn’t go as high as the main, it is referred to as a fractional rig.) The tack of the jib is generally attached on the deck of the boat towards the bow and the jibsheets attache directly to the clew of the jib. The jibsheets are generally lead back into the cockpit via some blocks and leads (fairleads). In some boats you leave the jib up even when you have a spinnaker up and in some you don’t. Typically, the jib doesn’t go back past the mast. One of my jibs on my 24 foot boat is referred to a a 170 percent jib because it is 170 percent bigger than a jib that doesn’t go past the mast. (Sometimes a big jib is referred to as a gennaker).

Now if I haven’t confused you too much, I will try to describe a spinnaker. First, though, you need to know about points of sail. When you are pointing as close to the wind as you can you are a on close-hauled or beating course (remember that sailboats do not go well when the are pointing directly into the wind). As you steer the boat, away from the wind and the wind is coming over the side of your boat, you are on a reach. As the boat steers more away from the wind, you are on a broad reach and then when the wind is directly behind you, you are running. Spinnakers are not used when you are close hauled. They are used for running and reaching.

The spinnaker is a big, typically colourful sail at the front of the boat used while runnign and reaching. Mains and Jibs are essentially airfoils and act on the same principles as airplane wings to generate lift and power (which is why boats can go faster than the speed of wind and why boats can point so close to the wind). The spinnaker is not so much an airfoil as it is a big surface for the wind to ‘push’. When you are running you cannot go faster than the windspeed. Spinnakers are made of lighter material than the jib or main and are often referred to as kites or chutes (think parachute material - sort of)

There are two types of spinnakers -symmetric and asymmetric. The asymmetric spinnaker is more like a great big jib - it doesn’t require a spinnaker pole The head and tack attach similarily to the way the jib’s do and the spinnaker sheets attach to the clew.

I think of the symmetric spinnaker as floating more. The head of the spinnaker is attached to the spinnaker halyard. One end of the spinnaker is attached to a pole while is attached to the mast. That end is called the tack. A line called a guy is attached to the tack and is used to pull the pole back or move it forward. Another line, a topping lift or pole uphaul is attached to the pole and it is used to lower or raise the pole. The sheet is attached to the other end of the spinnaker (the clew) and is generally led back back to the crewmember responsible for controlling the spinnaker sheet. The pole height and pole forward/back position and the sheet are constantly being adjusted to ensure the sail is set for maximum speed. During a jib, the tack is removed from the pole and becomes the clew and the line that was the guy now is called the sheet (which is always fun for confusing novice sailors/racers!) and the pole is attached to what used to be the clew. The old clew is now the tack and the sheet is now the guy.

Sorry for my long winded answer! For more AC and LVC info, here are the websites:
Some of the off the water controversy is as exciting as the sailing!

If you want to watch some more really exciting racing … Outdoor life sometimes carries Aussie 18 or skiff racing. Those boats fly! The race format is both match racing (2 boats like AC racing) and fleet racing.

Yeah, I am also into watching the America’s Cup. MUCH MORE exciting than NASCAR :rolleyes: could ever be!!!

Plus, the scenery is breathtaking; the beautiful blue water, coastline, and “stadium” of boats watching the race. I never even realized it was shown on TV until I met my husband back in 2000 and he insisted on staying up until 2:00am watching the races back then.

Ooops … or should I say d’oh!

I did one of my sightreading specials! You explicitly asked not to be told the difference and I read that you did! Sorry! I feel like a total idiot :o

Below decks with ye Amethyst!
Avast spinnin’ yer blasted yarns!


I think I’ve had too many booms in the head!

But for those of you who didn’t have patience for my long-winded yarn … I’ll repeat the interesting stuff:
For more AC and LVC info, here are the websites:
Some of the off the water controversy is as exciting as the sailing!

If you want to watch some more really exciting racing … Outdoor life sometimes carries Aussie 18 or skiff racing. Those boats fly! The race format is both match racing (2 boats like AC racing) and fleet racing.

I can now at least understand what they are sometimes saying. Which puts me two steps ahead of whenever I listen to John Madden give play-by-play of football.


OK, I’m confused again. One of the few nautical terms I do know is “head”. It means bathroom on a boat, and I thought a “boom” was some sort of large pole (I learned this watching a Friends episode.

What are large poles doing in the bathroom? And why would that make you upset?

The first race was pretty wild wasn’t it! The rules of the LVC (ie the sailing instructions as opposed to the ISAF rules of sailing) didn’t allow starts when the wind was above 19 knots for 5 or 10 minutes (I forget the specifics). The assumption was that the AC would not have wind above that speed and they wanted the winner of the LVC to be the boat best able to sail in the expected conditions of the AC. The NZ boat didn’t expect they would be in such conditions and didn’t seem to have a boat that could handle it.

However, my favourite equipment breakdown was the year that AustraliaOne snapped in half (while racing against NZ if I remember correctly) and sunk. (No lives were lost). Steinlager beer was and still is an NZ sponsor and they quickly brought our a brilliant ad … ‘Only one thing goes down faster than a Steinlager’ and they showed the clip of AustraliaOne sinking! Brilliant!

If you want to know more about what some of the stuff means, you can download Virtual Spectator from the LVC site. (if you pay you get the current races, otherwise you see the old races from last AC … but you can get it to explain stuff.

If you need a racing fix after the AC … rent ‘Wind’, a movie about AC with Jennifer Gray and Matthew Modine … kinda weak story , but great sailing (AC boats and I-14’s)

love the america cup. i really like that women are in the race now.

Head can be the pointy part on the top of a sail too. :wink:
A boom is a spar that runs along the foot of a sail.
Amethyst didn’t duck when “bringn’ 'er about”*, and got hit in the head by the boom.

*A sailboat sails on one tack or the other. (Transl-The wind is either on the left or the right.) The sailboat is "brought about when changing tacks; when turning so the wind is on the other side. When you bring her about, the boom comes flying across, above the deck. Gilligans often get hit by the boom. It’s more dramatic, and painful, when you’re sailing downwind. The boom is farther out, and travels more when you’re sailing downwind.

Gilligan is a sailor term, roughly translated as: chump.

Not ducking in time can result in a nice goose-egg on the head (or worse).

But the most ‘amusing’ time when the boom hit me on the head was during a moonlight sail with a fleet of dinghies … the shackle at the top of the main halyard (ie the doo-hickey on the line that holds the main up) broke and all of a sudden, in the dark, I felt something hit my head. Like any self respecting crew, I immediately blamed the helm! (ie the guy driving/the skipper)