Strangely enough, the Spanish don't celebrate the Fourth of July. They have it in their collective head that independence day is something about a war with Napoleon. But the Spanish are pretty easy when it comes to a party. I'll bet if I got ambitious I could cook up a tradition of The Fiesta of the Wandering American Journalist the Day after the America's Cup, and who knows, it might still be going in a hundred years.
Not happening. Actually, there's plenty happening in the wake of America's Cup race seven. Tomorrow, the Alinghi people are talking about the protocol and plans for the next event—which may or may not mean that we get some definites—and today Alinghi had a wind-down on the roof of their team base where Alinghi's American helmsman Ed Baird shared a few thoughts about America's Cup 32.
Quote Unquote Ed Baird
On that crazy finish, which actually held an element of humor for him because . . .
When we took the team to Dubai to train, we sailed our very last race in a shifting breeze, and we were ahead by about 150 meters. I looked beyond the finish line and saw something dark on the water, something different in breeze, and I asked, 'Guys, I see some wind beyond the finish line; is there any chance we might be getting a big shift?' And they said no, no way. And then we got slammed. Yesterday I said the same thing. "Guys, I see wind beyond the finish line; is there any chance we could be getting a shift?' And the answer was no, no way . . .
And the moment . . .
There's a woman on the bow of the committee boat, and it's her job to put up the flag of the winner. She started to raise the blue [Alinghi's color of the day] and then she hesitated, and I thought NOOOO! It was a moment of heart failure.
On the effect of having a gate in a match race. The gate—two marks set along a line square to the wind, about six boatlengths apart, replacing the traditional single leeward mark—was introduced to Cup racing in this cycle to provide additional escape opportunities and attack options for the boat behind. This was part of an overall search for ways to make the competition more exciting. Gate-rounding choices figured large in several races, including the last two. In both of those, Emirates Team New Zealand led to the gate but did not lead around the next mark . . .
Choosing a gate is a bit like choosing a position on the start line. If the gate is not perfectly even, you have to weigh out which is more important, the distance gained or lost at a mark versus the side of the course it takes you to. The difference is that gate distances are doubled compared to a start line because you have to sail down to the gate and then back up.
The gate does give the boat trailing a chance to get back into the game, but in this series, New Zealand did the same thing we did. They'd look at the gate and do the thing that would give the most advantage to them at the moment, then wait to see what happens. Both boats at times were successful by taking the gate opposite to their opponent, but if you take the gate on the left, you're going to have to be a length and a half ahead of your opponent, going upwind, to cross.
And asked about his role . . .
As a helmsman you are so focused that you have a very incomplete picture of the racecourse. You don't see what's going on around you, but if I'm not comfortable with a call I can speak up.
On the headgear/backpack setup he wore during racing . . .
It gives me some information about what's going on around the racecourse, but no, I can't tell you what that is. Other teams are doing the same thing with readouts on the wheels. What we have is actually old technology that was developed for warehouse workers, and it's not being used anymore, so it was hard to find.
Yes, the winners were feeling good today. The Kiwis took this hard. The men of Emirates Team New Zealand know that they had a shot. This was not a preordained outcome. You can't do a thing like this unless you believe in yourself and believe that you're going to win. Now? Now they won't stop believing in themselves, but this thing about losing is going to take some adjustmentKimball