I just got schooled in a previous thread for not knowing that The defined “illegal actions” had been removed from Rule 42 in this event. Which pretty much opens the door for unlimited kinetics or human propulsion as long as it is attached to the wing, sails, rudders or daggerboards or is otherwise an “act of seamanship.”
This has completely changed my view of the event. Instead of viewing the athletes as providing power to “normally” adjust the sheets, pull the boards up and down and provide enough juice to adjust the AoA of the main foil, it is now clear that the metabolic energy of the grinders can be used to propel the vessel by pumping the wing or other actions. Some have already poo pooed this, but I think it is significant and gives ETNZ a huge edge. Previously, I believed that an efficient control system and forgiving foil design could compensate for the lack of pure horsepower.
Earlier, 800 watts was sighted as the power premium of 4 cyclist versus 4 hand grinders. What was not given is the duration and intensity of the pumping. It is clear from the videos that the grinders are not pumping all the time and are not pumping hard all. Of the time. The cyclist, on the other hand, seem to be spinning the cranks 100% of the time. Does anyone want to hazard a guess what the difference in energy production during the course of a race is?
I expect this advantage to manifest itself most in marginal foiling conditions, where ETNZ will foil sooner and longer, and also on the down wind legs where they should be able to foil deeper at the same or better speed. If they can trim faster, they will accelerate off the starting line faster. Finally they should be able to tack and gybe faster simply because the human power will buffer the loss of aerodynamic drive. One horsepower isn’t much, except when it really matters.
Let me be absolutely clear, I do not regard this as cheating. It is absolutely within the rules as written, but not within the rules as understood by fools like me who thought they knew the rules. I could believe the simplification was done to avoid another charge of cheating against Oracle by ETNZ. I know how hard it is to police kinetics, and it has become customary in many classes to have a wind speed at which the Race Committee can declare “game on” but this is different. ETNZ deserves a golf clap for taking advantage of this opportunity.
If anyone can quantify the difference between the arm grinders time producing x power and the cyclists producing y power, I think it would inform all of our appreciation of the events to come.
Got an answer for this legend? Hit him up in the thread.