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Scuttlebutt: New Ideas Emerge

Peter Isler submits this report to Scuttlebutt, providing his insight on the events surounding the build up toward the 2007 America's Cup. Photos by Gilles Martin-Raget.

(April 10, 2006) This may have been an uncharacteristically mild late winter/ early spring period in Valencia, but it's certainly provided excellent sailing conditions. We're already experiencing the Valencia seabreeze regularly - and that's ideal for tuning up our new boat USA 87, running it against our "old" boat, USA 76.

The BMW Oracle team is really pleased with 87's "out of the box" performance, and we are now working through the methodical path of learning how to sail it faster, and faster. Luna Rossa is also sailing their new boat, ITA 86 which first sailed a day or two after USA 87. The Kiwis have arrived in town and we expect to see their new boat (which was launched in Auckland during the winter) out soon. Several more teams (including Alinghi) should be launching new boats in the next month or so, and it will be very interesting to see how the new boats stack up against each other.

Given the level of inter-team training that goes on here (almost every day somebody is racing someone else), one would expect that there will be some "early returns" coming in off the water soon. The first "Act" of the season is now just over a month away, and it sounds like several teams are intending to enter their new boats. The other interesting bit of 'kit' that has debuted here in Valencia is Alinghi's "jumperless" rig. The benefits of less windage are an obvious reason for this move, but the challenge will be to engineer the mast section above the hounds to handle the loads without the normal level of support that jumpers and stays provide.

With a little more than a year to go before the beginning of the Cup Trials, there's plenty of action on and off the water. - Peter Isler, Navigator, BMW Oracle Racing Team

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