What suddenly changed the speed performance of the Oracle catamaran? After the June scandal with Oracle, when the Americans were found to have tricked and changed their AC45 catamaran, the credibility of the American team and the words of its representatives was severely compromised. The magical transformation of Oracle's capabilities naturally became one of the main topics for discussion.
Few people believe in the wonderful moral strength of Oracle team, and the search for tricks on the part of the American team began with double strength.
Imagine the situation: the athlete has been running a hundredometer all his career not faster than 11 seconds, and suddenly one day he runs it for 9.5 ... what question will arise in this situation? Of course, the question about doping. Will anyone believe the athlete's story that he just «got his head together» and opened a new running tactic?
Just yesterday in the media circles of America's Cup there were rumors that Oracle Team USA was able to fantastically improve the speed characteristics of its catamaran with some special original «system of control over the dinghies». And that it was probably an automatic system. Today this theme continues to unfold with renewed vigour.
After the end of the regatta Oracle representative said that in all America's Cup races the team had the same dinghies (hydrofoil) and the system of control over them was already there when the regatta started. So it was approved by the racing committee.
The New Zealand team tried to challenge this system before the start of the «America»'s Cup match, but its application was rejected just before the race.
According to Emirates Team NZ tactics Ray Davis, Oracle's «catamaran is stable "like a rock" when sailing to the wind. It takes a lot of strength from us and we have only achieved some stability after many, many days of training. And they suddenly got it within a few days»... .
Indeed, at the start of the Cup match, Oracle had serious problems maintaining stability during the course of the manoeuvre. Everybody saw it.
In the middle of the race it was reported that Oracle began to use an automatic system for setting and controlling the dinghies and that this modification is approved by the race committee. Since then, Oracle has magically improved its performance in a leapfrogging way. Due to the above, it seems strange that only in the middle of the race did they start using «magic knowledge», if they had it before the race. Jimmy Spityl «explained» these improvements by the fact that their team made super efforts to improve catamaran trimming and also the team's strong moral qualities worked.
In this situation, there is probably another modification of the catamaran that Oracle started after it quickly lost.
Time was on the side of the Oracle team - it used the right to refuse one race, then several races were cancelled due to the weather. Thus, precious time for modifications was received. «Coast team worked day and night, and we were able to do it»- this was the main meaning of all comments from Oracle.
It is important to remember that for the first time the «America»'s Cup is played on hydrofoil boats. In aviation, the problem of course instability has been solved with the help of automatic systems. Obviously, Oracle also used such a system on its catamaran.
It is legal to have such a control system on AC72 catamarans, but only if this system does not trimmer the catamaran systems and parts itself. However, if it is not, the device should be considered automatic. If such a system has been used on an Oracle catamaran then it should have significantly increased the directional stability of the catamaran and therefore its speed capability. That's what everyone was watching.
No one would be surprised if the Oracle results just improved. But they have improved so much that they became like a fairy tale, in this situation even the most trusting person will start to doubt. Note that Oracle has not only increased its speed in the wind, but also learned to go into flight mode in one day (!) and keep it stable (!)...
It is also interesting that the Oracle performance increased only in strong winds, when AC72 catamarans are able to go into «flight» mode. This is also proved by race number 13, the first race number 13, which was cancelled due to the expiration of the 40-minute time allowed by the rules for the course. At that time, Team NZ was in the lead with an advantage of 1000 meters.
Oracle Team USA itself did not provide any comments on the modifications to the catamaran. The team representatives only smiled and said, "Well, we're just better, we learn every day, we open up new opportunities...".
If the Oracle catamaran used a computerized stand-alone system that operates without team intervention, then such a system cannot be considered legal under America's Cup rules.
Back in 2010, Oracle Racing had a complex automated mainsail-wing control system on its BMW trimaran. And now it is difficult to believe that having such systems in stock, Oracle Racing did not use them at the time of force majeure on the AC72. Yes, it could have. With Oracle's reputation in mind, it's easy to imagine. (Oracle has already fooled everyone by making changes to its AC45, hasn't it?)
The only problem is that at the moment it is too late to protest - it can only be done before the end of the regatta. That means that logical reasoning on where Oracle gets its lumber can remain on the level of reasoning.
All the above can be objected: after all, the America»'s Cup «is not a monotype competition, everyone is looking for (and always has been) their own ways to achieve the goal. Yes, then, probably, everything is in the style and traditions of the Cup. But there is another argument: one of the main rules of the «America»'s Cup is that the parties agree on the rules of the match between them, and then proceed to the races. And these rules (those rules: the ones they invented themselves) they have to follow. From this point of view, if the Oracle team broke the rule, then, first of all, they broke their own word. And this is a slightly different story.
A video with speed data showing how different Oracle and Team New Zealand are on counter courses: