There’s some very interesting analysis coming off the water in New Zealand with one commentator suggesting that Ratty’s Rita is off the pace suffering from agricultural foils despite being on the money-ish with the hull design. What we are seeing with the Kiwi boat is once again an absolute devotion to nailing the foil plan with massive efforts gone into this area. Combined with a way-out there hull design that looks half a generation further on from the rest, they are going to be tough to challenge. Unless the boys on Team Ineos are sandbagging, and there’s every chance that they are, they look a step behind in the arms race. Are we seeing history repeat itself?
If we wind the clock back to Bermuda, it was widely assumed that the BAR Challenge had under-spent in its foil program and was at least three-clicks slower all round, especially when turning a corner or at the point of flight. The Kiwis on the other hand, kept their powder dry until the last and smoked away. I’ll give it to the Kiwis, they are bloody good at this game.
The problem with this cycle is that deployment time to the boats is extended and I worry that Ratty’s Rita can’t just clamp on a beautifully sculpted new set of boots and romp away. But I am reminded of the sheer depth of talent and massive resources available to Team Ineos this time around. 2016 this ain’t.
Money can buy a lot of things but time unfortunately isn’t one of them and we’ll know very shortly who is the real deal and who’s off the pace. This is fascinating stuff.