Oracle grinders get to pedalling
Speculation that Oracle Team USA have integrated a pedal-grinding system in their America's Cup Class racing yacht ended after the defender of the “Auld Mug” was spotted racing with the new feature in the Great Sound yesterday.
The team's new grinding pedestal is located directly behind Jimmy Spithill, the helmsman, and is being used in addition to the four conventional arm-driven grinders.
“Since we started sailing the new America's Cup Class boat in February, we've explored a potential advantage in moving our tactician, Tom Slingsby, who also grinds, farther back in the boat at certain points in the race so that he is positioned immediately behind skipper Jimmy Spithill,” said Peter Rusch, the Oracle Team USA spokesperson.
“To allow him to keep contributing power to the systems, we wanted to add a grinding pedestal. As there is no room for a traditional pedestal, we're experimenting with a pedal station. This is just one of many tests we're still making. Time will tell whether it ends up being a racing configuration.”
Oracle, the two-times defending America's Cup champions, are the second racing syndicate, behind challenger Emirates Team New Zealand, to use pedal grinders on their boat.
The Kiwis raised eyebrows after photographs surfaced from Auckland in February revealing their boat fitted with four pedal grinders on each hull rather than the conventional arm-driven grinders.
The grinders provide hydraulic power for the rigid wing-sail and various other systems, and the leg power is expected to ease the physical burden on the crew.