Cycling The Ocean
America's Cup Class Racing and Cycling should seem to have as much in common as Mormonism, and Halloween, but lately that has changed. While I am certain that nobody really knows the rules of High End Yacht racing craft; e.g. There are indeed rules, but what a sailboat looks like today, and what most children would draw as a sailboat are worlds apart. This evolution must have most rule makers scratching. Creating new rules after they are broken and attempting to keep pace with innovation, js a folly. What a bike looks like have diverged greatly since 1985. In the mid nineties, and early in the century, Bikes took a brief transformative trip to la la land, using the Full suspension Bike Craze, to typify a new bizarre tribe of strange. Oddities and Side Show freaks from brands like SoftRide, Trek, Kestrel, and Ibis all of which touched boundaries for strange morphology moving the classic diamond frame into bizarre and innovative classes, before (thankfully) returning to their senses. One only needs to view Trek's "Y" Bike or the Softride, road frame to understand the depravity of bike morphology. This said... Sailing innovation leaves most struggling to understand how any of it works, and how they sail it, whereas a bike is still managed in the same manner.
Recently I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, and in spite of some daily disasters everything went quite well. I brought with me many articles of Cycling clothing, which I'd anticipated (in shopping for the trip), would cross-over from Road Racing in Shitty weather, to Sailing the blue ocean quite well. I was right. A shadow fabric, or polarTech Pro piece is a great compliment to windy spray, although perhaps some implied warranties are voided by bringing chamois onto a boat. Nevertheless, a padded short, some jerseys and some weather wear from Santini, Gore Bike Wear, Rapha, and others, seem to be mutually reciprocal from one sport to the other... That is, If you consider sailing a sport. Nevertheless a jersey has a marsupial benefit for hydration, tools, gloves, a marlin spike, and other useful storage, that it is a wonder that more sports don't adopt some Cycling jersey Properties. When not on watch, trimming and steering the boat, there is some downtime, and listening to music, audio books, reading and flipping through aging sailing mags, is some of the fun you can count on. In fact any collection of lit, will soon be re-read until every advertisement, and camera angle has been memorized.
If you are racing the ocean in the ARC from Northwest Africa to the Leeward Islands, then you can count upon no peace, but for lack of wind, when all the time in the world may seem to present itself at once. At this point, sailing is a bit like babysitting, and as long as the baby sleeps you have nothing to do. If the baby slept and you had a bike trainer you could make up some time, and stay in shape... So flipping through sailing performance magazines sheds a light upon some similarities between the two sports. One is Carbon. Carbon is everywhere. In fact there is so much carbon, Vectran, Spectra, Dyneema, and the like in performance sailing, that you would think that there isn't enough left for Indy-Car, nor Aerospace.
What I saw in sail magazines (not unlike Rouleur) was the absolute bleeding edge introduced into a sport where the majority of the boat owners, and Not (necessarily) their sailors or captains seem to have unlimited means. That said, many of those who buy into sailing and boats operate under a delusion that things just always cost that much, and have less concern that the sport of owning and maintaining a boat is destined to dry your bank account. If this sounds familiar to the passionate cyclist, then read on...
The costs for even a dinky Lazer sailboat is high when compared to a canoe, or Lund Fishing Row Boat., But Sailing is thus analogous to cycling that the sportsman will always see some merit in the next innovation, and buy it, or yearn to own it, forgetting some major core needs like food and health-care.
Looking at the Really deep pockets from sponsors such as Land Rover, AMD, and Oracle, the America's cup boats don't actually look much like boats, and they don't "really" sail but they do fly upon the water. Anyway, now you know what's up, and if you don't, then here is the best (Sailing) advice anyone can give; "If it floats, flies or fucks, then... rent it."
Now back to the Bicycling crossover. If the wind stops, and you are on a sailboat, then the baby is sleeping, and you may get bored, and consider how much you miss riding your bike. At this point you may stray into a daydream about a rig on the boat where you could ride your trainer, and even create some watts to charge your gadget, and watch a VR version of yourself pass your boat through the blue ocean. You may have seen an under-desk bike trainer with a resistance dial and mileage counter, and contemplate why you hadn't thought to pack one, or further extrapolate the merits of such a device attached to the boat in such a way that you and could save the race by gearing the bike to the prop, and push forward, under your leg-power.
If you had Big Money sponsors, such as America's Cup, then you are in a constant battle for the Mine's Bigger award, and your funders expend countless resources to show off their splendid wealth with these edgy sail machines, exploring innovative morphology, to leap ahead of the competition. The Latest innovation to the bleeding edge, is to optimize human power on the boats by adding Pro Cyclists to the mix. How does this even work, you ask, well I'll explain, and perhaps you can get your resume in with a new sailing-cycling team. Imagine that you are using your trainer in your pain cave, but instead of powering your toaster you are powering a foil, wing, or impeller to make a boat go faster. Imagine that you had your Zwift aligned in a Tandem, Triple, Quad, or Quintuple Tandem to cascade your work with other's to contribute to the sport. Because you really don't know points of sail and sail trim, but do like the water, you may need to work hard to catch-up, as sailing is not easy. As you read this however, there is a new niche for a savvy cyclist sailor. And... You are welcome, because there may be a job waiting for you in this sport after all, if you can hack it.
Although first you would need to learn to sail, really really well.
Introducing Emirates Team New Zealand, and the new normal at the bleeding edge of what's possible in Sailing with Bikes. One may only need to traverse an ocean with a sailboat once in their lifetime, but it is good to know that perhaps in the near term, as the wind dies, there may be a pedal assist to prevent a complete doldrum, and dead calm which would force you to read sailing magazines. Just the same, (for those not yet baptized in the sailing world), you may be thrilled to know that if your bike only floated you could likely beat the best sailors across the ocean, using your quads, without ever flying a sail, provided you had enough to eat and drink. ...The average mono-hull sailing speeds are actually slower than your group-ride.
If you follow extreme sports you may not ever see America's Cup on the same channel, but don't be fooled by their lack of inclusion -- Every America's Cup Sailor is likely in better shape than you are, and likely a bit more fearless. You will need to be in top shape for daddy to hand over the keys to his One-Hundred-fifty Million Dollar Boat.
Oh by the way... Sailing across the ocean is a bit like running/cycling the same distance, only the hissing heaving ocean below, hates you.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.