Supercrews Replaced by Hydraulics and Battery
APRIL FOOLS’ DAY – THIS IS A JOKE
Following a long class tradition of taking the latest America’s Cup technology and improving on it, the Snipe Class recently announced that it will be replacing all crews with hydraulics and a single lithium battery, beginning in early 2022. Originally this improvement was scheduled for 2021, but too many skippers complained that they needed more time to figure out everything the crews currently do.
“Hydraulics are the future,” Micky Costa claimed, from his supersecret COVID hideout (Palma? Valencia?). Costa managed to score all the parts he needed from a pile of superyacht leftovers (see photo), so cost wasn’t a concern—but he isn’t completely sure this new rule will actually be good for his own sailing. “I’ve ‘borrowed’ a sliding seat from an International Canoe to move the battery side to side, but still I’m going to have to hike even harder than when I sail with Martha [Parker]. I’m not sure the rules committee really thought this one through.”
Across the pond, boatbuilder Andrew Pimental is concerned about the global supply chain. “I didn’t order enough hydraulic lines before that big boat ran aground,” he admitted, when our reporting team tracked him down at his usual location—lockdown or no lockdown. He’s halfway through rigging a prototype, and it’s a lot more complicated than he expected. “I figured out how to hook up foot pedals, so we don’t have to cleat off the mainsheet or stick the tiller extension under our butt every time we want to adjust the jib sheet. But if I rig a separate hydraulic for each control line, I’m not sure they’ll all fit inside the boat. And lithium batteries cost way more than lead. Buying crew dinners is starting to look like a pretty good deal.”
Peter Commette’s garage door has been locked shut for weeks, and even Connie is not allowed to see the modifications that will attempt to replace her. “Oh well, more time for painting!” she said, before adding a prediction of her own: “It’ll never work—batteries can’t anticipate what the boat needs. I’ll be back onboard by 2023.”