Olympic Laser champion Tom Slingsby is loving his work at Oracle Team USA as they prepare to defend the America's Cup. I spoke with Tom this afternoon and he was looking extremely satisifed after a marathon session of two-boat testing.
Tom's role on the boat has changed from his initial tactician's job to the more pysically demanding strategist position. As well as calling the race course for the tactician and skipper, Tom is responsible for the foiling rudders.
Following this week's protests by ETNZ and Luna Rossa against Regatta Director Iain Murray's decision to increase the area of the rudders and include djustable tips, Oracle asked Tom to appear in a video to clarify a lot of the images.
You can view Tom's interesting and instructional take on the subject here.
Further to Iain Murray's comments about the new rules this morning, where he angrily rejected suggestions from ETNZ and Luna Rossa that the new rules are designed to give Oracle an advantage, Oracle CEO Russell Coutts entertained journalists this afternoon with his take on the subject.
Ever the showman, Coutts jumped up and down on the foil of the rudder and used analogies with the foiling Moth to explain why the debate about the rule change is a storm in a teacup.
"Rudders won't win this Cup," he said. "It's the boats and the crews that will win it, and right now I'm very happy with where we are."
Coutts said that regardless of the decision of the International Jury on Monday, Oracle was ready to race with whatever rudder configuration was ruled legal.
- Roger McMillan in San Francisco
The gaff rigged, square topsail schooner is "crewed by a colourful pirate crew in period costumes complete with cutlasses and flintlock pistols."