SENSES OF AWE

Sailing World - - Contents - BY DAVE REED PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDER VAN DER BORCH

Artemis Rac­ing helms­man Nathan Out­teridge shares his AC50 re­al­ity.

Artemis Rac­ing trim­mer and grinder Luke Parkin­son puts a hose to the team’s AC45 train­ing boat in Ber­muda, en­joy­ing a tran­quil mo­ment af­ter an in­tense day of sail­ing.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of sail­ing a foil­ing Amer­ica’s Cup cata­ma­ran is one of unadul­ter­ated sen­sory over­load. Even be­fore wind power pres­sures the tow­er­ing wing, synapses are fir­ing as the sailors’ minds be­gin pro­cess­ing the touch, sight, taste, smell and sounds of ev­ery­day Cup life. “In­side our noise-can­cel­ing head­sets, the chat­ter is con­stant, but pull them away, and the noise is deaf­en­ing,” says Artemis Rac­ing helms­man Nathan Out­teridge. “When there’s 30 knots of boat­speed up­wind, in more than 20 knots of breeze, we’re talk­ing 50 to 60 knots of ap­par­ent wind com­ing across the boat. That’s like stick­ing your head out the car win­dow go­ing down the mo­tor­way while try­ing to have a con­ver­sa­tion with ev­ery­one.” And what of the other senses? Out­teridge takes us along for the ride.

Saline Rinse The hull drops like a run­away el­e­va­tor, lands with a thud, and ex­plodes the sur­face into a sheath of wa­ter droplets, big and fine. Salt wa­ter drips from hel­mets and cheeks, snaking its way to lips, a bit­ter cock­tail of sodium chlo­ride, per­spi

Touch and Go Reach for the shroud, tar­get your path to the far cock­pit. Go for it. The net­ting gives un­der­weight as your first foot plants. A push-off springs you for­ward on a cal­cu­lated sprint across a mov­ing car­pet. Agility, speed and an aware­ness of wh

Lu­cid Vi­sion Eyes flick, scan­ning near and far. To in­stru­ment pan­els in the cock­pit, on the wing, and on the wrist. There are dig­its, bar charts and LED lights. Lock in on the lee­ward bow, only a me­ter of it be­neath the front beam. How far is that bow out

Noise Ma­chine Wind buf­fets the boat. Foils slice through the wa­ter with deaf­en­ing high-pitched squeals. Foam siz­zles from the dag­ger­board, and the wake pum­mels the rud­der. When their wakes in­ter­sect, there’s a roar you can feel in the wheel. Down­wind is q

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