Red and Blue: Different ways to skin a cat
Posted on 14 August 2012
There is a always a difference of opinion amongst challengers, defenders and the sailing community in general on how best to win the America’s cup. In fact I suspect the debate goes on within each team.
In the Blue corner are those who see an America’s Cup campaign as an academic challenge..… almost like a science project.
Blue corner residents are very clinical in their approach. Do this and that’s the result. How do they know? Because the best science, in our case the best software tools available, tells them so.
In the Red corner are the guys who think nothing is as straight forward as that. They believe sailing/racing skill is the key to winning the Cup.
The Blue corner insists the fastest boat will win the America’s Cup. While history does not back up that statement completely, a fast boat is essential.
The Blue corner believes the switch to catamarans for 2013 strengthens their position. The pendulum swings away from the sailing side to the design side every time the America’s Cup changes the type of boat.
It’s not one group versus the other as designers and engineers can be in Red corner and a lot of sailors can be in the Blue camp. It is more of an outlook in how best to win the Cup.
The Red corner’s world is far from clinical. There are few tools that anyone would trust. Trial and error are still the way to learn. Hours on the water, practicing starts and tactical situations – and racing. Anything and everything to make a team match fit.
Write a play book: when your competition does this, your defence is this. Moves and counter moves. The problem is real life almost never mirrors the playbook.
Real life is always a variation of what has been planned. Success is based on connecting the dots and blending two or three moves that are related into one game-changing move on the water.
As the Red corner points out, this can be done only by practice, practice and practice.
There is simply not enough time or money to be all things to all people, in other words: you can’t be dedicated to both camps at the same time. Each team needs to set its focus where it thinks best.
It is easy to get swept up in the Blue way of thinking. It’s more of a black and white world, where all intangibles’ of racing can make the Red corner appear grey.
As a coach it’s always is a concern how many are in that Blue corner. And how few in the Red.
I almost hope the blue corner prevails. Life would be so much easier if you only had to sail and deliver the boat around the course…..without having to outwit the competition on the day.
Time will tell.