Paul Bieker On Some of His Oracle Design Projects

Matthew Sheahan on Yachting World pointed out the following on Paul Bieker’s blog which helps support his earlier post on speed improvements made to the Oracle. Bieker has a number connections to local boats including the PT15 built by the Boat School and located at the Maritime Center.

Team_OracleFrom Bieker Boats blog

It was an epic battle on San Francisco Bay – ending in an eight race Oracle Team USA winning streak to win the Cup after being down 8-1 in a first to 9 event.  It was a hard won regatta – both on the water and in the shop.

The experience of being in a team that “gutted” its way through from almost sure failure to success was a great learning experience.  The Team improved the speed of the boat enough to achieve dominance through changes in sailing technique, wing trim, and hull/appendage modifications.  It is a lesson in the strengths of a diverse team that stays loose and is willing to make changes and take risks. The AC72 foils that we engineered for Oracle Team USA are the most highly stressed parts that Bieker Boats has designed.

A few of our projects:
Interceptor ramps on the hull sterns to increase lift on the aft section of the boat during maneuvers and upwind “skimming”:


Rudder/hydrofoil intersection cavitation fairings to reduce total rudder drag by approximately 30kgf at higher speeds:

Oraclerudder1 Oraclerudder2

By |2013-10-04T18:25:19-07:00October 9th, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

America’s Cup: What was Changed on Oracle

How Oracle turned their boat into the rocket ship that won the 34th America’s Cup

Photo by Jan Pehrson

Photo by Jan Pehrson

Post by Matthew Sheahan on Yachting World

Having remained in San Francisco for a few days after the end of the event, I got to speak to a number of people about what was really going on. It didn’t take long for the real picture of what was behind the speed improvements to emerge.

Oracle’s jump in performance half way through the America’s Cup is still the subject of hot debate, particularly among the New Zealand press who are convinced that the black cat had some special device that allowed them to foil more effectively. Was the ‘Herbie’, as it became nicknamed, legal? Would Team New Zealand take legal action?

The speculation should have been brought to a halt after team boss Grant Dalton confirmed on Saturday that the team would not be taking legal action over the alleged device. But the chatter still goes on.

Oracle’s two boats were very different in their handling characteristics, indeed so much so that they were nicknamed by the crews, ‘the wife’ and ‘the mistress’, the latter being boat number one, the more lively, wayward boat. Modified extensively after the big crash in October, the mistress, which was the boat Ben Ainslie helmed during two boat training, was twitchy and difficult to keep under control. (Incidentally, I’m told that Ben’s full-on attitude towards helming the mistress often gave her crew the jitters.)

Post continues here

By |2013-10-04T17:01:20-07:00October 8th, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

PT’s Chris Sitzenstock, Two-Time Cup Winning Team Member

From the Port Townsend Leader.

Annie and Chris Sitzenstrock, both PTHS graduates. Photo courtesy of Annie Sitzenstock from the PT Leader

Annie and Chris Sitzenstock, both PTHS graduates. Photo courtesy of Annie Sitzenstock from the PT Leader

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 5:00 am

Port Townsend played a role in last week’s stunningly successful defense of the 34th America’s Cup sailboat race for the oldest trophy in the history of sports.

Chris Sitzenstock, Port Townsend High School Class of 1996, is now a two-time America’s Cup winner with Oracle Team USA. A number of Port Townsend marine trade businesses and individuals also have been connected in some way or another.

“Don’t underestimate the influence of Port Townsend,” said Sitzenstock, who lives in California with his wife, Annie Saran, PTHS Class of 1996; they are expecting a second child later this year.

“Our team works with local businesses and individuals” in Port Townsend, said Sitzenstock.

He named Brandon Davis at Turn Point Design, Bill Juran at Marketech International, David King and Paul Zeusche at Townsend Bay Marine, with moral support from Russell Brown at PT Watercraft, lumber from Ted Pike and Edensaw Woods, and Dan Newland and Pegasus Aeromarine, located at the PT Business Park.


Sitzenstock started out in the marine trades like many people in Port Townsend: building a small boat in a garage. Chris and his father, David, built several.

“From there, it came to learning to sail with local boating legend and former PTHS teacher Ed Barcott on Port Townsend Bay,” Sitzenstock told the Leader of the man with a speedy sailboat called Pacemaker.

“Between the culture of marine trades and local sailing scene, Port Townsend provided an ideal location to instill a passion in sailing and boatbuilding.”

story continues here

By |2013-10-02T15:25:10-07:00October 2nd, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

Oracle Down 2 Races Before America’s Cup Starts


By of the NY Times, Published: September 3, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle Team USA will begin defense of the America’s Cup on Saturday with a two-race deficit after being penalized for prohibited modifications to its racing yachts in 2012.

Oracle will begin the best-of-17 event with a score of minus 2. To capture the America’s Cup, Oracle will have to win 11 races. The challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand, will need to win nine.

A five-member jury of the International Sailing Federation also barred a veteran Oracle sailor, the wing trimmer Dirk de Ridder, and two shore team members from the race. Another team member was suspended for the first four races. The team was also fined $250,000.


By |2013-09-03T17:47:12-07:00September 3rd, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

AC Idea, It’s Not Too Late to Switch to Moore 24’s

Former Bay Area Express 27 sailor Larry Fisher sent this along with a note saying, ” My feelings exactly. Of course I would have suggested Express 27’s!” From In the Present Sea.

It's not too late to switch to a more compelling boat and save this Cup.

It’s not too late to switch to a more compelling boat and save this Cup.

Evanston:  GANNET Wins America’s Cup

By chance Saturday afternoon I happened across television coverage of the first race of the challenger finals for the America’s Cup.  I deliberately don’t say ‘live’ coverage, because it was mostly dead.

How you can spend a hundred million dollars, have a team the size of a small army, and breakdown before the start of the first race is unfathomable.  (Choice of word deliberate.) As is how anyone can delude themselves that sailing is going to interest the general public when starts are delayed because there is ‘too much wind’, defined variously by the breathless commentators as being

19 or 21 knots.

I bought my first boat and taught myself how to sail on San Francisco Bay.  That was almost fifty years ago, but I still sort of remember that it was windy.  I think this debacle is going to take a long, long time before coming to a merciful end.


By |2013-08-19T12:51:05-07:00August 19th, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

New Zealand Protest Could Affect the America’s Cup…Forever

Published on July 1st, 2013 in Scuttlebutt | by Editor

With so much promise, so much build-up, so desperate a desire to put the America’s Cup on a stage where it can draw unprecedented interest, the last thing the organizers want to hear is bad news.  With the start on July 7, it must now be all about good news.

But the news is not all good.

Scuttlebutt’s legal analyst Cory E. Friedman has prepared a detailed tour of the facts which have led to the current Emirates Team New Zealand protest that could change the face of the America’s Cup forever…

“What a thing was this, too, which that mighty man wrought and endured in the carven horse, wherein all we chiefs of the Argives were sitting, bearing to the Trojans death and fate!” – Homer, Odyssey 4.271.

“It’s not cheating if you get away with it.” – Anon.

Make no mistake about it, the protest by ETNZ and Luna Rossa against the AC72 Class Rules changes mandating elevators (rudder trim tabs) recently imposed by Regatta Director Iain Murray is far from “minutia” and may be the most consequential in the history of the Cup as it affects not just one race but will almost certainly have a substantial if not deciding impact on the outcome of AC 34 itself.

As Artemis’ Tom Schnackenberg was recently quoted: “The [class] rule looked like it was conspiring against foiling, but it turns out the way it has been interpreted, you can.” The primary intentional impediment to foiling in the Class Rule was the ban on trim tabs (elevators) on the rudders. Murray has mandated them.

The first to figure out how to foil with sustained stability without elevators was ETNZ (and Luna Rossa which bought ETNZ’s design package). Indeed ETNZ has succeeded in perfecting the foil to foil jibe, the sailing equivalent of breaking the sound barrier. In contrast, while Oracle has been foiling around the Bay, it turns out it has been using elevators the class measurer twice ruled violated the Class Rule. Oracle has not demonstrated sustained stability without the heretofore banned elevators.

However, with the banned elevators, Oracle, which does not have the fuller bows, rigidity and more complex board control mechanisms ETNZ and Luna Rossa adopted to foil within the Class Rule, has significant aerodynamic and other speed advantages and may very well win the Cup, while without the elevators ETNZ or Luna Rossa are more likely to win.

Moreover, the rule change will have a substantial impact on future Cups. If one way or another the defender can obtain a decisively favorable Class Rule change at the last moment, it becomes hard to imagine how anyone will invest even half the approximately $100 million dollars challenging teams have invested in this Cup campaign. In retrospect, if this is the way it works, the New York Yacht Club, much criticized for high handedness, was negligent when it lost in 1983. It should have just jimmied the rules to ban Australia’s winged keel on some basis or other.

Story continues here

By |2013-07-01T21:08:20-07:00July 1st, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

Oracle Racing Resumes Flight Tests


click for large image

Meanwhile, back on the other bay (San Francisco), Oracle Racing, after a spectacular crash of their Cup boat #1 that ended with it drifting under the Golden Gate and out into the Pacific, managed to do a six-month repair job in three and one-half months and relaunched.

She’s back out testing with a couple of noticeable differences: beefier cross beams and less twist in the hulls, deeper rudders, cockpits for the the grinders and helmsman, and two bright red wheels. Having to steer the boat with what looked like a very expensive tiller extension has been suggested as one of the possible reasons Spithill was unable to pull off the bear away that resulted in wreckage. The boats are cool, the gossip is entertaining, and the setting is spectacular. It’s just everything else that is problematic.

Click the above image for a way too large version of this pic.

By |2013-02-11T20:11:04-08:00February 13th, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments