Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Playing out of position

We've already told you that the RC 44 class rules make for some unusual on board roles at times, like Jimmy Spithill sailing as grinder during the fleet races. 

The class rules also call for a large amateur component in the crew of each boat for both match and fleet racing, which gives an opportunity for a few lucky amateur sailors to jump on board with the best in the world.

Design team member Kevin Borrows falls into that category. A mechanical engineer by trade, Borrows was on the design team for the trimaran project in the last Cup, but in Austria, he finds himself trimming on Spithill's boat.

"I have a bit of down time with it being fairly slow in design world right now and Jimmy flicked me an email about a month back asking if i'd be available to come to Austria… I didn't have to think about it very much!"

In the last Cup, Borrows worked on aero analysis with the design team, looking at the stability of the sails across the wind range and providing an interface between the sail designers and the rig designers.

Here in Austria, he's trimming sails with some of the best match racers in the world.

"First of all, it's just great to be sailing! Jimmy, JK and Joey (Newton), those guys are consummate professionals so it's easy to learn. The match racing was really fun. I haven't done a lot of match racing before, so it's great to get on board and see how the best in the world do it.

"They're realistic. They know that they've got four pros and the rest of us are amateurs as well as being a new team. So getting it right is hard straight off the bat. But they're good, they want to share what they know and they're not condescending at all. It's been a really great learning experience. I'd love to do more of it - it's great fun."

Borrows and his RC 44 Challenge team head into the final day of fleet racing on equal points with their rivals on BMW ORACLE Racing at the top of the leaderboard.