On Tuesday evening, a special impromptu visit was arranged for our students by our new nautical science teacher, Ali Mitchell. Sailors and STEM enthusiasts were in for a treat.
Mitchell called on a connection who knew a member of the design team at American Magic, one of the challengers for the 2021 America’s Cup, the oldest sailing competition in the world. Will Lesh, who makes the model sailboat kits that our students build in practical boat design class, had told Mitchell about his daughter’s work with American Magic. Mitchell was thrilled when Robyn Lesh answered her request to present to our students about their latest design.
Lesh, a recent graduate of MIT, is part of the design team creating the 75-foot foiling monohull (AC75) they are building to compete for the Cup. Her role is to ensure that the ultimate design adheres to the weight requirements in the rulebook. Describing the iterative design process and the technologies they use to make the boat as light and strong as possible was both fascinating and approachable as she described pieces and fasteners she created on a 3D printer, a tool many Tabor students are familiar with. Talking about drag and heel angles, wind speeds and displacement showed what a scientific process it is to design and build a boat, never mind one that “flys!” Robyn further described the challenge of building something to compete when they don’t know all the rules, conditions, or how they measure up against the competition. The effort is a technology lover’s dream, with hundreds of millions of dollars poured into the best ideas for making a sailboat move as fast as possible given the rules laid down by the defending club.
Showing some pretty cool drone video of the first of their two boats called Defiant ripping across Narragansett Bay on its foiling technology helped convey the excitement of this process. Lesh said a big part of the goal of their team, American Magic, is to bring America back into the America’s Cup. They hope their engagement with young sailors will spark more interest in the sport and in the yacht design professions.
It is fitting and exciting that the New York Yacht Club is posing this challenge as the club was the last American team to win the Cup after having successfully defended the cup over a period of 132 years until losing it to Australia in 1983. We wish them luck and hope they can bring the America’s Cup back home!
Students will have a sleep in while the faculty meets this morning. Day students are welcome to come at the usual time for breakfast, if they want. Classes will meet through the afternoon and there will be no co-curricular activities.
Please join John Quirk, Head of School and hosts Mr. and Mrs. Lee Pokoik '63 GP '23 for a cruising reception aboard the Marina Jack II 2 Marina Plaza Sarasota 2:00pm. - 4:00pm (boarding promptly at 1:45pm)
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