TWM Takes The Wind Out Of ACC Sails... FOUR times!
The real "Black Magic" of the America's Cup
Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
Weather trials were held in the Hauraki Gulf during the Louis Vuitton Cup series of 1999 to test the ability to modify wind strength and direction in a small race area of a few square kilometres. Weather modification (WM) at that level of precision had not been attempted before. The preliminary results would determine whether or not TWM would go on to participate in the America's Cup events.

The results were encouraging. A proposal was faxed to Prada and Team NZ offering to enhance either team's ability to win the Finals but neither syndicate accepted the offer. The idea of generating favourable wind shifts may have been too radical | risky to be considered at that late stage.

TWM adopted another strategy. To demonstrate that its claims were well-founded, messages were faxed to both teams announcing that an attempt would be made to achieve five cancellations on the official race days. These would be the equivalent of five wins required by either team to be able to claim the trophy. Copies were also faxed to the news teams of TV1 and TV3 at the same time. Later, on 27 February, copies of all messages were emailed to the America's Cup Challenge Association and Louis Vuitton Media Centre.

By 29 February, FOUR cancellations had been accumulated to Team NZ's three wins.(Dates of cancelled races: February 19, 24, 27, 29)

Despite limited resources and preparation time, TWM succeeded where all other challengers had failed. 80% of its intended goal for the Finals had been achieved before a business commitment out of Auckland required the project to be terminated. The next race would have made it five cancellations. The email of 27 February to the ACC Association may have influenced race officials to change 01 March from a lay day to a race day. Team NZ won the next two races and rewrote history.

But the real epoch-making event in the annals of this yachting extravaganza was that Indigenous weather modification determined when and how it would progress. The campaign was unprecedented and was intended to demonstrate to the world media and yachting enthusiasts a simple but powerful reality. Whoever "controls" the weather controls the race... and everything associated with it. Frustrating for competitors and visitors perhaps, but for the Auckland business community the delays were very profitable.

Implications and applications arising from the TWM Challenge

  • Remote WM is a fact - TWM was not physically present at the race area. Most events were monitored via internet, radio, or televised coverage at a location more than 20 kms distance from the race area.
  • Precise local area modified weather events are achievable and repeatable. The objective was to keep winds out of the 5 - 20 knot range during each race for about four hours or until cancellation was announced.
  • Large and small-scale WM can be performed simultaneously.
  • Technologies for improving boat performance are secondary to WM. Any slight advantage gained in boat technology can easily be lost by unexpected wind shifts. Wind determines success or failure for competitors, and race or no race for organizers. TWM has considerable influence in both respects.
All things being equal, a challenger employing TWM technology and expertise will win the 2003 series. Unpredictable wind conditions made the last series a nightmare, as Young America discovered. The solution is to modify wind shifts in the race area. There are no ACC rules against changing the weather. It happens nearly every day in Auckland. This, of course, makes sustained WM very difficult and the above achievement even more remarkable.
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Race details 2002-03: Official America's Cup Website.
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Last modified: 15 March 2000