Oct 13, 2011, 10:39 AM
Post #4 of 5
From Mal Emerson:
Re: [The Publisher] HIGH-TECH WILL NOT THE AMERICA'S CUP MAKE
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Bill's column in WindCheck was just another example of much of sailing media's bias against the new format of the America's Cup. He was actually happy to report that his former denigration of the Cup is still true today. If he were giving the Cup the least bit of credit, he would have been sad to say that. His article continued down from there.
Stan Honey's efforts don't have anything whatsoever to do with video games. Technology certainly will not the America's Cup make. It will, however, make it more easily understood by the non sailor and, I would contend, the non racer as well. Just as the sticks weren't visible across the field, the boundaries, wind, etc. lines weren't in the America's Cup. Stan's efforts have made following the race accessible to a greater number of fans. How does that detract from the Cup?
While Stan's efforts might indeed "not work" according to Bill, The relative speeds he reports can as easily be expressed in another way. It's all relative. The average driver is familiar with 70 or so mph so the 200 or so that NASCAR produces becomes exciting. So 3 times the familiar speed is exciting. The average sailor sees maybe 8 kts on a good day. Even the IACC boats were lucky to see 10. Using Bill's numbers a factor of three between the average sailor and the AC 45 is even easier to reach than between the average driver and NASCAR.
While match racing cats is indeed a bit different than mono hulls, there have been dial ups and tacking duels. It's the narrow sailor that only has an interest in those maneuvers. The new format has opened up all sorts of new match racing tactics while detracting very little from the old ones. When one has had an interest in only slower displacement hull match racing, the AC 45 takes some getting used to. Mistakes are more costly, the effect of wind variations in different parts of the course is magnified, tacks are as fast but much more costly in terms of distance lost, boundaries add complications not seen before and so forth. If mono hull sailors watch it critically, they will learn those intricacies that will more than replace the excitement of two boats in a protracted dial up or a 20 tack tacking duel with no change in the lead. Passing opportunities are far more common in the AC 45 than they were in any of the AC boats of the past.
Bill needs to do a little study in the history of the Cup. Contentious sorts, disagreements, huge egos, accusations of cheating is correct, maybe even an understatement but played on a smaller stage is not. Even Wiki has an illustration of the cover of Time with no less than Harold Vanderbuilt at the helm on its cover. Sir Lipton virtually built his tea empire in the States due to his popularity in the mainstream media. His good sportsmanship and tenacity in competing for the Cup practically made him a national hero here in the States. The stage must have been huge. Many would say that the public lost interest not only because of a loss of national identity but also because the contest was somewhat dumbed down after the war with the little 12's. We sailors enjoyed it but there wasn't near the drama on or off the water.
It sounds like Bill has a disdain for the rich that seems more and more common these days. The pinnacle of most sports is a rich man's game, particularly if high tech equipment is involved . It's the only way it would happen. The public knows that and even negative publicity such as that seen in AC 33, is publicity.
Specific criticism is good for the sport but the general animosity seen in some of the ....... okay Bill, Flintstone, sailing writers is regrettable and only hurts our sport and any chance it has to gain the fan base and interest it deserves. I visited the New York Yacht Club's trophy room some years ago and didn't see Cliff's head in the case that formerly housed the Cup. Mr. Robertson's demise is indeed real but I hope Bill's repeated eulogies to the Cup are, as S L Clemens once said ...... greatly exaggerated.