Scuttlebutt Website SCUTTLEBUTT
SAILING NEWS
ForumIndex CLASSIFIED ADS Search Posts SEARCH
POSTS
Who's Online WHO'S
ONLINE
Log in LOG IN         

Forum Index: .: Dock Talk:
34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it?
Team McLube

 



The Publisher
*****


Sep 3, 2012, 8:08 AM

Post #1 of 14 (27585 views)
Shortcut
34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? Log-In to Post/Reply

CROSS PROMOTION
It hit us like a sledge hammer during the 2008 Olympics. As favorites for
the 470 Men's gold medal, Aussies Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page announced
the naming of their 470. And then the Internet blew up.

Apparently, Wilmot and Page name all their boats after Academy Award
winning actor Nicole Kidman's films. When they named their Olympic boat
Dead Calm, it drew a response from Kidman, and this connection of celebrity
and sailing led to more stories about sailing in non-sailing publications
than we had ever seen before. Cross promotion had arrived.

Fast forward to now, the AC World Series last week got a giant gift when
Olympic gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson fell off the back of Oracle
Team USA's AC45 during a race. News of this splash instantly flooded
countless non-sailing websites. And Red Bull's sponsorship of the American
team is proving to expose the America's Cup "brand" to its action sports
audience.

American professional snowboarder Travis Rice, who managed to stay onboard
the American boat during a race last week, spoke to ESPN about the
experience. Here are a few excerpts that he shared with this non-sailing
demographic:

"I've always been a little wonderstruck by the act of sailing and the
adventure that comes with it. You travel completely sustained by trade
winds. It's pretty insane, if you think about it. I mean, look at all the
ways we get around on land. It used to be horses, and you could go
anywhere. Once our culture came away from horses and paved roads all over
the planet, then we became limited to roads."

"We're living in a world where it's hard to do dumb s---. What's amazing to
me about sailing is how boundless it is. You're not protected by this
safety net of stoplights and safety features. You're truly at the mercy of
your own decisions, and if you're an idiot you're going to get smacked."

"This new style of sailing is amazing. It's like F1 racing. I think it's
really going to change the demographic, to take it from this frumpy old
man's sport to something that people are way more interested in watching.
They're basically turning it into an "action sport," because new boats go
over 30 knots. I mean they haul ass, and they flip all the time."

Complete story: http://tinyurl.com/ESPN-082912

CONCERN: After the hangover healed from the excitement of the AC World
Series last week in San Francisco, the sobering reality of the America's
Cup challenger series looms large. With only four challengers, which may be
reduced to three teams if Korea can't find additional funding, will there
be sufficient fan interest to financially support the 44-day Louis Vuitton
Cup? "I guess it's going to be intriguing to see how much the (fan)
following is on these boats," regatta director Iain Murray said. "If one
boat is dominating, it's probably going to be tough." Read more:
http://tinyurl.com/SFC-082912


The Publisher
*****


Sep 3, 2012, 8:08 AM

Post #2 of 14 (27582 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Australian Will Baillieu was on the handles in 1983 when Australia II won the America's Cup, breaking the longest-running winning streak in the history of sport (132 years). What Will remembers is what the event was, and has concerns about what the event now is. Read on...
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A quote from professional snowboarder Travis Rice:
"We're living in a world where it's hard to do dumb s---. What's amazing to me about sailing is how boundless it is. You're not protected by this safety net of stoplights and safety features. You're truly at the mercy of your own decisions, and if you're an idiot you're going to get smacked."

Like...Wow! The real value of "Cross Promotion" has never been more apparent. Travis has enlightened us with this account of his experience aboard an AC45. I am sure we are all grateful that the event got his attention at all. Travis assures us that this style of racing will take sailing "...from this frumpy old man's sport to something that people are way more interested in watching." Like...even people of his generation might be interested in it!

Well, why stop there Travis?

Why not include a Vegas Pool Party leg in the next AC event? At least on the AC45s there is room on deck for Prince Harry, a snooker table and a few naked ladies. Or, possibly tequila shots and laybacks during the downwind legs? Anything to make this event more watchable for Gen Y.

We don't want their attention to stray, and we certainly don't want any of those frumpy old men to have anything to do with it.

Maybe we could introduce an element of Big Brother to America's Cup; put a crew of complete strangers on each boat and just see what happens as they race the AC series. How about "Survivor - America's Cup"? We could lay mines on the course. Exploding boats would make great television; audience numbers would be huge.

What Travis seems to have overlooked is that America's Cup is a match race, with a very long history; the very pinnacle of sailing.

Boat on boat, tactical racing, involving rapid and complicated decision making, much of it subtle. It is about high performance, low tolerance, up close racing, between two boats. AC boats have been traditionally sailed by very fit, young athletes with marvelous skills. "Frumpy old men" are required to fund them, as they still are now.

The history of the event and the subtleties of match racing may be lost on Travis Rice and others of his demographic, but surely not to just about anyone else.

Does the event really need to compete for audiences with tacky TV reality shows? Does it really need these Christmas Cracker boats? Fast boats might add an extra element in the potential for catastrophic failure, but they make for poor match racing. The last AC Deed of Gift "match" was surely testament to that.

The lack of challenger syndicates for the 34th AC is a worrying sign, but it's not for any lack of bells and whistles.

The dressing up of the America's Cup for uninformed TV audiences with notoriously low attention spans, has cheapened the event and turned it into just another reality TV spectacle. This is a genre that has been almost done to death already. Inevitably it will be consigned to the TV wastebasket, when people get bored and change channels.

And where will that leave America's Cup?




wetabix
**

Sep 4, 2012, 5:36 AM

Post #3 of 14 (27424 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Much of the foregoing is nonsense. In the traditional Americas cup the total number of place changes after the start over fifty or so years was very small. The total number of races won by a challenger was also quite small. Even if there were moments of excitement it was not possible for the wider sailing community to share them because of the limited media coverage. The presentation of the current competition is certainly too in your face for we fumblies, but the racing has at times been superb and not at all like reality TV. And I challenge the statement that the AC has always been a match race. it hasn't - in the earliest days the challenger took on the whole fleet from the defender's club who all cheated horribly to ensure a home town win. Since Gretel and, of course, Australia 2 things have been more interesting but the real interest has always been in the clash of personalities of the principle players, mostly off the racecourse. It is hard to see Larry Ellison and Torbjorn Tornqvist generating quite the same level of interest as Sir Thomas Lipton and the various defenders of that period.


dbs01
**

Sep 4, 2012, 8:03 AM

Post #4 of 14 (27390 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Not sure how Will Baillieu could take a nice compliment from Travis Rice and turn it into such a negative. Sailing really is one of the last sports in which you are at the mercy of the elements and your own decisions with very little in the way of safety nets - whether you're sailing an AC45 or a J105.

The America's Cup is still all about match racing. But history alone doesn't pay the bills. Times are changing and you either change with them or you risk becoming irrelevant. As a monohull racer, I admit that it took some convincing, but the excitement of the crowd in San Francisco - newbies and seasoned sailors alike - made me much more comfortable with this new Cup direction. So kudos to the attempt to keep the America's Cup moving forward. If it doesn't ultimately work, at least some new ideas were tried.


The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 11:15 AM

Post #5 of 14 (27361 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Lou Burns:
Enjoyed Bill Bailleu’s take on the modern America’s Cup, and this frumpy old man agrees with him 100%.


The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 11:35 AM

Post #6 of 14 (27359 views)
Shortcut
Re: [dbs01] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply


In Reply To
Not sure how Will Baillieu could take a nice compliment from Travis Rice and turn it into such a negative. Sailing really is one of the last sports in which you are at the mercy of the elements and your own decisions with very little in the way of safety nets - whether you're sailing an AC45 or a J105.

The America's Cup is still all about match racing. But history alone doesn't pay the bills. Times are changing and you either change with them or you risk becoming irrelevant. As a monohull racer, I admit that it took some convincing, but the excitement of the crowd in San Francisco - newbies and seasoned sailors alike - made me much more comfortable with this new Cup direction. So kudos to the attempt to keep the America's Cup moving forward. If it doesn't ultimately work, at least some new ideas were tried.



There are two realities I see with the 34th America's Cup:

1) Catamaran match racing is different than monohull match racing. Yes, it is still match racing, but match racing is about gaining control of your opponent, and then holding it to the finish. Maneuverability is a big part of controlling an opponent, and maneuvering a catamaran is often too costly. So leaders can't always cover, and passes happen. The elephant in the room is if the AC72 is too much boat, decreasing maneuvers further and switching the focus to sailing the course rather than the opponent. Kind of like golf.

2) As time marched on, eager owners/syndicates and opportunisitic team members have increased the cost to compete in the America's Cup beyond the means of nearly everyone, and rather than lose the event (and income), they have reshaped it in hopes to cover the costs. Some people love the new event, but some don't. The event is so iconic that every sailor is connected to it, and those opposed to the changes now resent it. Maybe the AC format is the future, but it does not currently resemble the present.

- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt




The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 11:38 AM

Post #7 of 14 (27357 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Mal Emerson:
For the first two paragraphs I thought Will was going to actually tout the fact that sailing might just catch on with the next generation; in part because of no less than The America's Cup. I was impressed. Little did I know he would soon fall into the same denigrating line of sarcasm that has divided generations for generations. The same train of closed mindedness that confirms Travis' perception of sailing as a frumpy, maybe even grumpy, old man's sport.

I'll bet more people watched, live, the last day of the America's Cup World Series in San Francisco than all the past America's Cup races in history ..... combined, and it wasn't even racing for The Cup.

The Cup is still a match race with a long history. Don't you think the winningest skipper in America's Cup history knows that? Technical innovations have always been an important part of The Cup. One team even kept a new and wonderful form of keel hidden from the public under, of all things, a skirt, until after the last race. No one would build a plastic boat unless they wanted to cheat and on and on. Innovation is one of the underpinnings of the America's Cup. Innovation is what made the America's Cup the pinnacle of sailing. It had a bit of a respite in the 12's and the IACC boats but it's back to it's roots with the new boats. The "J's" were something never before seen; the AC72 will be the same.

What little of the nuances of match racing may have been sacrificed have been more than made up for in other match racing challenges involved in sailing the AC 45 in this format and it's not even the main event.

The DoG matches of 1988 and 2010 were an aberration, a catharsis that spawned the IACC in '88 and the AC 72 in '10. The DoG likely advanced The Cup on those occasions and maybe even saved it. The IACC was hailed as a leap forward and It's possible the '72 will be the same if us old guys can stand the jump.

The number of challengers is indeed disappointing, Will, but how many were there, average, in all the America's Cup matches? There were only 7 in 1983 and that match was in a relatively cheap, simple, little boat. You speak of the history of The Cup; if I'm not mistaken 1970 was the first time there even was a challenger series. That's 119 years after America first was presented the 100 "Guinea" Cup. This whole discussion proves again how many sailors it takes to change a light bulb. Three, one to change the bulb and two to talk about how great the old one was. I'm glad the AC45 got Travis' attention. Us grumpy old men are either dying off or getting so set in our ways that innovation and change threatens, maybe even scares us. Somebody has to carry on.

"Reality TV special"?! No, it's a sporting event. It may indeed be headed to the TV wastebasket just like Roller Derby but it might be, could be more like the Olympics or the Tour de France; watched, enjoyed, practiced and supported by millions. As a somewhat grumpy old man myself, I say, again, let's give it a chance.




The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 11:42 AM

Post #8 of 14 (27354 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Ed Vitrano:
"Fast boats might add an extra element in the potential for catastrophic failure, but they make for poor match racing."

I almost belly laughed when I read Will Baillieu's comments regarding multihulls in Americas Cup. Feeling a bit threatened Will? I enjoyed my time on the foredeck of an Olson 30 for years but would love to be on one of the multihull rocket ships.

I attended two days of the AC45s in San Francisco, and watched the others on TV or my computer, and became even more convinced that switching to multihulls will not just grow interest in Americas Cup, it will grow the sport of sailing in general. I heard similar comments when windsurfing gained popularity in the 80's, "Oh, it really isn't sailing!"

What made me laugh the hardest was his quote about match racing. Didn't I see three separate leads in the final between Coutts and Spithill? Haven't I seen several lead changes in just about every match race at all the venues where AC45s have competed?

No, Mr. Baillieu would rather the races be sailed out at sea where only the purists can enjoy the snail-paced 2-hour races and the start virtually determined the outcome every time.. Enjoy your future racing there Mr. Bailieu . . . hope you can find another boat to join you.




The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 11:46 AM

Post #9 of 14 (27351 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Joe Dervin:
Thank you Will Baillieu for reacting to Travis Rice's comments after his recent ride on an AC45 in SF. I read those comments with relative bemusement --- "You're truly at the mercy of your own decisions, and if you're an idiot you're going to get smacked" --- and what, that doesn't apply to snowboarding??? Then I got to the line, "to take it from this frumpy old man's sport", and thought WTF?

At age 70, the last thing I identify with is frumpy old men. My weeks during "life after work" are filled with hiking, sailing, long walks on the beach with my dog and road biking, along with travel and winery visits.

I wish I had started racing earlier, since I started sailing as a teenager, but didn't come up through a yacht club or other junior program. In any event, the summer of 1988 got me out on some boats for the Sunset Series (Calif YC, Marina del Rey, Ca) and I was immediately hooked --- at age 46. Since then, I have competed in 100's of buoy races, numerous coastal races, and a few long offshore races.

I have never competed at less than 110% in whatever position I've held on any of those boats, and have been on the winning boats in races such as North Sails Race Week (1st in class and overall regatta trophy), CYC Sunset Series (overall winner), ASMBYC Championships (PHRF A), Santa Barbara-King Harbor (PHRF A), PHRF Championships (Class B), Newport-Ensenada (overall PHRF winner) and the Transpacific Yacht Race (class and overall winner).

Travis needs to mature a bit before he ages enough to become the "frumpy old man" in his sport.

By the way Will, the rest of your thoughts about what's become of the AC are very apt. As a fan who stayed up every race night in order to watch the 1987 race off Fremantle live, I remember real AC racing. I haven't written off the 2013 Cup, but sincerely hope that it won't turn out to be something that diminishes its value even more than the last Cup competition did.




The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 11:51 AM

Post #10 of 14 (27349 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Bruce Parsons, Portugal Cove, Newfoundland:
I couldn’t agree more with Will – this will draw TV audiences of those who do not understand sailing, and leave the sailors uninterested.

I have always been impressed that advertisers would no more interrupt a football (soccer) game, or F1 race that tell their customers they don’t want their business. Now what we have is sailing that is covered in no one shot that last longer than a second, whereas anyone who sails wants a three minute view of a boat, including all the settings and discussion in the cockpit. Lots of my non sailing friends find the cat action perfect for TV. But I would have preferred that instead the sailing most of us do be covered in the same way as F1 – no breaks for commercials and access to on board settings and discussions.

I know of no other sport that spends so much time trying to get others interested in their sport, and I think we should just give that up. I have no interest in the cat racing, and I doubt I ever will – it is not sailing as done by most of us and will remain uninteresting to most of us. Here is the risk in this approach – you have lost the sailors and now are trying to attract the extreme sports enthusiast. Personally I think I know who has the longer attention span.




The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 11:57 AM

Post #11 of 14 (27347 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Lucia Nebel White, 89 year old former Star boat sailor:
Bravo...Travis Rice. You are right on the mark. The 34th America's Cup is just another reality TV spectacle. It is more like a car race or ice boat race than a yacht race. No beautiful, gracious boats to watch.

I think an exploded mine has already been laid on the course. This is the end of the beautiful boat race of history that so many people enjoyed watching. Many young people have already lost interest in this race. History will not record or give the 34th America's Cup much importance.




The Publisher
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 12:31 PM

Post #12 of 14 (27340 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Toby Cooper:
For the moment it’s all over, but the flavor of the August 2012 AC World Series lingers on. In the words of KFOX DJ Big Rick Stewart, a non-sailing rock-and-roll motorcycle buff, “It was all they said it would be and more.” It is possible that the Bay Area sailing landscape and our sailing lives will never be quite the same. And this is even before the big AC72s come to town. Here in my view, anyway, is why.

For one thing, Larry Ellison and his team understand that a key part of successful sports marketing is to make heroes out of the athletes. So they made a deal with the Giants with mutual benefits. The Giants hosted an America’s Cup Day in which the flamboyant Spithill waved to the crowd and threw the first pitch (a low-outside strike at that) and the die was cast. During the sailing week they played highlights on the Big Screen at games, screaming cats and overlaps at the finish line. As a result, tens of thousands of Giants fans now own a piece of the AC, with more to come I am sure.

It didn’t hurt that the understated Russell Coutts provided triple theater on the water. It’s all about attitude. Crash the line or crash the boat. Make the play or die trying. Ask Buster Posey. Sports fans understand this stuff.

I for one would like to thank the AC Event Authority for hiring a Sustainability Director and giving her a real set of teeth. As a result, no plastic water bottles, no “6,000 pink balloons”, and no plastic logo bow stickers peeling off in the Bay. There was more than ample exposure for sponsors on all fronts, but without the plastic trash in the Bay, on its shores, and in the Berkeley hills. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

And what about “trickle down”? For sure we are learning more about wings, Stan’s GPS-based graphics and locator systems will find their way to local and championship events, and the 72’s already have computers that can sail the boat (easy enough to legislate against but still impressive). But here is the real trickle down. This event, or series of events, is planting sailing squarely in the middle of the world class sporting landscape. Call it NASCAR on the water or extreme sports or whatever you wish. It is what Scuttlebutt readers and post-race bar sessions have been about for years; how to make sailing appeal to a wider audience. For sure there will always be those who pan the AC and the Olympics as useless sideshows, but even the most cynical of us still depends on publicly-funded marinas, harbors, navigation assets, access to GPS satellites, and that little thing called the Coast Guard. Welcome to the age of budget cuts, my friends, and we need all the help we can get.

Finally the 72s are beginning to dance on the edge of the spotlight. So far their light air trials prove them stunningly graceful. With wind, we will come up with more words I am sure. I feel truly blessed to be here, now, in this moment of AC history.


terrulian
***

Sep 4, 2012, 4:11 PM

Post #13 of 14 (27307 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Very well stated, Toby. To me this feels like an argument about the Grand Ole Opry allowing drums.
Tony Johnson


Mal
*****


Sep 4, 2012, 6:30 PM

Post #14 of 14 (27279 views)
Shortcut
Re: [terrulian] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I doubt I'll ever understand the negative thoughts concerning catamarans. From the time Capt Nat's Cat was disqualified to the present, they seem to be thought of by many as some sort of pariah. They are just high performance sail boats. I know I'll never understand why folks seem to take offense to promoting The Cup to non sailors nor why sailors would not be interested in this whole grand experiment. Beneath the hype, it's still sailboat racing at the highest level and hasn't that always been the essence of the America's Cup?

As to how the historians judge the 34th America's Cup, it's obvious here that it depends on who they are.
Check Six .......Mal




Viewing the Forums: No members and guests
 


Search for (options) Contact Forum Forum FAQS Markup Tags Forum Rules