Nov 8, 2012, 11:31 AM
Post #3 of 5
I say a pox on those that foisted the AC45 and AC72 cats on Americaís Cup. Americaís Cup is supposed to be the very pinnacle of sailing.
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The event has a history and a legacy that is deserving of competition of the highest order.
Instead, whatís being dished up is a TVcentric demolition derby, in boats that are quite simply unseaworthy, and potentially lethal. Iím sure these boats have a place in sailing, but that place isnít Americaís Cup.
When I was on the handles in 1983 when Australia II won the America's Cup, I was very fortunate to have played a small part in Americaís Cup history. But right now Iím feeling betrayed by the custodians of the Cup.
Watching these featherweight AC45s capsizing, cartwheeling and pitch poling all over the place, on relatively flat water, is just awful.
If this is what has to be done to boost television audiences then honestly, weíd be better off with smaller audiences. Americaís Cup should be about the very best of sailing, not TV ratings.
It should never have been allowed to become a smash Ďem up show, in an effort to gain audiences of people who know little about sailing. Itís a bit like sticking nitro fuelled dragsters in a Formula One car race, for couch surfers who want to see crashes.
After the farce of the last DoG match, Americaís Cup desperately needed some clear air. Unfortunately, what we are being dished up today is simply unworthy of Americaís Cup, and this once great event risks being damaged even further.
Lots of people are talking about the event, but for all the wrong reasons. Itís all about the high speeds, and the spectacular capsizes. Real sailors must be shaking their heads in disbelief.
How did iconic Americaís Cup come to this? Did the custodians not read the Deed? Americaís Cup is a match race.
Match racing is not about how fast you can get around the track, itís about what you have to do to beat the other guy. Itís a boxing match, not a sprint race. Americaís Cup is one boat against another, with nowhere to hide. Big boats and big egos. Thatís the way it should be, and those that canít handle the pressure should stay away.
Itís a battle of tactics, skill and wits, both on and off the water. Itís about efficiency in starting, and every other aspect of sail racing, including performance upwind, reaching and running downwind. Design, planning, experience, manpower, crew work, tactics and luck, should all play a part.
Americaís Cup is supposed to be the Heavyweight Title of sailing, but right now it just looks like any common Saturday night Roller Derby on TV, where everyone ends up on their arse.
Please, have a look at this and tell me otherwise:
The AC72s will just take this to another extreme. Check this:
Undoubtedly this sort of thing can make exciting televisionÖ for a whileÖ but is it worthy of the legacy of Americaís Cup, and does it serve its future?
I think not.
The small number of challenging syndicates might just be a reflection of general distain for these very expensive, paperweight boats. Personally, I think they are a huge mistake, and I just hope no one gets badly injured or killed out there, because that would definitely not be a joke.
For those that can remember back that far, arguably the most exciting AC match of them all was the epic match between Alinghi and Team NZ in 2007; the last to be sailed in big IACC yachts. Cameras and microphones had us all on board. For anyone who knows anything about sailing, it was riveting.
Why would anyone not want to see more of that?