I know there is an irreconcilable difference of opinion on this, but I maintain that the crew have little to no actual choice. That discussion with their wives would go like this, hypothetically:
"I was offered a spot on an AC team."
"Isn't that incredibly dangerous and these new boats might really crash into each other and hurt people? I'm worried about the kids."
"Yes, but if I say no, I will never be offered another opportunity like it. I have to say yes, or hurt my career."
That makes sense except these guys many of them were Olympic Champions, Gold medal winners, already at the tops of their sport in many ways.
I have been faced with career choices before as I am sure you have. I have given up advancement early on because I felt it wasn't a good move for my family and wouldn't be there enough time for them, let alone dangerous.
I maintain that the crew have little to no actual choice
I really cannot understand how you say they have no choice. Of course they have choice. It isn't slavery. No one is compelling them to do it. They have free will. Saying they have no choice means no ownership for their actions.
What I think is that the enticement is greater than the risk to them. Two things go with that. These guys are SUPER competitive so the NEED to be the best and the fastest overrules sometimes their decision making. Secondly never underestimate the individual ego factor. This feeds that for them also.
All of them could have great careers and good money making careers based on what they had done in the Olympics and before the AC races. They themselves choose.
Saying they had no choice is like saying Tiger Woods had no choice but to follow his inner pressures and have multiple affairs on his wife. Saying they had no choice is like saying Bobby Bonds had no choice but to take steroids to stay competitive. They have no ownership for their actions
They have choice and this is what they chose to do, Yes make it as safe as possible without intruding and destroying what it is. There will be another iteration in the next AC. I venture to say no matter what it is they wont be putting restrictor plates in the boats.