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post #31 of Old 09-08-2013
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Re: America's Cup opening races

Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
The speed of those boats is boggling. The TV graphics that look like they are actually in the water are very cool. The whole thing is so over the top it is indescribable.

It makes for a lot better spectating than the older boats but I'd like to see the races be a little more than a quick sprint around a short course. They should have to race out to the Farallones and back.
Sure, the sheer speed is impressive, no question... So is that of a top fuel dragster. And that seems to me what Ellison has done to the AC, transformed it from Grand Prix racing into the more uniquely American form of Drag Racing...

It's stunning to me how many of the elements of yacht racing have been REMOVED by the use of these boats... Gone are so much of the TACTICS, and gone are so much of the crew work, particularly SAIL HANDLING...

The very short starting sequence, and the downwind starts are a joke... These boats are so ungainly, so unmaneuvarable at slow speeds, the fascinating pre-start chess match and delicate jockeying for an advantage that were unique to the AC are history... With these off the wind starts, gone is the possibility of the tactical choices of one end of the line seeming favored, the possibility of splitting tacks immediately, or even something as bold as attempting a port tack start... Instead, we have this drag race to the first mark, and whoever gets there first, it's game over...

But ultimately, it's the sheer speed of these boats which has removed so much of the interest in the actual sailing of these boats, for me... The fact that no matter what 'point of sail' they're on, they are virtually always sailing close-hauled has largely removed the crew from the equation. Gone are the use of free-flying downwind sails, the majestic spinnaker sets, the amazing teamwork involved during a jibe, and the incredible tacking duels that gave the trailing boat a chance to force the leader into making a mistake... Pretty much the sole 'tactic' I see in these races is keeping the boat up on the foils during a jibe, the ability to do that alone seems to be the decider in these races that are nothing more than a procession after the drag race to the first mark... Has anyone actually been able to determine visually what the crew is actually doing on these boats, aside from running from side to side on the nets, and grinding winches?

Yeah, the speed of these boats is impressive, alright... And the races so far about as interesting to me as a drag race, and over just about as quickly... I'm thinking there is a very strong possibility that, barring some sort of gear failure/breakdown, we'll make it through an entire AC series without seeing a single race that has not been decided in the first 45 seconds, and that stupid drag race to the first jibing mark...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 09-08-2013 at 08:20 AM.
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