I don't agree. While one may not know the rules, seeing someone run around the bases and score at home plate or catch a pass and run toward the goal line is learned in seconds, just by watching. This also can repeat over and over again. I'm not suggesting one would enjoy it, just that they would get the basic idea. Watching the AC34, one wouldn't even know where the finish line is, let alone who is winning most of the time.
From the shoreside, the boats come from the left, they head over to the right, they go round a mark then they come back and on the left side they go around another mark and they come back and then they round the last mark and head for the finish line. Rules aside, that's not really complicated. If as a spectator one doesn't know which side the finish line is then it's probably best that one watches grid-iron.
Oh, and the boat in front is generally the one that's winning.
On TV (and the big screens on the shoreside) the graphic overlays could not be better. They start with a full description of the course, where the boats have to go and then following the boats, they show the real-time distance between the boats, which one is in front, where the next mark is, the boundaries, they're reasonably idiot proof. You get none of that when watching baseball or grid-iron. For the uninitiated, to know what VMG is is like me knowing why the fellow crouching behind the batter points two or three fingers at his three-piece-suite.
Seriously, the sport of sailing is technical - if you don't have the interest then it's gonna be confusing - you only need to watch a game of Union rugby to understand how confusing it can get. I think the AC organisers have gone more than one extra mile to make it enjoyable for the non-sailor.