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post #10 of Old 04-21-2009
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PJ O'rourke really nailed it:

"The America's Cup is like driving your Lamborghini to the Grand Prix track to watch the charter buses race."

It is a rich man's sport.
It is a slow, rich man's sport.
It is a slow, boring, rich man's sport.
It is a slow, boring, big, rich man's sport.

Which conspires against success with the masses, which means success on TV, and vice versa.
What the sport needs is the equivalent of NASCAR. Short races, small courses, easily televised, with some personality.

Better yet, get rid of all of the rules, the handicapping, the protests, the pedigrees, the egos, the attitudes the challenges, the yacht clubs, and start a new series with a real simple premise:

40' length. 9' beam. No more, no less. Weight, balance, rig, is all open. Oh yeah, trapezes are mandatory- it makes slow look fast and exciting,and this is all about the visuals. This will appeal to the novice spectator, who has no idea what a 12 metre boat is, or a one ton, but understands and covets a 40 foot yacht- THAT he gets, and his eyeballs are what the sport needs to get, so make it simple, not elitist. Also, it means that the boats can be land transported from race to race, increasing eyeball exposure, acting as billboards for the series.

Hull cost under 6 figures. No privateers, all hulls must carry sponsorship, but no sponsorship can be greater than $25k. One hull per team per season. You break it, you fix it, or drop out. Two suites of sails per season. It keeps the costs contained and the racing interesting.

a crew of 4. no more, no less.

Three cameras per boat, on every boat, with open mics. When you hear the scrambling, the yelling, the cursing, the skewed POV from a trapeze, slow can be gripping and exciting.

Small course. Helicopters are expensive, so aerial, big picture coverage is expensive. A small three point course can be covered by a blimp or a drone.

A race every weekend, from harbourfronts, not club based. Inland as well as ocean racing. Maximum exposure, and maximum excitement. You could create a freshwater/saltwater rivalry- How well do you think Dennis Conner would do on Lake Lanier, for example?

No qualifying. If you can raise the budget, and outfit the boat, you can race. period. Maybe it will get a little more personality into a bland sport.
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