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Old 09-26-2013
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And They Said He Was Insane

Inside Larry Ellisonís Insane Plan to Turn Americaís Cup Into a TV Spectacle
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Old 09-27-2013
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Re: And They Said He Was Insane

Opinion: If Cup management could do things to get more participants in the Louis Vuitton challenger series, that would make the Cup more popular and marketable. Also, if they could tweak the boat designs and get crews more experienced with the boats so wind limits are less necessary, that would make scheduling more predictable and a sweeter deal for television and advertisers/sponsors.
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Re: And They Said He Was Insane

I think we have a long way to go before the American general public takes to sailing as a spectator sport. To many, it's an elitist activity. But that can be remedied by taking the sport to the kids. But there's also the part about needing a body of water on which to sail. Not much you can do about that.

Another issue is the learning curve. Not only in understanding how to race but the knowledge of language needed to understand the announcers and commentators as they try to explain to the public what's happening. Americans don't like learning curves.

In SF, they did a great job giving the spectators a place to actually see the race. The masts on the boats rose 130 feet above the water and made them easier to see too. I don't know if the shore spectators always knew who was ahead, but I'm sure watching them zip across the water was fun.

As to the tweaking the boat designs to handle more wind, wouldn't that take reefing? Maybe there's someone working on reefing foils but that may be a long way off. No matter how skilled the crew is, put those things in 30+ knot winds and you've got a recipe for disaster if they can't reduce the area of the foil. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but I just don't know how to overcome high winds with a foil sail.

The miracle comeback has certainly catapulted sailing out of the darkness but there's a long way to go. Thirty years ago, after Connor lost the Cup, it made the front page of the two big Chicago papers. Yesterday the Tribune didn't even mention it and the Sun-Times had a small paragraph deep in the sports news. So much for what Chicago papers thought of the greatest comeback in sports. FWIW, they do cover the Chicago-Mac race pretty well, but the AC wasn't even on their radar.
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