Has the America's Cup lost...? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 36 Old 11-28-2011 Thread Starter
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Has the America's Cup lost...?

Has the America's Cup lost its sheer sailing appeal to anyone else? First, let me say that I am a cruiser through and through and that I don't mean to start a negative thread (or antagonize any multi-hullers out there) but the Cup does not hold the same significance for me that it once did. The last Cup was mired in courtroom hearings that left a sour taste and this Cup features these new 72-foot multi-hulls moving 1.5 times the true wind speed downwind.

I know that the boats have evolved since the beginning and that technology will continue to improve and boats will become faster, more manuverable and generally capable of doing things that were impossible in the past but, when I look back at the Cups of the 80's (excluding '88), 90's and 00's I see more pure racing than todays events--more focus on the sailing and crew than the boats and politics.

Are we past the point of no return? Can we get back to the basics and infuse the old enthusiasm into the sport? I was in New Zealand in 2007 while the Louis Vuitton was going on and there were crowds in every pub and TVs set up on milk crates on street corners airing the races. A Kiwi friend tells me that it's not the same anymore. That's the excitement I want back in the sport. Is it gone for good?

"The notion of life implies a certain absoluteness of self-enjoyment." -Alfred North Whitehead


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post #2 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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For me, it's not the multihulls (the old rules didn't say they couldn't be used) but that the financial bar to participate has been raised so high that a sailing team not backed by a multi-billion dollar corporation can no longer compete.

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post #3 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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Check out some of the books on AC history. You will see that nothing has really changed right from the late 1800s. My favorite is "Temple to The Wind" which is the story of Nathaniel Herreshof.

Names like Carnegie, NYYC and Lipton were who ran the teams back then. Certainly not your average Joes. Court battles also ensued back then.
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post #4 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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I accept that it always has cost a lot of money.

But I'm just not interested in seeing it done with cat hulls. They're just drag racers, all straight-line speed. None of the upwind tacking duels and close-quarters maneuvering which to me are the heart of racing.

There's a reason why 99%(?) of one-design racers aren't cats. And it ain't money. They just take all afternoon to tack, and are not satisfying to race even if it's between reach marks only.
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post #5 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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Who can forget the Americas Cup in 1983 when Conner in Liberty held of the Winged Keel Austrailia two for 7 races before finally losing the cup to the vastly superior boat with the first bulb/ winged keel. His feat of tacking and pinning the Aussies boat was one of the most glorious match races I ever saw.

Now its a hyper money techno race.....although it was already starting to be that back then, with thelarge corporate sponsors and syndicates.
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post #6 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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I agree about the amount of litigation involved, and think it's revolting. Regarding your experience in NZ....The Kiwi's are the most enthusiastic sailors on the planet IMO. Don't expect the same experience here. Having said that, check out this coverage of the San Diego AC races. AmericasCup's Channel - YouTube
I'll be surprised if it doesn't excite you, and make you think the changes will be good for sailing in general. I love sailing and racing my mono hull, and respect tradition. However, for me, watching a mono hull race is like watching grass grow, with brief exceptions. It's a new AC and I'm exited about it!
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post #7 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
But I'm just not interested in seeing it done with cat hulls. They're just drag racers, all straight-line speed. None of the upwind tacking duels and close-quarters maneuvering which to me are the heart of racing.
Have you actually watched any of the racing? It most definitely is a tacking/gybing duel and the courses have been designed to force the competitors to race in close quarters. Because they're being sailed close to land the courses are shorter and tighter. Take a look at the San Diego fleet race finals.

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post #8 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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Have you actually watched any of the racing? It most definitely is a tacking/gybing duel and the courses have been designed to force the competitors to race in close quarters. Because they're being sailed close to land the courses are shorter and tighter. Take a look at the San Diego fleet race finals.
I have watched some of the TV coverage and it was pretty exciting however the course modifications you mention would have worked just as well to make monohull racing more spectator friendly.

I also happened to catch the TV coverage of the NYYC Invitational which featured amateur racer teams from around the globe on Swan 42's in one design racing. That was as exciting as the AC coverage to me and the fact these guys were not paid to sail made their skills all the more compelling to watch.

For me, that event represents the pinnacle of what sail racing SHOULD be with non professional sailors from around the globe representing their country and club in head to head competition.

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post #9 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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@midlifesailor:
Thanks for the reference to the NYYC Invitationals. I too have been looking for some video that reminded me of the racing coverage from when I was a kid (Aussie here, so we're talking about the Sydney to Hobart & similar) as we get no race coverage these days. YouTube and your reference brings up some great amateur sailing video

For purposes of understanding threads I post in, the following persons are ignored: chrisncate, jzk
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post #10 of 36 Old 11-28-2011
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This is very similar to the way I feel as well. Nothing against multi-hull's, I think they are pretty cool to watch. Just not in the America's Cup. Tactics and the hurried frenzy of an upwind beat were interesting to watch. Plus I'm a history buff so a mono-hull appeals to me more for this race.

I also am not a fan of how commercialized its become. I like it much better when the competing yacht clubs and boat names got top billing not the corporate sponsorship. I guess I just wish for the days when everyone knew the boat was named Stars & Strips and not Oracle. Corporate logo's on a boat have become incredibly overbearing, just look at the VOR.

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Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
I accept that it always has cost a lot of money.

But I'm just not interested in seeing it done with cat hulls. They're just drag racers, all straight-line speed. None of the upwind tacking duels and close-quarters maneuvering which to me are the heart of racing.

There's a reason why 99%(?) of one-design racers aren't cats. And it ain't money. They just take all afternoon to tack, and are not satisfying to race even if it's between reach marks only.

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