Faster boats might be more interesting to watch if it were possible to capture the reality of that speed on camera - it's not. So, you're left with two boats whose apparent wind is so severe that they obviate 90 percent of the sail triming (they are always close hauled regardless of point of sail). Assuming they are anything close to evenly matched, one small mistake and you're *miles* from your competitor and the "race" falls apart - it turns into a rout. Snooze. The boats themselves are interesting in their novelty, but that wore off pretty quickly last time when we didn't get to see anything resembling a real competition - no tacking duels (there will never be again with cats), no burly crew straining at the winches, just the helmsman and some human ballast pushing buttons.
Come to think of it, maybe it's perfect for the video game age.
No tacking duels? Really? It doesn't sound like you've watched any of the ACWS. Both the fleet and match races have been awesome on the 45s. Great start strategies, great covering, and some very good tacking duals when called for (although separation strategies have been more effective). Furthermore, the graphics have been a phenomenal addition to helping people understand the strategies, marks, rules and boundaries.
But you hit on exactly what makes this so much more fun to watch...the speed. One mistake and the other boat is gone. This just means every competitor has to up their game! How can that be a bad thing? That's awesome! The forgiveness (and boredom) inherent in slow boats is gone. These guys have to be on every second - or it's over. Furthermore, this makes the tacking duels, when they happen, that much more compelling. BUT, tacking duels aren't the only interesting thing in yacht racing anymore (thank goodness).
Look, there were more than 1 million
spectators along the shore for that last Super Sunday race in SF. They watched all the action which was just a couple of hundred meters away. Past ACs were typically so far from shore that spectators couldn't see anything anyway. So I think you're arguments are a bit hollow.
One interesting thing though was that a younger couple was interviewed course-side, and mentioned that they were using their phones, iPads, etc. to follow the streaming coverage as well. This is the equivalent of the JumboTron at NFL games. You're physically there, but you can't see the nuances of the game, so you enhance the experience with television.
As for the burly dudes, sail trim, and button pushing....did you see the crews working the 45s? There was no button-pushing there. And they were working their butts off. So you're too focused on the 72s - which, as I said, are a mistake in my opinion.
The AC has, perhaps unintentionally, created an incredibly fun sport to watch with the ACWS and the 45s. That's where the future lies.