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  #31  
Old 09-08-2013
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Re: America's Cup opening races

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
The speed of those boats is boggling. The TV graphics that look like they are actually in the water are very cool. The whole thing is so over the top it is indescribable.

It makes for a lot better spectating than the older boats but I'd like to see the races be a little more than a quick sprint around a short course. They should have to race out to the Farallones and back.
Sure, the sheer speed is impressive, no question... So is that of a top fuel dragster. And that seems to me what Ellison has done to the AC, transformed it from Grand Prix racing into the more uniquely American form of Drag Racing...

It's stunning to me how many of the elements of yacht racing have been REMOVED by the use of these boats... Gone are so much of the TACTICS, and gone are so much of the crew work, particularly SAIL HANDLING...

The very short starting sequence, and the downwind starts are a joke... These boats are so ungainly, so unmaneuvarable at slow speeds, the fascinating pre-start chess match and delicate jockeying for an advantage that were unique to the AC are history... With these off the wind starts, gone is the possibility of the tactical choices of one end of the line seeming favored, the possibility of splitting tacks immediately, or even something as bold as attempting a port tack start... Instead, we have this drag race to the first mark, and whoever gets there first, it's game over...

But ultimately, it's the sheer speed of these boats which has removed so much of the interest in the actual sailing of these boats, for me... The fact that no matter what 'point of sail' they're on, they are virtually always sailing close-hauled has largely removed the crew from the equation. Gone are the use of free-flying downwind sails, the majestic spinnaker sets, the amazing teamwork involved during a jibe, and the incredible tacking duels that gave the trailing boat a chance to force the leader into making a mistake... Pretty much the sole 'tactic' I see in these races is keeping the boat up on the foils during a jibe, the ability to do that alone seems to be the decider in these races that are nothing more than a procession after the drag race to the first mark... Has anyone actually been able to determine visually what the crew is actually doing on these boats, aside from running from side to side on the nets, and grinding winches?

Yeah, the speed of these boats is impressive, alright... And the races so far about as interesting to me as a drag race, and over just about as quickly... I'm thinking there is a very strong possibility that, barring some sort of gear failure/breakdown, we'll make it through an entire AC series without seeing a single race that has not been decided in the first 45 seconds, and that stupid drag race to the first jibing mark...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 09-08-2013 at 08:20 AM.
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  #32  
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Re: America's Cup opening races

Naturally, the shoreside crowds were big for race 1. I will be curious to see what happens in the coming races. I'm also curious what viewership ratings look like. Given they've managed to divide the sailing community themselves, I doubt they drew in many new viewers.

As I watched yesterday, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of a non-sailor. Having no idea what a tack, jibe, rights, downwind, etc, even are, it would be impossible to get into the race. I even heard the announcer analyze VMG, using the acronym, not describing the point in plain English. In most sports, you can quickly grasp whom is winning and scoring points.

A non-sailor sees the big boats up on foils. Oooooo, ahhhhhh. Then you're lost, particularly as they head n different directions, until the finish line, which you don't even know is coming until they tell you.
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  #33  
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Re: America's Cup opening races

Jon

I agree with most of your points concerning sail handling and tactics. However in the first race there were lead changes on the beat and Oracle lost due to a tactical decision on the beat. As I said in another post that the race should add at least another lap so they could go to windward where it appears some movement either way can occur. It might also help if they had different courses instead of W/L (L/W in this case) with a hook at the start and a hook at the finish.
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Re: America's Cup opening races

What I don't like about the AC 34 is the fact Ellison made it so expensive to participate it took competitors, that would have normally considered entering, out of the game.

OTOH...

I loved the 12s. The Js are breathtaking. But I understand the idea of getting the rest of the world interested in the America's Cup. Before the first American loss, the Cup was hardly a blip on the sports scene. And for a while, its fan base and press coverage jumped after that loss. But then it dropped again. So I get Ellison trying to stir up a fan base but there are so many obstacles in accomplishing this.

In an attempt to increase the fan base, golf introduced "stadium golf" where one or more holes on a course were surrounded with stands and the typically quiet crowd was allowed to cheer, hoot and holler. A lot of golf fans hated this, but it's still here, though used sparingly.

But stadium sailing won't work. Will they try to build stands on the Golden Gate Bridge? I can't see how they could get the fans closer unless they set up a floating stadium. Think of all the problems that would introduce.

But I agree, sailing terminology needs to be well explained or you'll lose the non-sailors quickly. To their credit, NBC did have some text boxes pop up but there was no way they could have done that for all the sailing terminology used by the announcers during the race, and still allow the viewer time to watch the race.

I think this will be a one and done for the AC 72s. But if the boats used in the next Cup can't amaze the fans in some other way, the new fans will walk. And if Oracle keeps losing decisively, the new fans will start vanishing before the series is over.
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Re: America's Cup opening races

AC or any of the major yacht races will never be mass market spectator sports, nor should they be. Trying to market these events like ipods (or some gadget made by Oracle) is somehow out of place.
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  #36  
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Re: America's Cup opening races

Oracle HAD the lead.......oh well, not sure which boat they are using today, but lost decisively in #3!

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Re: America's Cup opening races

...and won race 4. Pretty good racing today. Actually, somewhat exciting to watch.

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  #38  
Old 09-08-2013
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Re: America's Cup opening races

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
As I watched yesterday, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of a non-sailor. Having no idea what a tack, jibe, rights, downwind, etc, even are, it would be impossible to get into the race. I even heard the announcer analyze VMG, using the acronym, not describing the point in plain English.

A non-sailor sees the big boats up on foils. Oooooo, ahhhhhh. Then you're lost, particularly as they head n different directions, until the finish line, which you don't even know is coming until they tell you.
Actually this is no different to any other yacht race and actually the older AC's had much more of this than the AC34. And it is really no different to me watching baseball or grid iron football - I have no idea of the rules and don't much care so I don't watch it. Every sport has it's knowledgeable followers and the also-watched. I never hear the commentators in a grid iron match explaining the rules - you either know them or you don't.

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In most sports, you can quickly grasp whom is winning and scoring points.
Watching the scoreboard and knowing who is winning is not as good as watching the game and knowing who is winning.

I know hindsight is a perfect science but having watched races 3 and 4 today, this is full-on match racing at 40 knots - it is nail-biting stuff at least for me it is. And if Spithill continues to meddle with Barker's start process, Oracle are right back in this.

ETNZ took 39 seconds off Oracle on an upwind leg in race 3 and nothing in race 4 and Oracle won so things are evolving. I reckon this event is going to improve with every race. It's not over till it's over.
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Last edited by Omatako; 09-08-2013 at 07:25 PM.
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  #39  
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Re: America's Cup opening races

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
..... it is really no different to me watching baseball or grid iron football....
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.

Quote:
It's not over till it's over.
I'll give you that, although, I hope ETNZ keeps it up.
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Re: America's Cup opening races

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Originally Posted by RTB View Post
...and won race 4. Pretty good racing today. Actually, somewhat exciting to watch.

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Maybe my memory isn't as good as it once was (okay, not maybe...) but I'm remembering Jobson saying yesterday that once the winds picked up the Kiwis surged ahead, especially on the 3rd leg. But in race 4, the wind was 20+ and Oracle pulled out a close win. Even more telling was the fact this was the first race where Oracle didn't get creamed on the 3rd leg, the only upwind leg.

So maybe Team Oracle needs big winds to win. Where is Jobson when you need him?
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