Cup Watch: America’s Cup Controversy Continues

With the 2012 America’s Cup World Series kicking off April 7 in Naples, Italy, and with construction of an America’s Cup village underway on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, why is it that America’s Cup 34 is still so controversial?

Apparently, it’s built in.

In February, Italian challenger Luna Rossa launched an AC45 in New Zealand and began training exercises with its design partner, Emirates Team New Zealand, while Kiwi team boss Grant Dalton assailed what he called the high costs of competing. (There are fewer sailors per boat now, but more engineers: an AC72 wing costs as much as the boat.)

In San Francisco, a contentious Board of Supervisors meeting resulted in the scuttling of plans for a floating JumboTron amid continued grousing in general. Meanwhile, English triple gold medalist Ben Ainslie has joined U.S. defender, Oracle Racing, as part of a complicated plan to launch a British-based AC45 campaign that will eventually morph into a full-fledged Cup campaign post-2013 and…is this making sense yet?

The biggest gamble in the history of sailing may work, but wherever this road ends up, it’s turning out to be a tortuous one.

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