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Final Thoughts: A Better America’s Cup

It isn’t often that an opportunity comes along to make something significantly better and save billions of dollars in the process. But that’s situation we have with the America’s Cup. The answer is simple: Sail identical boats.

This year people commented that the racing had become much more exciting because the boats were closer in performance. I propose the creation of America’s Cup, Inc. (ACI) to commission a fleet of identical boats from the same builder. All challengers and the defender will sail these boats, which will be financed by entry fees and advertising revenue. Competitors will switch boats after each race—just in case there are any performance differences.

The boats won’t be nearly as expensive or fragile as the current ones. No carbon fiber, except in the spinnaker poles. Aluminum masts. Fiberglass hulls, polyester sails, etc. The loss of performance due to the elimination of exotic materials will never be noticed.

The only concern I have is that my proposal might strip the Cup of one aspect that has made it so significant—its grandeur. Sailors and landlubbers alike have long been impressed by the sheer cost of the America’s Cup. Eliminating the exorbitant expenditures leaves the event “ordinary,” perhaps even “sensible.” Sadly, much of the grandeur would be gone. But wait! Team Alinghi has come to the rescue by proposing even bigger boats for the next Cup.

Thank you, Alinghi. I applaud your plans for more excitement. But 90 feet seems like an awfully small increase. Why not identical 130-footers? That’s the same length as the historical J-Boats that made the America’s Cup truly great. Wouldn’t everyone enjoy a return to those golden days? Think of the excitement of these boats dueling on the water. It takes my breath away. Alan Adler

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