Editor's Note: Here we go again

America’s Cup. Controversy. One goes with the other. For as long as the Auld Mug has been in existence, it has been surrounded by various degrees of skullduggery, brinkmanship, double-dealing, scandal and just plain nastiness.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
 The most exciting racing sailboats ever? Admire them while you can.

The most exciting racing sailboats ever? Admire them while you can.

America’s Cup. Controversy. One goes with the other. For as long as the Auld Mug has been in existence, it has been surrounded by various degrees of skullduggery, brinkmanship, double-dealing, scandal and just plain nastiness. It has kept legions of lawyers in Ferraris and country club fees, turned large fortunes into somewhat smaller ones, and transformed what once were merely talented sailors into highly paid professional athletes. All of which is part of what makes it so infuriatingly difficult to ignore.

This, the 34th running of this historic event, has had its fair share of back-biting and on-and-off-water drama. Remember when Oracle Racing’s Russell Coutts bragged in 2010 that thanks to its cool new 72-foot catamarans, AC34 would be a competition for the “Facebook generation, not the Flintstones generation?”

That went hand in hand with a lofty promise that up to 15 teams would show up in San Francisco this year. We’re down to four, including the defender—at the time of writing. By the time you read this, who knows? No one is safe making predictions about this Cup.

The boats have turned out to be more powerful than anyone expected or even needed; in the wake of Artemis crewman Andrew Simpson’s tragic death in May, AC management brought in a raft of new safety regulations for crew equipment and training, along with measures, like lowering the maximum wind limit from 33 to 23 knots, that stop short of neutering the big cats but should declaw them at least a little.

Even so, these fast, fragile and yes, dangerous boats also happen to be some of the most exciting creations ever to hit the water. This is terra incognita, despite three years of competition in the AC45s. I don’t know quite what to expect when the gun sounds for the first match race of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger’s series. All I know is that, unlike the tedious trimaran-catamaran mismatch of 2010, it will be anything but dull.

So make sure you enjoy the racing, because you can be sure of one thing; the next generation of Cup boats will not be like these. The 72s will be ancient history. Kind of like the Flintstones.

Photo courtesy of Chris Cameron, AC34

Related

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more