AC35: Onions and Self-interest

Follow the America’s Cup long enough and you will notice a cyclical pattern reminiscent of the Phoenix, the mythical bird reborn in flames. We saw this following the 26th America’s Cup in Perth (1987), we saw it following AC32 in Valencia (2007), and we are seeing it in the aftermath of AC34 in San Francisco (2013)
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Follow the America’s Cup long enough and you will notice a cyclical pattern reminiscent of the Phoenix, the mythical bird reborn in flames. We saw this following the 26th America’s Cup in Perth (1987), we saw it following AC32 in Valencia (2007), and we are seeing it in the aftermath of AC34 in San Francisco (2013). Each of these was a near-perfect events, yet each was immediately followed by a plunge into the shadows.

To quote Dennis Conner, a man with intimate knowledge of the forces driving the Cup: “Bet on self-interest. It’s always running.”

In this case, self-interest has run from San Francisco to the tiny island nation of Bermuda, which will be hosting the 35th America’s Cup (as well as the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup) in June of 2017.

Following AC34, all signs were positive when Oracle Team USA—the hometown heroes who beat impossible odds to come from behind—entered negotiations with the city of San Francisco. But the wicket got sticky over the matter of some $11 million worth of municipal services, and Oracle started pondering other proposals. Given the importance of TV contracts, prime spectator territories (Europe and the U.S. East Coast), and Sir Ben Ainslie’s Royal Yacht Squadron-flagged BAR campaign, it quickly became obvious the Defender was wagering heavily on self-interest.

The America’s Cup has never been truly patriotic, and the word “fair” has never been a part of its lexicon, but this “dash to the Onion Patch” takes things to a subterranean level. Bermuda may have proffered trappings that San Francisco withheld, but Oracle Team USA still flies the burgee of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, as well as Old Glory. No one could ever accuse Oracle Team USA of being overly jingoistic. (Only one member of its winning AC34 crew was a full-blooded Yankee). But this is the first time a defending club with open-water access has opted to defend their prize overseas.

Then there’s the fact that Bermuda is hyper-exclusive, hyper-expensive and small (with limited accommodations, but plenty of superyacht dockage), and it becomes obvious that AC35 is aimed at the one-percent’s as opposed to the wider sailing community.

While there’s no fear of a Deed of Gift challenge this time (praise be!) many AC fans have become disgruntled, to say the least. One can only hope the fires of AC35 yield fertile ash for a glorious rebirth, once Gollum’s Ring has found a new bearer.

Photo courtesy of America’s Cup Event Authority

Related

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more

Dreramcatcher -Cate Brown

Marblehead to Halifax Canceled; Alternative Races Planned

The Marblehead to Halifax race that was scheduled for this summer has been canceled due to continuing Covid concerns. Organizers at the Boston Yacht Club and Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron who co-sponsor the event have made the decision because of uncertainty about when the ...read more

SailGP-Team

SailGP Announces Roster and Coach Additions

Athletes Daniela Moroz, CJ Perez and Paul Campbell-James have been added to The United States’ SailGP lineup. Also joining the team will be head coach Philippe Presti. Moroz is a four-time Formula Kite World Champion and two-time U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman-of-the-Year. ...read more

NEW-westcoastmultihullsmob

Chartering the West Coast

Although two-thirds of the U.S. boating population lives along the Eastern Seaboard, there are many hardy and enthusiastic cruising sailors on the “left coast” as well. Better still, if you’re looking to charter on the Pacific side, there’s plenty of great sailing and many clubs ...read more