During the pre-start in a practice race a couple of days ago (on only the second day of practice racing, no less!) Britain’s Land Rover BAR hit Emirates Team New Zealand. And Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling, for one, was not at all happy about it.
The good news for Cup fans, though, is that if encounters like this are any evidence, the 35 America’s Cup could be a good deal more exciting that many observers (myself included) expected.
Not that anyone wants any of the crews to actually get hurt, but it appears that these are going to be a lot more than just pure speed tests, with the boats essentially sailing in parallel, like a kind of waterborne drag race. Certainly not if Sir Ben Ainslie (who rumor has it may be stuck with a bit of a slow boat) has anything to say about it!
And if the boats get banged around a bit: well, that’s what the shore crews are there for. Pit stops, after all, are an integral part of Formula 1 racing, the model AC35 organizers are trying to emulate. Same thing with “tradin’ paint” in NASCAR. Yee haw!
Good thing the crews are wearing helmets. You boys be careful out there, especially when you’re up against Sir Ben!