Cup Watch: Destination Newport - Sail Magazine

Cup Watch: Destination Newport

When the advance guard of America’s Cup 34 descends on Newport, Rhode Island, this month for the AC World Series regatta, you can forget the game that left town in 1983. In those days it was controversial (honest!) that top people were paid (under the table) to sail ocean races, and that these same people would show up expecting to compete for the Cup.
Author:
Publish date:
Cup%20Watch

When the advance guard of America’s Cup 34 descends on Newport, Rhode Island, this month for the AC World Series regatta, you can forget the game that left town in 1983. In those days it was controversial (honest!) that top people were paid (under the table) to sail ocean races, and that these same people would show up expecting to compete for the Cup. These days an avowed mission of AC34 is to create a Formula 1-style event for pros. 

In the past, aficionados spoke proudly of “the chess game” of controlling an opponent with subtle right-of-way rules while sailing perhaps at no more than a swimmer’s pace. Many an hour passed at Bannister’s Wharf with fans debating race moves that remained mysterious if not entirely opaque to most of the eyes that beheld them. With hard-wing catamarans now “normally” sailing beyond true wind speeds, with hardcore helmeted athletes on board, and with tactics subsumed by the emergency that is each race, the game is more like combat chess. 

Cup%20Watch2

John Kostecki, tactician for Oracle Racing’s 2010 win in Valencia, said, “I do everything on the AC45 but drive and trim the wing. The front three people are all strategists, helping the helmsman, who has the least to do, so he makes most of the decisions.”

This on a boat moving fast enough to pull a water skier.

AC45 teams returned to the America’s Cup World Series with the big guy of Oracle Racing, Larry Ellison, musing to journalists that the 45s look so good, they might have fulfilled his America’s Cup vision by themselves. The AC72s, meanwhile, seem intimidating, but until they’re sailing, nobody knows. I maintain that Dennis Conner and company in 1983 came close to successfully defending the Cup with a slower boat, and had they defeated Allen Bond’s superior mousetrap, Australia II, “Bondie” would not have tried again and the America’s Cup probably would have been safe for another generation.

But then, the Cup would not have been set free to become whatever it is becoming. And the earth would still be flat. 

Photos courtesy Gilles Martin-Raget/34th America's Cup

Don't forget: SAIL is giving one lucky winner a trip to Newport, Rhode Island, to race in the America's Cup World Series on June 28! Enter by June 4, 2012.

Related

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more