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

albintoilet

Gear: Albin Pump Marine Toilet

Head Start Is there room for a new marine toilet? Albin Pump Marine thinks so, having just introduced its line of Swedish-built heads—ranging from compact to full-size models—to the American market. The toilets feature vitreous porcelain bowls and either wooden or thermoplastic ...read more

07n_45R2699

Multihull Sailor: Classic Cats

If you’re looking for a decent sub-40ft cruising cat, you have few choices when it comes to new-boat offerings. It is a well-known fact that the multihull market has taken off in a way very few could have predicted. Despite Hurricane Irma’s recent destruction of a large part of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Thanks a bunch  This scene is very calm and seamanlike. No frantic rope throwing or shouting. As he passes the line to the gent on the dock, the crew on the boat says, quietly and clearly, “Would you ...read more

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more

2018-giftGuide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Brass Yacht Lamp Does someone on your gift list spend the whole winter missing the warm days on the water? Let them bring a little bit of nautical atmosphere home with this new lamp from Weems & Plath. The glass enclosure means the flame cannot be blown out even by ...read more

image001

Opinion: On Not Giving Up Sailing

E.B. White was 64 when he wrote his now-famous essay “The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” which begins as a romantic paean to sailing and then drifts, as if spun around by a pessimistic eddy of thought, into a reflection on selling his boat. Does an aging sailor quit while he’s ...read more

1812-JeanneaueNewsVideo

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Designed by Marc Lombard, the Sun Odyssey 410 shares much in common with her older siblings including of course, the walk-around deck. Other features that set the 410 apart from other models being introduced this year include the 410’s “negative bow” shape allowing for a longer ...read more