Wishful Thinking - Sail Magazine

Wishful Thinking

I have a theory, soon to be tested, that the 33rd defense of America's Cup launched and lived as an exercise in wishful thinking.That you could farm-raise a pet challenger. (Sorry, CNEV)That Larry Ellison's hostile alternative challenge would blow away. (Not yet)That you could turn down a compromise offer and no one would remember. (October 2007)That you wouldn't have
Author:
Publish date:

I have a theory, soon to be tested, that the 33rd defense of America's Cup launched and lived as an exercise in wishful thinking.

That you could farm-raise a pet challenger. (Sorry, CNEV)

That Larry Ellison's hostile alternative challenge would blow away. (Not yet)

That you could turn down a compromise offer and no one would remember. (October 2007)

That you wouldn't have to build a big multihull to race against the trimaran. (February 8, 2010)

That it's irrelevant that North Sails literature says 3DL sails are "built in Minden, Nevada." (To come, February 25th, depending on the courts of New York)

And we have to wonder how to weigh the ability—and willingness?—of Socit Nautique de Genve's Race Committee to influence the outcome of the match.

That's the ticking bomb. Perception versus reality versus perception versus infinitum.

Forget the silly wind limits in earlier versions of the Sailing Instructions (you mean you built an unseaworthy boat?) but tossed out by the International Jury in favor of placing the responsibility to signal a start, per tradition, on the shoulders of the Race Committee. And it's not new or strange to see members of the defending yacht club on the Race Committee. Though we started down a different, more independent path in 2007, there is ample precedent in the way that New York Yacht Club managed Cup affairs for rather a long while. The AC committee was formed out of NYYC. Simple. What's different now is a phrase in Article 8.6 of the SI's stating:

". . . the Race Committee may abandon any race prior to the first boat rounding the first mark where in its opinion there is a permanent wind shift of 30 or more from the course direction advised by the Race Committee at the Warning Signal."

When you're talking about a twenty-mile beat in the unstable weather of a Mediterranean February, you'd be hard put to ever get in a first beat without a 30-degree shift. Heck, we had a 180-degree shift on the final beat of Race Seven, 2007, and that was in the "stable" seabreeze conditions of summer.

8.6 says "may" rather than "shall." So when you get the shift, what are the criteria for abandoning or not? Our boat's trailing? Oh, they wouldn't do that. Kiwi PRO Harold Bennett has a reputation as an independent straight shooter, but it's not clear that he will be in charge of those decisions.

Perception versus reality versus perception versus infinitum.

At the Alinghi press conference, Bertarelli said that Ellison had "succeeded in reducing some of the Defender's advantage" by taking him to court repeatedly. He said, "If you throw enough pebbles you'll eventually get a hit."

As in, eight out of nine?


COUNTDOWN

It blew like stink last night. My little hotel on the beach was making six knots.

Morning was crystalline, and there across the Darsena was the familiar base of the long-gone China Team, rising like a city of the Anasazi after the people have disappeared. I think it was Cory Friedman who gave me that line. In a certain state of jetlag, things run together.

The 33rd defense of America's Cup needs a fraction of the port space of AC 32, because only two players are here, and it's the dead of winter, so you don't exactly have the crowd scenes of yore. Consorcio Valenciana was cranking up to draw people in over the weekend, however, and there was a notable uptick in police presence this a.m. What was a huge media center in 2007 has been moved to the ground floor of the handsome Varadero Publico building, which also houses SNG, the Race Committee, and the Jury. A short distance away, the Alinghi base was drawing people in. The cat was in the shed, with a work team crawling over it, but there was face painting for the eight year olds . . .

And it's hard to resist snapping a pic of a giant, curved daggerboard such as you've never laid fingers on before . . .

Following Friday's night's Estrella Dam party . . .

This once exhibit-packed pavilion was deserted . . .

But signage was still going up . . .

And, sorry, but I just don't have good memories of the phrase, Bring it on . . .

Back in the Media Center, Paul Cayard and Cam Lewis were plotting out their broadcast for Eurosport TV, which won't be available in the USA. The Fish was off to a long and probably liquid lunch as Dave Pedrick blended quietly into his laptop, and there amongst my notes I found this quote from Russell Coutts: "There's been a lot of talk about speed and safety, but you have professionals aboard these boats. You expect them to be able to drive their boats to fine tolerances. It's like Formula 1. Those cars go fast, and they're close. If you suggested to Formula 1 drivers that they shouldn't get too close, because it might be dangerous, they'd look at you like you were crazy. I think if you say the same thing to Jimmy Spithill you will get the same look."

Now as I write it's 63 minutes to the Owners' Press Conference, where we see if Larry Ellison follows through on his threat made last night, to not appear: "Russell Coutts has been explicitly excluded by name, and if Russell is excluded, I don't think I have the time to show up."

If you think things are tense between Bertarelli and Ellison, try bringing Bertarelli together with his former skipper, Coutts. Tick. Tick. No tock.

Related

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more