If you are looking to assign blame for the debacle formerly known as the America’s Cup, look no further than this picture. The picture is pretty, but the story isn’t. At Alinghi’s insistence, they have made sure that this soon to be white elephant (if it isn’t already) can’t race in waves much over one meter high or winds that are 15 knots, limitations that are patently ridiculous. And that is precisly why there was no race yesterday. Alinghi (a made up word, btw, in case you have forgotten, and about as genuine as Bertarelli’s intentions) has created a light air only cat that they want to be raced in light air only, so that they only can win. That’s called stacking the deck, and that is why, in large part, this event is a joke. And a very bad one at that. And yet there’s more. Based on the very suspect decision by the R/C to throw in the towel yesterday, one also has to wonder if EB has them in his pocket as well. We can’t wait to be proven wrong on that.
But really, we know where the finger needs to be pointed, and here’s the perfect example: Said Alinghi crew member Ed Baird “If we capsize, it’s going to be a disaster. The boat “will explode in a thousand pieces."
So what? Isn’t that part of the risk of true competition, especially one involving racing sailboats in the ocean? Or should the event be held in six knots and flat water so the paid minions like Baird can make sure his boss’s prized toy is not pressed in any real way? And then they can sail their neat little three race regatta, and afterwards, nobody will have to answer any real questions with any real answers. And then they can all go home as "winners", with a nice, smug sense of self satisfaction that once again the wool was pulled over eyes that should have never allowed it to happen. I believe the word is called ‘duped’.
Is this the new AC? if so then congratulations are in order to the guilty for creating, al least up until now, one of the biggest embarrassments in all of sport. Maybe we’ll still see some interesting racing between these fascinating machines. But what have we seen to date that would lead one to that tenuous conclusion? Let’s see what Friday brings and then you will have your answer.
Thanks very much to Kaufmann & Forster for the great photo.