Earlier this week we ran a piece on Jim Clark, owner of J-Class Replica Hanuman and his decision to pull out of Antigua Classics Week. Here is Clark’s latest letter on the subject…
There seems to quite a stir amongst the owners and the yachting press regarding my cancellation of Hanuman/Endeavour II participation in the races in Antigua. Let me explain my reasoning more fully and make a proposal for a J-Class event.
From the beginning, it has been my impression that for rule-conformance and safety, there were 4-6 professionals on each J-Class boat that is raced. This is the spirit of the J-Class rules that I was told, and everyone involved in my building of Endeavour II/Hanuman will attest to this.
As I slowly got drawn towards this Antigua event, I put together a team in this spirit, but I was adamant that I not spend a lot of money just to win a race. Then I heard for the first time that Ranger had 17 paid professionals, and I chose not to compete against a professional team.
The world of sail-boat racing can be quite fun, but spending obscene amounts of money to win a race, in the opinion of most reasonable people, is not a very worthy thing to do. It contributes to an elitist image of sailing, which I have never wanted to be a part of. As a result, I have never gotten involved in professional racing. No one begrudges the professionals who make their living doing this, but those of us who spend lavishly to win a race should at least contribute to the world in other ways.
Like all of you, I consider the J-Class boats the most spectacular and beautiful America’s Cup boats ever made, and it would certainly be a major event to see them all racing together in a highly visible venue. But we have the opportunity to improve this sport for such an event by setting an example, rather than continuing to contribute to its elitist image, such as in the current America’s Cup, where the spending has gotten completely out of control.
So I make the following proposal to the owners of the J-Boats: Read on.