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gotta be multis…


gotta be multis…

I know that the America’s Cup community rarely reads the newspapers and most of the B’s have scant disregard for the notion that the world’s finances are on its arse and that we are in the depths of a global recession but to my mind the only way forward for the AC is to go multihulls for the next iteration of the Cup. It’s a no-brainer.

It’s pretty clear that BMWO and the big boys in the AC would like to see a global circuit that sort of mirrors the Bernie Ecclestone format of F1 leading up to a big match shoot out for the Cup itself and to be honest you just can’t do that in boring old monohulls. It’s a lofty ambition to think along the F1 circuit but it will work if everyone gets their heads out of their arses and stop believing in the fuddy-duddy out-dated notions of the Cup. This is 2010 and we’re planning for 2014-2015.

Yeah sure, the stated intention will be for James Dadd of RORC to come up with some kind of monohull “weapon” but quite frankly why bother? Nobody outside of the top sailors in the world actually gets excited by viewing monohulls unless it’s in 45 knots of wind and their arses are hanging out, masts are breaking and sails are ripping…

However, you do a straw poll in your place of work and ask how many people have seen a catamaran whilst they’re on their annual beach holiday with the kids and missus and nearly everyone will have seen one. Sure they may well call them “Cata-meringues” or “Hobby-Cats” (as my wife does) but you can be darned sure that they’ve all seen one and all have an opinion! So there’s your new audience and the TV stations start pricking their ears up.

Now when it comes to the racing, we have the opportunity with multihulls to really shake things up. Slalom courses, optional rig sizes, close to the shore racing etc etc…in short, the multis are just so much more versatile for a global spectacle.

Factor in too that you only need, say, a maximum of 4-5 egotistical, highly paid rock stars on board (rather than a cast of thousands on a monohull) plus the reduced transportation costs and shore crew and you also won’t be needing any environmentally-unfriendly engines or power packs to cant keels – this quickly becomes a no-brainer. The TV guys are still interested.

And the other big plus is that you effectively Grandfather the established, well overpaid hierarchy of yachting (Cayard, Butterworth, Davis perhaps even Couttsie-Coo) heralding a new era of Cup sailors – young, good looking multihull dudes who come without the awful baggage of the match-racing circuit and Olympic medals…man I can see $$$ signs and the TV companies are now forming an orderly queue alongside some multi-media organisation (whoa, were did they come from?).

Now for the televisual spectacle (one of the keys to the BMWO plan)…These boats have to sail in windy and glamorous venues. For a start, the armchair viewer has to go “Wow, look at that” or else you may as well forget it. We need huge capsizes, monster waves, spray, breakages, danger, juggling dogs (okay maybe not that far) but it has to be extreme sailing if the audience is going to be captivated. Helicopters need to be zooming in behind the boats at dangerous pitches with cameramen hanging out risking their lives. The onboard footage needs to be wide-screen, I want to feel the blisters, I want to feel the spray, I want to see the 3DL delaminating in front of my eyes, I want to hear the mast snapping with the biggest thunderclap in history as these things crash off the waves.

Therefore, number one on the venue requirement is wind and shit loads of it. Fuck the politics of the past with the likes of Valencia, Auckland etc and building special facilities so that you almost have an obligation to be there. We don’t need team bases and all that paraphernalia, just rock up with a few containers and everyone shares the same facilities. Sure cap the wage bill, cap the budgets but get some grand-prix style advertising and rebrand the sailors as “pilots” and herald them as the greatest things since sliced bread. Make superstars of the young sailors, hell even introduce an upper age limit – 30 sounds about right – bring some glamour in and tell the world that to sail these things requires youth and born-in talent (everyone will believe you, trust me). Make it a circus…

These should be weekend regattas like F1 that start on Thursday with a tune up, before practice on Friday, qualification on Saturday and a burn-up, balls out race on the Sunday. I want pit girls, WAGs and a lot of glamour…I don’t want salty sailors talking nonsense about two-boat lengths, windward boats, port and starboard etc etc…leave that to the Corinthians. Throw the rule book out of the window and stick two fingers up to the sailing hierarchy in their stuffy yacht clubs and challenge the established order of everything we have ever known. Tell ISAF exactly where to get off, have a vision and don’t be afraid to go to the extreme left-field (it’s quite nice over here by the way).

We have to have glamour back in this game but in such a fast multi-media world where kids consume media in the most extraordinary ways we need wam, bam, thankyou mam not some drawn out epic that the AC has become in recent times. If the next Cup goes anywhere near a court room, you can kiss this sweet little trophy goodbye, forever. This has to be the iPad Cup for the wireless generation.

Come on lads, step the game up…believe you can do it. Larry you have my number. Use it!

Magnus Wheatley