The Canada’s Cup may not mean much to most of the world. it’s a Grade 5 (do they even have grades that high?) match race in Farr 40s under the restrictive F40 Class Rules between teams that – and let’s be honest here – aren’t exactly America’s Cup material. So while the world could give a crap, the folks that grew up on or near the Great Lakes care more than the rest of the sailing community can fathom.
It’s got an incredible history – a true challenge cup a hundred years old, with design as a major element, the Canada’s Cup saw some great battles between Great Lakes clubs, with some of the most innovative thinking in racing coming to bear along with some incredibly talented sailors. With freshwater clubs banned by the terms of the third AC deed, the CC was the top aspiration of thousands of midwest US and Canadian sailors and clubs. And it still means a lot to all of them, as evidenced by our server meltdown when tens of thousands of you followed Bob Hughes’ Macatawa Bay team’s defeat of the Royal Canadians during our coverage of the 2007 Canada’s Cup.
But there’s trouble in them thar hills, and it came down the pike last week when Don Wilson’s Chicago Match Race Center issued a press release announcing that they would be hosting Grant Hood (misstated as "Woods" in the Release) and the Port Credit Yacht Club for a Canada’s Cup in Chicago this coming October. No mention of Macatawa, except for a bit of boilerplate explaining that the Michigan Club might possible be hosting some racing in 2011. No mention of the fact that neither PCYC nor CMRC had any claim to the Canada’s Cup at all.
The text from the Press Release is here, though we’re having trouble finding it on the CMRC website where it was the other day. There’s still a page for the Cup itself, but exactly what that means, we don’t know yet.
But here’s what we do know:
-The Canada’s Cup is owned by the RCYC in Toronto. Whether the terms of its Deed are even valid is a real question.-Macatawa Bay dragged its feet on getting a 2010 event up and running, which was a condition of their agreement with the RCYC that allowed the 2007 event to happen. We’ve been told that RCYC actually enabled the delay, but the details are not available just yet. Macatawa had some valid excuses, but still, they were bound to an agreement that they didn’t fulfill.-Hood and RCYC want a 2010 Canada’s Cup to happen so badly that they’ve picked a pretty awful time of year to sail on Lake Michigan (much less to spectate) and with just six week’s notice to the world, they’ve guaranteed that very few people will be paying attention. -Part of the arrangement to allow Wilson to defend a title that he has no claim to included consent from both Wilson and Hood to sail in Macatawa in 2011 for the Cup, the winner of the 2010 event as Defender.
With quite a bit of Great Lakes uproar building behind this quiet move to essentially strip the cup from its defender, it’ll be interesting to see if the event goes off as planned. While we understand the RCYC’s desire to see a CC event happen, it seems to us that there must have been a better way to go about it, and that a mid-October Canada’s Cup with these two parties racing might just do more harm than good to a title with a storied past and a lacklustre recent history, and a trophy that’s worth fighting for – in the Great Lakes, at least. Check in on the thread.