The folks at GGYC must have been smiling when they read our prognostications this morning about the next Cup – they love blowing even our own well-informed rumors out of the water, and this morning Press Conference did exactly that.
Not with respect to the boat – in fact, Pete Melvin started the meeting out confirming that, as the SA’ers confirmed months ago, the boat for the next AC would be a 72 foot wing sailed cat. And not with respect to the ‘baby cats’, the already-under-construction winged AC45s that will make up the competition boats for the 2011 AC circuit to ease teams into the new concept, and which will later be used for a ‘Junior AC’ circuit that will create a sort of minor leagues for future AC sailors.
No – the real surprise was the 2013 date for AC34 announced by GGYC Commodore Marcus Young with a smirk. Can San Francisco really make this happen in less than three years, or does the accelerated time table mean that a pre-cooked venue like Valencia is necessary? We doubt it: If you’re going to go to something that represents the ultimate in extreme sailing, you do it somewhere where extremeness is guaranteed.
Quote of the day comes from Vincenzo (paraphrased):
"When people write about the America’s Cup, they say that we are driving the Formula One of sailing. But I feel uncomfortable with this, because driving an IACC boat is like driving a truck. Today I am very happy, because I prefer to drive a Ferrari."
Will the short lead time and boat choice mean that BMW/Oracle has a distinct advantage for the next Cup? Of course it does, but so be it. The game has been changed, the bar has been raised, and the future of the sport’s top event has turned a corner that it probably should have two decades ago. Now it’s time for sailing to catch up.
Bravo, Russell. Bravo, Vincenzo.