It’s rare to get a solid event report from a non-racer, so here’s one: Anarchist “WetHog” and his take on the America’s Cup World Series – Newport. For a glimpse at the first American sailboat race with a crowd in a long time, check the Red Bull vid.
Racing: I loved it. Sure most races were decided at the start, but tell me what AC related races aren’t? Difference with the AC45’s is they are crazy fast and the possibility of whoever is in the lead fucking up is real (Just ask Mr. Coutts after his Fleet Race fuck up yesterday). If I was watching IACC yachts on Saturday I would of been picked up for public intoxication because I would have sucked that Bar on the point dry of all its fabulous Bud Bottles waiting for the races to end.
The Boats Simply bad ass. On Thursday I caught a glimpse of all 8 boats on their moorings from downtown Newport on the way to the Fort and I got a shiver up my spine. When I first saw them up close on Thursday I simply lost it and started prancing around trying to get pictures of them, my wife can testify to that. Then seeing them in action made all my misgivings about the AC in cats go away immediately. The boats are wicked (local lingo rubbed off on me) fast and any questions I had about their maneuverability in match racing conditions was wiped away. Simply put, the size/scale and speed of these boats is awesome. I am sold on cats in the AC, to a point.
My one reservation about cats in the AC after witnessing the ACWS Newport event in person is what the 72’s will bring to the show. Sure they will be double what the 45’s are, and that will be cool, but the 72’s won’t be OD boats. As some have pointed out, in the 45’s a lot of the time the boat in the lead at the start won. What’s going to happen when it becomes clear one (or maybe two) team hits the right design of their 72’s and the rest didn’t? Its going to make the ass kicking Spithill put on the field in Fleet Race #1 on Saturday look like a neck and neck race. Me personally, I could watch the 45’s sail in single file line all day and it would be awesome because those boats are just so damn cool to watch in person, but ass kicking after ass kicking in 72’s will not bring eyes to TV screens.
Venue: Fabulous. Fort Adams was a perfect location for the races. As you could see from my videos and pictures, I had a front row seat, and so did thousands of my friends, and I never got wet or had to get on the water. My only gripe was the limited means of getting to the Fort. By car it was fine, but it was $20 a pop to park. Water Taxi was impossible because there were 2 Water Taxi’s, or at least it seemed like it. The lines for the Water Taxi’s both in Newport and at the Fort were crazy long. Riding a bike in was surely the best way to go, but then if I had a dollar for every close call I saw, or was a part of, between a bike rider and a car I would of had enough money to buy a six pack of the $6 Buds I loved so much at the Bar on the Point. I would love to know how many bike riders got clipped by a car. I am sure some did. Can’t see how they couldn’t have.
One obvious missed opportunity was the use of the inside of the Fort. Inside Fort Adams is huge and could of been used a lot better than what it was. Inside was a row of food stands, maybe 8 food vendors, of various types and every one of them did their part in gouging us fans. $3 for a 12 oz can of Coke, and $8 for a beef brisket sandwich that was more fat than beef is not what I call value for the money. More food vendors and more shade for us fans to relax would of been fabulous, especially considering signs saying "NO COOLERS" were placed in every possible spot heading to the Fort in all directions. Also, the one video screen to see the video feed of the racing was too small. They should of had a bigger video screen inside the fort with a big ass tent for old folk and parents with small kids to get a break from the sun. There was a large tent inside the Fort, but it had displays and such, no place to sit. There were a bunch of wooden picnic tables to sit at, but they were not under tents. So I had to roast while I ate my roasted sandwich.
My final comment about the venue: I do not need to be hounded by every volunteer for the ACWS that I run into about if I have a ticket for the event before I even get close to the place where I need a frigging ticket to enter. Both Thursday and Saturday I was stopped at least 15 times by volunteers demanding (in a nice way) to see my ticket to make sure I had a ticket for that days event. One time, no bullshit, I had 3 volunteers line up behind each other to ask to see my ticket while I was busy trying to get my double stroller put together so I could get down to the water to see the friggin boat race. It was beyond stupid.
Newport is a really neat town. Being born, raised, and still living in Annapolis I felt right at home in Newport. All the history, both American and America’s Cup, within a short walk or drive is fabulous. From downtown Newport to Mansion Row, to picking raspberries, to feeding cracked out goats its a great vacation destination for anyone on the east coast. Even better is the weather. For my entire trip the temp never got over 85 degrees and their was always a steady breeze blowing. My brother in law’s 5-year-old house has no central air because its not needed. He told me the week or so before temps got close to 90 degrees and there was a run on window unit AC’s at the local Home Depot. Considering it was 100+ degrees back in Annapolis while I was gone, Newport was heaven.
In conclusion, I would consider the ACWS Newport event a success. Access to the pits and the views from the shore were great, and the town of Newport is great. If the ACWS returns to Newport I will be in attendance.