The New Zealand public is getting a great taste of what their tax dollars bought with New Zealand’s AC72 streaking all over the waterfront, followed daily by thousands via an Auckland webcam and dozens on the water. Meanwhile, America’s fans of ‘their’ team – Oracle Racing – are out in the cold, with a minimum of several weeks’ delay before we see anything in SF thanks to a weak daggerboard. But what if that delay is much, much longer?
If we believe one of our highly placed ORTUSA Anarchists (and now confirmed by at least one source), San Francisco might have to wait until next summer to see an American AC-72 go sailing on the mainland. Their gear failure means they lose pretty much the entire big wind season on SF Bay – by the time the boat is ready to go back in the water, it might be October, which usually means light air on the bay. It’s not the kind of testing conditions they’ll need to beat ETNZ, especially with their months-long headstart.
So where can the man who has everything find a relatively private, windy and flat place to go test his AC-72s this winter? Somewhere that isn’t too far from SF to fly back and forth easily? Answer: Hawaii. And how convenient: Larry Ellison just bought the island of Lanai for a reported $500+ million a couple of months ago.
We emphasize that this has not been confirmed by anyone official, and every AC rumor needs to be taken with a grain of salt, since they are frequently or just someone yanking our chain. But coming where it’s coming from, it should be pretty solid. If it is, not only will the SF fans miss out on all the fun, but the team and event sponsors will also be left out in the cold, along with many of those US-based fans that Ellison has said he’s looking for. And then, of course, there’s Artemis, who might be well and truly screwed. But if you need the breeze, you go and find it, n’est-ce pas?
When we know more, you’ll know more.