There’s a huge weight off our shoulders this week, because we’ve finally reached inner peace about the America’s Cup. Our realization has urged us to share the following note. Title inspiration from the Specials.
Dear Larry and Ernesto:
We wanted you to know that we are genuinely sorry about the way we’ve treated both of you. At the times we criticized both of you for your illogical, backwards, seemingly insane decisions about America’s Cup issues, we failed to understand just how poisonous the Cup is. Worse yet, we failed to realize that we’d been infected, too.
We’ve compared the past two holders of the Cup as infected by ownership of the Cup just as Lord of the Ring’s Gollum was infected by ‘The Precious,’ and little did we know that its effect extends far beyond physical contact. That same force – let’s call it Dyscuptopia – that caused otherwise wildly successful entrepreneur/sailors to so perfectly fail in their grandiose goals actually led us to believe that the America’s Cup had some sort of duty to the wider sport in the USA. When we chased the first wing-sailed Cup boat in history all over San Diego, when we broadcast live talk shows from the BMR Oracle compound in Valencia, and when we snuck onstage to hold the Cup after it was wrestled away from Bertarelli’s willd plans, we became invested. And more importantly, infected.
Sure, Larry, your and Russell’s very vocal plans to revolutionize the public face of sailing while bringing in millions in revenue helped lead us down this primrose path, where we walked along with sponsorship directors, the governments of several municipalities and various nongovernmental organizations. But we’re Sailing Anarchy – the site that prides itself on brutal honesty, run by a couple of the most jaded, cynical bastards anyhere. We should have known better.
Instead, we got mad, and until the other day, we stayed that way. Mad when the USA got rapidly washed out of the US Team. Mad when poor recruiting snowballed into a failed media push. Mad at the secrecy and opacity rife in the event, magnified by the continuing silence more than a year since Bart’s death. And mostly, mad at the incredible wealth spent on the San Francisco Cup while almost nothing went to the marketing, sustainability or infrastructure of the sport that makes it all possible; a wasted opportunity in a nation that’s lost three quarters of its sailing population over the past 30 years.
When Bernie Wilson broke the Bermuda venue story last week, we started to write a typically scathing editorial and planned a trip to the December 2nd Press Conference. We’d put Russell’s feet to the fire in front of hundreds of journalists, we would! And then we thought about it for a second, and wondered why we gave even the tiniest shit. And that’s when we knew it wasn’t a logical reaction, rather, it was the dreaded Dyscuptopia, which we’ll define as ‘the unshakeable conviction that the afflicted can and must use the America’s Cup for some incredibly grand purpose.’
When the fog cleared, we realized that Larry doesn’t owe anyone a goddamned thing. It’s his Cup, it’s his regatta, and if his top employee wants to make a sustainable America’s Cup in Bermuda, more power to him. And to be perfectly frank, it shouldn’t be that fucking hard, as long as everyone cuts their expectations by about 90%. The Extreme Sailing Series and World Match Race Tour have proved that a combination of venue fees and hospitality/b-to-b sponsorship can fund solid racing series. All you have to do is make the boats cheap enough and have sponsorship hunters that are slick enough, and repeat as needed.
So with a final sigh, we shrug off our Dyscuptopia, and close the chapter on our criticism and legal analysis of the commercialization, litigation, and Russel-ization of the Oracle America’s Cups. We will certainly not hide from reporting on the inevitable screwups, boondoggles, or the public’s continued loss of interest, but our anger is gone, and we’ve accepted that the America’s Cup will never be what it could be.
And we’ll be on Bermuda’s beautiful Great Sound to watch some catamaran racing – all thanks to Larry and Russell. And we’ll be watching tomorrow’s press conference from the warmth of South Beach.