Sailing industry watchers will notice that, as has happened in the past, yacht racing is one of the last ‘industries’ to pick up after a recession and only after years of economic expansion is interest likely to grow again. Big boat classes and events are low in numbers and gaining or losing a few boats can make a considerable difference to how well the event or fleet is seen to be doing.
Both the America’s Cup and the Volvo, to some extent sailing’s role models, are not looking all that flash. The Cup, maybe too extreme in the varying of its weapon of choice between Matches, is slow out of the blocks in terms of teams joining. The Volvo seriously lacks direction; I expect a complete change of philosophy from the Swedish carmaker – better late than never. Cannot imagine they are going to pay for yet another generation of Volvo one-design boats, only to find potential teams twisting their arms continuously for ever more support.
The Super Series and the TP52 class were, in terms of participation, banking heavily on the America’s Cup for their 2018 growth. But seen from the perspective of today, given the low AC commitment and the information that has to date been released about the next Cup boat, the bar is so far away from the relative simplicity of a TP52 that it takes some imagination to see so many benefits to having the Super Series as the first step on quite a long ladder to the old mug itself – other than keeping shore and boat crew on their toes in high-level competition.
Still the 52 Super Series will see three Cup teams at what looks like a 12-boat opening event in Sibenik, Croatia, of which in reality only Luna Rossa is an addition to the fleet. Quantum Racing (Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association) and Gladiator (Land Rover BAR) are longterm Super Series entries already. – Read on.