money go round

There is a lot of sailing media covering up for, obfuscating and just spinning  about the cancellation of the Youth America’s Cup. Like that’s some sort of shock; whenever the AC is mentioned, journos swoon like brides on their wedding day.

The Youth America’s Cup was abandoned not because of COVID-19, but because not enough teams were prepared to pay the $150,000 entry fee. It seems that money would have given them access to a boat in Auckland and other support, but on top of that would have been their travel costs, etc., etc. In these troubled times, the financial hurdle was apparently too high. This is what comes of turning the America’s Cup into a commercial enterprise.

What nobody wants to admit is that the Youth America’s Cup was a rather lame attempt to give the whole obscene Auckland circus a veneer of moral virtue – “Brownie Points” as it were – much like the silly junior SailGP pantomime in which young sailors faffed around in clunky colored cats before the main event (with absolutely nobody watching).

And the bizarre contradiction in all this is that the Youth America’s Cup was to be sailed in identical foiling monos – precisely the opposite principle that underlies the America’s Cup itself which is as much a design and technology competition as it is a sailing contest. If the kids want to go match racing, there are already scores of events around the world for that version of our sport.

Trying to scrape together some justification for the ridiculous excesses of the Cup by enlisting the positive values of youth sailing was always a transparent and hypocritical gesture. It’s not as if talented young sailors need to be encouraged to aspire to America’s Cup glory – they’d all kill to be on one of the teams.

Title inspiration thanks to The Style Council.