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now boys…

We love a good pissing contest, this between two of our contributors!

Could you ask David to get his facts right – it makes the site look silly when inaccurate “facts” are included in his articles.

The ‘flurry of breathless media’ is often based on a rumour from the 42nd cousin of the guy who cleans the toilets in a pub where some of one of the team members drink. Admittedly some leads prove correct such as the one on SA front page right after the finish that it was indeed RYSR that were the CoR – much else is guesswork, invention or wishful thinking.

That the RYSR is there because the Cup has grown too large is pure invention in itself as many, if not most, of the Yachts Clubs in the UK are companies limited by guarantee to protect members from a financial meltdown at their club. This was the very structure of my  lf club in Scotland and we never even had any thoughts of an AC Challenge.

Perhaps the RYS put the RYSR in place because of the America’s Cup but it is in itself NOT an indicator of the expense of the club. Besides the financial liability lies with the team and not the club of challenge.

The Cup is NOT a free standing commercial entity, it is held in trust by (currently RNZYS). Sure it costs a lot to run, quite apart from team costs and is no more a commercial entity than any club running any regatta. Sure it might be registered as a ‘limited company’ but as the name suggests that is purely a vehicle to protect the trustee (RNZYS) from financial fallout, or in the unlikely scenario of massive profits from running the regatta dealing with the relevant tax authorities.

As far as a city “falling for the shopworn old sales pitch” I think the bean crunchers of city or national governments are rather more financially adept than Anarchist David is suggesting. In fact an independent report after RNZYS’s first defence estimated the event generated an NZ$4Bn benefit to the New Zealand economy.

INEOS is NOT the Challenger of Record. To suggest it is clearly states that David has no real understanding of the mechanics of the America’s Cup and its ultimate governing document the Deed of Gift as amended in 1956 & the southern hemisphere Amendment of 1985 and I make that statement as a former Commodore of a challenging club.

And as far as “bizarre best of three race series” In recent times? Does that mean the America’s Cups of 1876, 1881, 1885, 1886, 1887 which were all won 2-0 were also bizarre? In fact best of 7 only came in with the J-Class in 1930.

He also completely misses the point that the increase in costs is NOT primarily due to the costs of the boat itself but all the human costs of a large team. A second hand J-Class will set you back Euro 7-12m –  based on current market prices. Of course you could always cut costs and run it in Lasers.

The J-Class, in their day, were viewed just as expensive and complex as the AC75s are today. The first electric wind instruments, composite hulls that reportedly fizzed when put in salt water, metal masts of that size. The winged keels that were first around in 1983 on the likes of A2 and Victory 83 (even Dennis Connor tried to obtain plans) were innovative in their day although they could already be found on a number of cruising boats.

EVERY America’s Cup pushes the technological boundaries of ways to gain advantage. Schnakenberg’s sails on A2 were a huge factor along with the winged keel. In 1995 the Kiwis put laminated wooden wings on one of their boats because they local machine shops were going to take 3-4 weeks to make them -the AC has always pushed the boundaries of yacht design, innovate

on and inventiveness . Perhaps if he read a history of the AC he might understand that, either “The Lawson History of the America’s Cup” or “An Absorbing Interest” which is somewhat more up to date.

He seems to know little about match racing itself as his comment “Even the youth match-racing circuit allows five minutes of pre-start combat” is out by 25%. Appendix C gives a penalty if a boat is inside the “H” (he can look that up) at FOUR minutes. 

Ian Williams who has done a bit of match racing (enough to be a 6 times world champion) recently commented “”by reducing the entry time to only two mins before the start, the circling (time wasting) phase has been all but removed also”. He went on to say “But one phase of a traditional match racing pre-start – the lead/follow phase – has been replicated quite closely with the new boats, albeit at much increased speeds”.

Those quotes by the way, are not from America’s Cup but from the WMRT. I know who I would listen to with regard to the pre-start and the whole article is well worth reading.

America’s Cup: Expert pre-start tactical analysis from Ian Williams | Yacht Racing Life

David then goes on to criticising the “Restricting the boats to a jib-and-main sail plan”. Lets be quite clear that the only thing restricting sail choice in the event was boat speed. When you have a boat speed downwind of 35+ knots in a breeze of 10 Knots the apparent wind is drawn so far forward that only a flat sail – and boy were these sails flat – could work. If David could design a spinnaker that could fly in those conditions I am sure North Sails would snap him up quicker than they did Tom Whidden.

I could go on but I will finish with his inane comments about the Etchells and Laser. They are one design classes with strict one design rules therefore a good choice to make his argument. The Laser still hasn’t allowed laminate sails, the Etchells still doesn’t have winged keels, because there are strict class rules. 

On the other hand development classes like the International Moth allow both laminates in the sail plan and foils on the keels and which class is growing faster??

Handicap systems still struggle with canting keels which have been around for a couple of decades let alone foil assistance – DSS is still a nightmare to handicap and even the IMOCA Class has been slow to adopt full foiling BUT they are getting there and as far as the Ultimes are concerned? Well wow – just wow.

Many sports have innovations. Motor sport had (20-30 years ago) active suspension on F1 cars – how many road cars have that fitted to them? Even running recently had new footwear that added ‘bounce’ to a runners gait (I believe they have been banned) but how many ‘ordinary joggers’ will be able or want to afford them – if they could find them.

Our sport deserves, perhaps needs, an elite ‘out there’ event. We mere mortals should perhaps be grateful there are backers or sponsors as well as sailors that want to be part of it. 

For the rest of us? Well, if we don’t like it we can always change channel. Oh wait, nobody’s covering other sailing in anything like the same depth.  – SS