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return fire

We shouldn’t be surprised that SS (“Shanghai Sailor”) wants to take a swing at me for my recent commentary on the America’s Cup. It was SS who insisted, a month ago, that I was wrong to doubt the chances of INEOS becoming the challenger. A certain amount of egg on face there, old sport…

His rebuttals are a mixture of preposterously pedantic hair-splitting and ‘straw man’ arguments against positions I have never proposed. In short:

*  The flurry of media releases aren’t “rumour from the 42nd cousin”. They have been issued by, amongst others, Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal Yacht Squadron, INEOS, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and the New York Yacht Club. Those sources are not quite “the guy who cleans the toilets”.

*  If, as SS claims, the America’s Cup has not become a commercial entity, how is it that its location has been offered to the highest bidder for the past three series? Looks awfully like goods for sale by any reasonable definition.

*  Host cities for major sporting events (such as the Olympics), will always claim that huge financial benefits have followed, yet they can never prove their inflated numbers (just like SailGP can’t prove their claimed TV viewing figures). It’s self-serving boosterism to justify the vast amounts of taxpayer dollars that funded their ego trips.

*  To deny that INEOS is the real “Challenger of Record” is absurd pedantry. Does SS seriously suggest that the RSYR would mount a challenge without the INEOS team and its financial backing?

*  Similarly, what does it matter whether the major cost component of a contemporary challenge is in the staff salaries or the actual outlays to build a boat? The totals are what count, and they are obscene.

*  I have never suggested adding a spinnaker to the AC75s. My point is that if the Cup was sailed in more conventional boats, with spinnakers, then there would be a return to crew work as a crucial component of the contest. (In that context I note that SS fails to rebut my assertion that the AC75s could have been sailed by remote control.)  

And speaking of failures, SS also can’t cite a single instance of there being a ‘trickle down’ benefit for we ordinary sailors from the swing-foil monomarans. Being “out there” on an IMOCA is all well and good, but development has to have some broad benefit beyond keeping an elite cohort of specialists in well-paid employment.

– anarchist David