Watched the Saturday Sail GP ‘races’ (quotes intentional, explained later), held Saturday/Sunday in Chicago on a patch of Lake Michigan water off Navy Pier. Yes the speeds were impressive, yes the course and boundaries brought the ‘action’ (also intentional) close to the fleet of spectator boats anchored on the perimeter or seated in the VIP stands on the Pier.
But these positives couldn’t overcome the Big Negative: each race was boring; a parade following the boat that won the start. Perhaps there was some intrigue to see who finished 2, 3, or 4th. Very few port/starboard encounters, the narrow width of the course minimized “inside vs outside” pressure decisions. Forget about ‘overtaking’ and the gates largely eliminated any ‘rounding rules’.
The TV coverage, trying hard to crank up the hype machine (thanks to Todd Harris’ hyperventilated announcing), never addressed why the American boat sat for 45-minutes as the other 8 boats buzzed around, dialing in their numbers, with at least 2 visits by a chase boat. What happened? What broke? Why? What was the ‘quick fix’? Nothing.
Something must have broken, cuz even though they started each race Saturday, the USA boat had to race hard each race to avoid finishing DFL, barely successful. At least they didn’t use a winch to induce loads not designed, like a certain Aussie boat, that broke in half and sank.
The overall impression is that in a large part these were boring as hell IMO, One Design on steroids; win the start, make no mistakes, win the race in less than 12- minutes, mill about, start, repeat. Ugh.
Grumpy Old Man out…