America's Cup Watch

America's Cup Watch

Monday October 22 2012 Author: jrusso Location: none selected

 CAPSIZING FOR FUN AND PROFIT 

The headlines on all the web and social media sites were about the AC 72 doing a heels over head manouver. We are in early days for the Cup and these boats, the drive to win is relentless and produces tender fast boats that need a long learning curve before they are sailed properly. However, there is a new element in this Cup that has not really been discussed in the articles and blogs. For instance Matthew Sheahan covers the technical aspects of the 72's just brilliantly in Yachting World (November). His focus on the foils and the winglets is insightfull, yet there may be a bigger picture. 

The Cup may be intentionally marketed now as an extreme sailing event. Capsizes like NASCAR crashes or hockey pile-ups bring in the clicks, eyeballs and interest. Red Bull is a sponsor for the Cup and daredevil antics are at the center of their wheelhouse.

We may be seeing a new and different America's Cup challenge, one that breaks with the past forever. We may be seeing Cup races that more resemble extreme sporting events rather than seamanship and safety. 

The fun is only beginning as more of these yachts will be coming online soon. All this will change in a heartbeat, however, if there is a serious injury when something goes wrong. If a out of control boat crashes into it's match racing partner or there is a major gear failure or just another capsize that results in real hurt, the teams will have to rethink their plans. 

For now the instability adds a level of interest, let's hope it stays that way.

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