Why bother match racing at 4 knots when the America’s Cup demands you race at 40? I asked the Italians from Luna Rossa this question at the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia. Meanwhile, what to make of Iain Murray’s job change, from gamekeeper to poacher? And which other big-name Australians will follow the ‘Big Fella’ to Hamilton Island?
The 34th America’s Cup was great, and all the more so after what was the least competitive, most dull and least well attended Louis Vuitton Cup in its 30 year history. As I wrote three years ago, and three years before that, the last two Challengers of Record have not challenged at all, but rolled over to have their tummies tickled by the Defender. This time we’re hoping the new Challengers of Record, the Oatleys from Australia, will be less poodle and more bulldog.
I have barely drawn breath since Oracle’s stunning comeback on San Francisco Bay. A month later, it becomes increasingly clear that the 34th America’s Cup will go down as a classic. A defining moment in the event’s long history. But already for the sailors, the 34th Cup is ancient history as they try to make sense of an uncertain future...
After a summer of some of the most high-speed but dull racing the world never wanted to see, the America’s Cup Final delivered some of the most spectacular, unpredictable match racing in the event’s 162-year history. I thought the 2007 final between New Zealand and Alinghi was great. San Francisco 2013 was better.
The two races I witnessed of the Louis Vuitton Cup finals in San Francisco, I was fortunate to see two boats cross the finish line, both intact and still sailing. Until that point, the challenger finals had been a war of attrition, with a nosedive bringing the Kiwis precariously close to capsizing their usually impeccably sailed AC72, Aotearoa.
Changing the rules at the last minute... was it for safety reasons or to gain competitive advantage? In a game where anything goes in the quest for victory, this could be seen as typical Machiavellian fare for the America’s Cup. Trouble is, so soon after the death of Andrew Simpson, quibbling over the merits of ‘rudder elevators’ seems a bit trivial and tasteless.
Thirty years ago I remember waking up and hurrying downstairs to open the Daily Telegraph and find out who had won the America’s Cup. In a pre-internet age, news travelled slowly, and so did the boats. But Australia II’s victory was a massive day for Australia and a major turning point for the Cup. Fast-forward 30 years, and the boats are six-times quicker but far fewer in number. So will 2013 go down as a vintage year in Cup history?
The death of Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson has been a huge wake-up call for the organisers of the America’s Cup who have been mounting an eleventh hour review of safety issues, things that should have been discussed and resolved after Oracle’s AC72 capsize last October. All too late for Bart, but let’s hope these safety proposals will avert further fatalities this summer.
Alas, Naples marked the end of the America’s Cup World Series which has lit up the sailing world for the past two seasons. So why weren’t some of the big guns in Italy? The Defender and Challenger of Record had more important work to be done on San Francisco Bay. But if the top table of Oracle doesn’t show up at its own party, why should the rest of the world care?
Alas, Naples marked the end of the America’s Cup World Series which has lit up the sailing world for the past two seasons. So why weren’t some of the big guns in Italy? The Defender and Challenger of Record had more important work to be done on San Francisco Bay. But if Oracle doesn’t show up at its own party, why should the rest of the world care?