AC34: Step Forward or Step Backward?

Published on June 17th, 2013

By Eric Sorensen, Scuttlebutt contributor
Bruce Bates makes an excellent point in Scuttlebutt 3861 on the longevity of the latest generation of America’s Cup boats. I have sailed on the 12m Weatherly and one of the IACC Stars and Stripes. Both are still floating, if not in race shape; at least hopefully usable condition. AC33 multihulls will never be sailed again. Too many man hours to launch and get ready for the loads that are induced by the wind and sea. Also, they are just too darn big.

The AC 34 boats by comparison are scaled back in an effort to reduce costs (not accomplished). The AC72 will be a twitchy boat at best and for a group of average sailors, this will not be safe. Any of the extreme multihulls in existence will have this issue. I suspect these average sailors could drive one of the winged monsters across the bay and back as I could drive a lap at reduced speed in an F1, assuming the crew could shoehorn my length in the cockpit.

The point of this America’s Cup is to have a competition of the best sailors in the fastest boats (as unmercifully advertised by the AC Media). Many would love to see some rational basis for the common man watching and then rooting for a favorite. The hired guns on board and the seemingly limitless expense make them all seem like the evil empire. Where is the underdog that has a chance? No national spirit unless you count the flag at the top of the wing. That flag will have to be enough for this go round.

One can hope for a modification in the future edition of the AC in boats that will last more than one edition but the rate of change in the world in all things continues to increase (take cell phones for example). Why would one expect sailing to take a break in pushing the envelope of change?

The rules of old with nationality attached would be a good start in some sort of continuance that could be sustained. Build the boat in country; put a crew from country on it. National pride would be served and potentially international interest built.

We would still need the pros of design, build, line handlers, tacticians, and mega buck owners that have served to keep this competition alive for all these years. Hopefully, we can attach some home spun pride to them next time. Something keeps this contest alive and interesting; maybe this edition (AC34) is just a taste of what is to come.

comment banner

Tags: , ,

Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your download by email.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.