America’s Cup: Questions and Answers

Published on July 28th, 2015

As the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) in Portsmouth last weekend launched the 35th America’s Cup racing program in Portsmouth, it also launched some questions among the Scuttlebutt readers. Here are two that were asked and answered…

DEAR CURMUDGEON: Ben Ainslie’s winning team listed a crew position as ‘bow/tactician’. For us old-fashioned monohull sailors, what does that mean? – SINGLE HULL SAILOR

DEAR SAILOR: Since there is a crew limit (or specifically, a crew weight limit), the tactician has to be a multi-tasker, so it is a matter of finding out what their other task(s) will be. Sometimes teams list them, but often they don’t.

Land Rover BAR crew list included skipper Ben Ainslie, wing trimmer Paul Campbell-James, runner David ‘Freddie’ Carr, trimmer Nick Hutton and bow/tactician Giles Scot.

However, Oracle Team USA list includes skipper Jimmy Spithill and Tom Slingsby as tactician with Kyle Langford trimming the wing, Kinley Fowler trimming and Louis Sinclair working the bow.

Giles is also arguably the best Finn sailor in the world, and possibly the most physically capable tactician in the America’s Cup, so dealing with the code zero is well within his skill set. – THE CURMUDGEON
DEAR CURMUDGEON: Since the America’s Cup World Series is now the first stage of the Challenger Selection Series for the 35th America’s Cup, why is the defender of the America’s Cup taking part in the event? – PUZZLED ABOUT PROTOCOL

DEAR PUZZLED: The short answer is that it is good practice for Oracle Team USA to participate in the event. They did take part in the previous ACWS, though the very real difference is that edition was purely exhibition and this edition does count for challenger selection.

This debate began when Swiss defender Alinghi proposed a similar format after they won the 2007 America’s Cup but was roundly criticized for the suggestion. Let’s not forget that it was Oracle Team USA that took the Alinghi team to the New York Supreme Court over that event Protocol.

There was an era of the America’s Cup when the challengers sought to minimize any advantage of the defender, but the challengers of the modern era seem to have a more conciliatory approach. – THE CURMUDGEON

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