America’s Cup: Dignity Demands Change

Published on October 25th, 2015

by Bob Fisher, Sailing World
Bermuda proved it could deliver what the America’s Cup Event Authority had requested, even if the World Series regatta was reduced to a single day. There was an unprecedented number of spectator craft (reliably estimated to be in excess of 1,500) and huge crowds ashore – the island was en fête. One thing, however, was sadly lacking for an event that is an integral part of the America’s Cup – gravitas.

That the regatta was reduced from two days to one, because of a total absence of wind on the first day, was further diminished in stature when the decision was made to hold three races on the second day rather than two. The decision meant that ultra short course would be necessary to hold all the races in the time allotted for television distribution to previously scheduled broadcast times.

The result was that the races took no longer than 14 minutes. These are races that could affect the outcome of the next Cup match. One wonders what George Schuyler and his associates would have thought of that. These were not matches of which they would approve or even condone. They must be turning in their graves at this insignificant contribution to the great panoply of yacht racing that was the America’s Cup.

As a spectacle, the Louis Vuitton ACWS in Bermuda was a success. The traders along Front Street (off which the six boats were moored) have glazed eyes and sticky fingers from their trading over the three days. The Premier, Michael Dunkley, stated: “I am bursting with pride . . . If you think this was exciting, just wait for 2017 – it’s going to be even bigger and better.”

Gone, it seems, is the reverence in which the event was once held. – Full report

MORE: Bob Fisher is an intent observer of the America’s Cup, authoring books and articles which have followed the history of the event. Thus far, Bob is not impressed with the direction of the event. In an April 2015 letter to the organizers, Bob said: “I cannot escape notice of what you are doing to the America’s Cup – it has been nothing short of a disgrace to the premier event in the sport of Sailing. You have abused it, misused it and reduced it to no more than an average regatta…” Full letter here.

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