America’s Cup: History, Broadcast, Rant

Published on June 8th, 2016

HISTORY: With the America’s Cup program “finally” on freshwater June 11-12, the foiling AC45F catamarans are about to take flight at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series stop in the Windy City.

Oracle Team USA sailor Matt Cassidy is a genuine product of the Midwest, growing up in Michigan, and then living in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, spending several years racing on Lake Michigan before getting the call to defend the America’s Cup in 2017.

America’s Cup history goes back further than that in Chicago, of course. For one, the right seed was planted in the mind of a young Larry Ellison, growing up on Chicago’s south side, gazing from the shore one summer at the boats sailing on Lake Michigan, aspiring someday to go sailing himself. Which eventually he did, and with success.

Though the history of the America’s Cup is inextricably intertwined with that of eastern sailing and the New York Yacht Club, it is worth noting that yachting’s most famous regatta has intersected with Chicago in several other ways, too. Here are some highlights (and maybe a few surprises)… click here.

BROADCAST: With the 35th America’s Cup eager to provide a watchable broadcast product, the delivery by US network NBC during the America’s Cup World Series event in New York City (May 7-8) proved to be an absolute embarrassment. By cutting away mid-action for commercial breaks, they disrespected the sport and demonstrated a lack of understanding for what they had signed up for.

Will NBC do a better job at the ACWS event in Chicago? The America’s Cup Event Authority claims they will, which might be why, unlike the live coverage of the NYC event, Chicago coverage will be tape delayed:

June 11
Racing: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM ET
NBCSN: 5:00 PM-7:00 PM ET

June 12
Racing: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM ET
NBCSN: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM ET

June 19
NBC (highlight show) 1:30PM – ? ET

Additional information on how to watch on television and mobile devices here.

SCUTTLEBUTT RANT: From 1992 to 2007, the America’s Cup used boats designed to the International Americas Cup Class (IAAC) rule. Then in 2011 came the AC45s for the AC World Series and the AC72 for the 2013 America’s Cup. But those boats are now gone.

The AC45s are now AC45Fs to designate foiling. The AC72 was changed to the AC62 for the 2017 America’s Cup, but then it was decided a smaller boat could go just as fast and be cheaper. Before it was revealed, rumors swirled it would be 50-foot, so the AC50 name was born. However, once the rule was released, the 15 meter boat was called the ACC (America’s Cup Class).

This fact, however, seems to have gotten lost. The media – though not Scuttlebutt – still call it the AC50. Even Oracle Team USA, the creator of the boat, calls it the AC50. Does no one realize that 15 meters is closer to 49-feet? Is some fancy-pants brand expert trying to sex-up the facts?

Consistency is king when communicating. Either change the rule and call it the AC50 or let’s get on board and call the boat what it is, the ACC.

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