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Fake News and the America’s Cup

Published on February 16th, 2017

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
When the plotting and planning got underway after the 2013 America’s Cup, the early announcement was for the AC72 to get shelved, with a 62-foot version to take its place. The AC72 was simply too extreme.

But soon the teams turboed their AC45s with foils and found the performance to be near or exceeding that of the AC72. With minds fully blown, planners pulled the handbrake, shelved the AC62 before it got off the design board, and announced that something smaller would soon be revealed.

Rumors swirled the new boat would be 50 feet, so journalists started referring to it as the AC50. Journos try to be so smart.

When the announcement did come, the boat had a new name – the America’s Cup Class (ACC). This took a page from past history when the 12 Meter was replaced with the 82-foot International America’s Cup Class (IACC).

The less discussed fact about the ACC is the boat’s length, which is 15 meters. This translates to 49.21 feet. Or 49 feet. Certainly not 50 feet, but the AC50 reference refuses to die. Maybe journos hate to be wrong. The sailors are struggling too.

Personally, I believe it’s wise to fully ditch the boat’s length from the vernacular. I find that reminding us how small the America’s Cup boats are now, compared to the grandeur of past editions, is ill-advised. It can’t be all about speed… we are awed by size too.

Regardless, calling these race boats the ’50’ or the ‘AC50’ is ‘fake news’. If referencing size is so important, at least be accurate.


Background: The 35th American’s Cup has attracted six teams (5 challengers and 1 defender) that will compete in the new 15-meter AC Class, with a series of qualifiers beginning on May 26, 2017 that lead to the start of the America’s Cup Match on June 17, 2017. Complete schedule.

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