Official Hater’s Guide to America’s Cup
Published on May 16th, 2017
The Comeback of 2013 seems so yesterday, with the 35th America’s Cup now swallowing all the oxygen from the fans that follow this exhibition of design and drama. As for the rest of you rum sluggers, Dylan Cleaver from the New Zealand Herald offers this guide for guidance.
There are 10 days until the XXXVth America’s Cup. TEN!
I know what you’re thinking. Yep, there’s been XXIV of these stupid things already. Because you’re a hater. And that’s okay. There’s plenty of room for everyone atop these vast oceans of antipathy.
You couldn’t give a foiling f*** about these high-speed catamarans. And you definitely couldn’t give a rat’s mast about the privileged brats piloting them around a course set just off an island famous only for two things: shorts worn by fat Americans, and planes that go missing.
We’re thinking of you too, which is why we, under considerable duress, bring you The Hater’s Guide to the 35th America’s Cup.
1. Russell Coutts, CEO, America’s Cup Event Authority
You’re so vain, I bet you think this column’s about you.
2. Oracle Team USA
There’s a perception out there that yachting is a sport for the mega-rich and their winter-in-St Tropez friends. But it’s just not true. Oracle Team USA owner Lawrence “Lazza” Ellison is worth only $43.6 billion. That ranking of No 7 on the 2016 Forbes’ Rich list has got to sting like tabasco in the eye.
We all prefer Bill Gates down here anyway.
3. Team New Zealand
Oh FFS, not again! This country needs SCHOOLS and HOSPITALS (and roads, commuter rail links, cleaner rivers, pest-free forests, renewable energy and artisan cheese-makers) not a bloody America’s Cup campaign that will just end in heartbreak.
You know that Government bridging finance ($5 MILLION!) was spent on a confidential payoff for the poor bugger Blair Tuke and Peter Burling injured on that short lived but hilarious VW ad, don’t you?
And just how ‘New Zealand’ is ‘Team NZ’? They’re sponsored by a Dubai-based airline and part funded by Swiss-Italian Matteo de Nora whose family runs a fuel-cell empire. We don’t even know what a fuel cell is. De Nora’s net worth has estimated to be as low as $280m, so he’s carrying Larry’s bags on this one.
4. Ben Ainslie Racing
LOL, Britain are still trying to win the America’s Cup after 166 years. This time the challenge has been handed to Sir Ben Ainslie, the monarchy’s greatest sailor since the Viscount Nelson.
The four-time Olympic gold medallist is so impressed with himself he’s named the team in his own honour. How zeitgeist. How Trumpian. Not even Sir Thomas Lipton, who invented iced tea and challenged five times for the Auld Mug in increasingly useless boats named “Shamrock”, stooped to that level.
The fate of Britain’s challenge rests on the calm shoulders of The Ben, who once dived out of his craft, swam over to a TV boat, had a brief melee, dived back into the ocean before swimming back to his unmanned Finn.
More recently, here’s The Ben driving his boat into the dock.
5. Team Japan
Team Japan my stern. You’re just Team NZ circa 2013. You’re the cuddly plaything of Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill. You’re… kind of hard to take seriously. But at least Deano is back on a boat and filling those column inches with typically colourful quotes.
“We’re really happy with how we’re going – at this point there’s nothing in it amongst the top teams,” he (big stretch) said (yawn) recently.
6. Groupama Team France
Ah France, vivaces perdants des courses de bateaux.
Expect Groupama to be popular with the local publicans and restaurateurs.
Another billionaire’s toy, this time it Swedish commodities magnate Torbjon Tornqvist, who checks into this America’s Cup with about $2.1b in his Swiss bank account.
Apart from surstromming, Ace of Base and Ikea assembly instructions, the Swedes have done very little to annoy the world and Artemis also seem a safe bet to sail through this regatta without offending anybody. Unless you’re especially vigilant, you might not even know they’re there.
8. Hamilton Island Yacht Club
Oh, this is a doozy. The rules for this America’s Cup were put together by holders Oracle and this yacht club plucked out of the azure waters of the Whitsundays to pose as Challenger of Record.
The HIYC are not favoured to bring the Cup back to Australia. This is due to a small technicality: they are not even going to Bermuda, having withdrawn weeks after the protocol they’d chained the real challengers to had been signed off.
Still, we hear through the grapevine that a lot of organisations with connections to Bermuda don’t actually spent a lot of time there.
We’ve already noted the shorts and the Triangle, and hinted at its reputation for assisting the balance sheets of some of the world’s trickiest corporates (Bermuda reportedly saved Google $2 billion in 2011 alone), but what else do we know about the tiny British territory that lies about 1000km east of North Carolina.
This much (hold forefinger and thumb very close together).
10. The format
These six teams have actually been racing for a couple of years now in scaled down cats, taking their in-shore racing to ports as diverse as Portsmouth, Chicago, Muscat, Toulon, New York and Fukuoka. Yep, they’ve basically taken it everywhere there’s water except for… Auckland, the City of Sails.That’ll teach us.
After all that excitement Ben Ainslie leads with 512 points followed by, in descending order, Oracle (493), Team NZ (485), Artemis (466), Japan (460) and France (419). Using a complex algorithm first conceived by the great Diaphantus – a boardsailor of some repute along the Aegean – and later popularised by John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, those points will be boiled down as follows: two for The Ben and one for Oracle.
And if you think that sounds like an awful lot of money and effort for a grand total of three points, let us remind you here that if Ellison did nothing all year except tinker with his motorbike and watch Silicon Cowboys on repeat, the interest on his fortune would earn himself enough to buy the next America’s Cup, and the one after that, and the one after that…
Fast, floatie things the aforementioned rich people paid for. The rule of thumb is the fastest one of these things will win, whether skippered by Jimmy Spithill or the ghost of Jimi Hendrix.
12. Jimmy Spithill
The Little Aussie Battler grew up in a fibro house in Mt Druitt and made his first boat with just two sheets of corrugated iron, some sprigs of eucalyptus and a discarded ball of baling twine. With that boat he defeated the best sailors Australia’s private schools could offer and thus the legend was born.
13. Grant Dalton
Everything, literally everything, will be his fault.