Kumbaya and the America’s Cup
Published on May 22nd, 2017
Sport is always more interesting when we have a connection with the athletes, but as the America’s Cup has evolved, that connection has evolved too.
It was once when the raw, unfiltered and perhaps alcohol-fueled competitor comments would hoist headlines and flame fan allegiance. Questionable conduct to gain advantage grabbed our attention. But as sailing has become more professional, the antics have become less entertaining.
Media training and sponsor responsibility have stripped away the colorful characters that once manned the microphones. Sailing is not unique… we see this in other sports too. Leagues fine athletes for endangering the brand. Now we are to embrace the athletic prowess of the sailors and the performance of their boats.
The America’s Cup became the ‘holy grail’ of sailing not just because of the sailing, but also for all the capers that surround it. But as the America’s Cup has been steadfast in its pursuit of commercial support and broadcast exposure, the trickery has been replaced by kumbaya.
“In Artemis Racing we for sure share that absolute desire to win, but we like to think that we can win it in a way where we still get on with our competition,” said Iain Percy, Team Manager of Artemis Racing. “While we want to defeat all the other teams, we are in for fair racing and let the best team win.”
Kumbaya or not, Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has been playing this game for a while and is bracing for battle.
“We won’t take it down those traditional lines – the nasty lines – but I can absolutely assure you, if someone takes us there, we’re ready for whatever form that may take,” said Dalton. “We won’t provoke, but we will defend any attack.”
Tempers will be tested when the first stage of racing starts May 26, with the double round robin series to eliminate one of the five challengers by June 3.