Long live Mr. America’s Cup
Published on January 27th, 2021
Unlike most prominent sporting events, the America’s Cup lacks the type of consistent leadership that looks after its health and history, but if there was to be a commissioner, Bob Fisher was well qualified for the role.
As the tributes flow following his recent passing, the man known as Mr. America’s Cup is not one to suffer fools gladly, and he let it be known prior to the 2017 America’s Cup that the current trustee had lost the plot.
And don’t think this grizzled veteran held a grudge about the shift from monohulls… he in fact was a multihull champion. These were his roots, yet his passion was now the history and preservation of the Auld Mug.
So it was April 2015 when he spoke strongly to the America’s Cup Event Authority, which was managing the event for the current trustee Golden Gate Yacht Club. Here are highlights from his beat down:
• 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, losing on the way its prestige and at the same time driven away the most serious competitors.
• Gone is all semblance of stability and adherence to rules unanimously agreed at the outset and in their place an undercurrent of commercial misunderstanding and constantly changing rules without the unanimity of the challengers as initially agreed. Both of these are a disgrace to the Cup and to yourselves.
• It is unnecessary for the America’s Cup to have a television audience. For many years there was no television coverage, and later only inserts into News programmes. Televising the event began in 1983 and was carried to a new height by ESPN in 1987 in Fremantle. Even then it didn’t need catamarans on hydrofoils sailing at 40 knots to be attractive – just 12-Metre yachts in boisterous conditions with some live sound from the boats.
• The America’s Cup is a one-off event. It does not need promoting with pseudo regattas in the intervening years, which use its name. The Challenger Selection Trials, together with the long lost Defender Selection Trials, are adequate and the responsibility for their expense is down to the individual teams.
• I implore you to get your act together, remember the event with which you are dealing, with its glorious past, and begin to act in a proper manner.
Long live Mr. America’s Cup!