The way it is supposed to be

Published on March 8th, 2021

John Lammerts van Bueren, a member of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee, offers his view on the eve of the 36th America’s Cup:


Luna Rossa from Italy and Te Rehutai from New Zealand will line up for the first race of the 36th America’s Cup. Predictions and opinions on chances of who will win the oldest trophy in sport are all over the place, but the only certainty is that no-one knows for certain!

It could be over in seven races, it could take 13, the boats can stay in one piece or fail, the same goes for the crews who sail these boats. Can’t wait to see how it unfolds and who will lift the Auld Mug!

For the AC75s to be sailed, to me these boats are ridiculously complicated, outrageously expensive, and miles away from anything that most of us have, or will ever sail.

They provide design challenges beyond known science, the teams barely have the time to test their boats and when they do, all they know is the result of the moment.

Every day the boats evolve and no team knows the true potential of their opponent tomorrow. Meanwhile the sailors on board are expected to race the boats at the maximum potential with the experience and solutions of the past at the risk of turning the boat upside down or worse.

The sailors are asked to trust the numbers the structural engineers provided as they smash 23 meter long boats around a narrow and shifty course at speeds close to 100km/h. To my mind it is fair to say that these sailors rank alongside elite jet fighter test pilots.

For the talk about the AC75 being disconnected from main stream sailing, suggestions for one-design, critique on outrageous cost and bias rules, like it or not, that is the way it is supposed to be!

The teams know what they sign up for, no surprises, it’s been like this long before anyone of us was born and will stay like that long after we are all gone. Welcome to the America’s Cup!

This trophy drives curiosity and imagination like no other, it attracts the brightest minds and the best sailors in the world to solve mindboggling complex challenges. The AC75 we see in the 36th America’s Cup is just another great example of what the Cup is all about.

If you are not convinced then lets to back to 1881 in Glasgow, Scotland. It was there when a brilliant naval architect, G.L. Watson, was about embark on a 20 year journey to design four America’s Cup challengers.

“When we do arrive at perfection in shape, we can then set to look out for better material,” said Watson. “The frames and beams, then, of my ideal ship shall be of aluminum, the plating below water of manganese bronze, and the top sides of aluminum; while I think it will be well to deck her, too, with that lightest of metals, as good yellow pine will soon only be seen in a museum.

“For ballast, of course, we should have nothing but platinum, unless the owner grudged the expense, when we might put a top tier of gold. By that date I hope we won´t care for sailing in such sluggish element as the water. I firmly believe that someday the air will become as easily traversed as the earth or the ocean.”

Welcome to the 36th America’s Cup!


More information:
• America’s Cup format, standings, and how to watch: click here.
• Complete America’s Cup coverage: click here
• Additional America’s Cup information: click here

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