America’s Cup: Suck it up, buttercup

Published on October 5th, 2021

Sayings such as “careful what you ask for” and “sleep in the bed you made” come to mind following the 36th America’s Cup, as the narrative coming from the New Zealand defender is they can no longer afford the AC75 yachts which they conceived for competition.

But the Kiwi team contends what they have created is what the America’s Cup needs, but is the unintended consequence an evolution toward extinction? Now, while eager to push their win streak to three victories, they appear willing to do what is necessary even if it impacts the tradition of the event.

That tradition involves hosting the competition at home, and while this tradition has been broken before, those precedents are hardly cause for repetition. One was because the Swiss home lake would not suffice in 2007 as a venue, and the other was because the US team was eager in 2017 to maximize the commercial value of the event.

What makes the America’s Cup special is its history and tradition which would have the 37th America’s Cup held in New Zealand. The irony of this situation is not lost on James Dadd, whose professional career has included technical roles with both the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race.

“Unlike any other international competition, the America’s Cup puts the defender firmly in charge of setting the rules of competition,” note Dadd. “That is not only with regards to venue and format, but all aspects of the competition. So, if the costs are beyond the defender, it is their responsibility alone.

“If the boats are too expensive, then they are the only ones in a position to set cost cutting measures. They are in a unique position in any sport, where as the defender, if they can’t afford to defend, they can simply change the rules so that they can afford it. Worst case scenario is they change to Maxi72s on steroids, cut costs, increase challengers, race at home, and suck it up.

“Might not be what everyone wants, but a home defense with lots of challengers and a good return for the NZ people and government is better than two or three challengers in a remote venue and no home, for the sake of the choice of class.

“They can always go back to the science projects when and if the event can support it. Which right now, it clearly cannot.”

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