America’s Cup: Moon rovers of sailing

Published on November 28th, 2022

Chris Caswell dislikes the current iteration of America’s Cup racing, and he pounds that drum in his Sailing magazine column:

Disclosure: I love sports cars. I’ve loved them since I didn’t have a driver’s license and, since then, I’ve owned them, restored them, raced them and often sworn at them. It’s exactly like my relationship with boats.

Although I’m fascinated by cars of all ilk, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in the lunar moon rover. Yes, it’s a vehicle and it has four wheels, but it holds no thrall at all. I’ll probably never see one, let alone drive it or dream about it.

It’s the same way I feel about the America’s Cup these days. The waterbug-like craft that skitter around on foils with no spinnakers, no tacking duels, just sheer speed are the moon rovers of sailing.

I see no “trickle-down” from the America’s Cup. Sailors used to benefit from advances in everything from sail materials to better turning blocks, but I don’t see our marinas suddenly filling with foiled yachts. I’m long past wearing a skin-tight wetsuit, and I’d have to be dipped into liquid neoprene to get into one, though kids sailing Optimists have embraced it.

This musing was triggered because of the photo of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing. (How’s that for a yacht name? No more Intrepids or Columbias or Heritages, it has all the appeal of calling it Joe’s Plumbing Supply.) The Swiss America’s Cup challenger was practicing in Barcelona and on its first—first—day of sailing, when it had a major problem.

The boat fell over.

We might have said that it capsized if it was a real boat, but it was more like the SS Alinghi Red Bull Racing had just fainted. As they were towing in after testing, a sudden squall blew though. One of the crewmembers said the boat was difficult to control and it just tipped over. Chase boats quickly picked up the sailors that had been dumped in the water, but the image of this America’s Cup yacht lying helplessly on its side with its foils in the air like a dying cockroach made me realize how far astray the Cup has gone. – Full report

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup will be held in September/October 2024.

Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
INEOS Britannia (GBR)
Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
NYYC American Magic (USA)

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