What should be the very pinnacle of Yacht racing, the Americas Cup, has lost its luster for many sailing fans. In fact I find it hard to believe that this travesty is being permitted to go ahead.

The ‘Deed Of Gift’ that governs this wonderful event has been watered down again and again. Misinterpreted, various factions from time to time have created their own versions of the rules.

In recent years the cup has seen teams spending more time in the court room than on the water. The gentlemanly sport of racing sail boats has been replaced by lawyers and hired help. It is no longer a question of who is the better sailor, who can best judge the wind, waves and markers, it is just who has the most money to throw at the problem.

Some might argue that the rot set in when Dennis Conner got involved. I disagree, Dennis might have been the first to seek large sponsorship, but his campaigns were always underfunded. How he did so well is testimony to his ability and his crews.

The early 90’s really signaled the end of this epic challenge for bragging rights over sailing. For the most part there is no money pot at the end of the rainbow, it is symbolic, not enriching to win the Americas Cup. The retirement of the 12 meter boats gave way to the class that is known as AC1. Larger, faster, and way more expensive.

Match racing should not be this way. Match racing should be done using cheap, everyday boats, they should be identical in construction and rigging. The Americas Cup is about the better skipper, not the better computer design program.

Next week see’s the America’s Cup leap into complete obscurity. I found this quote from Canadian Press that sums it up so well:

And be forewarned – there won’t be any images of grinders furiously turning the winches that trim the sails, because there are no grinders. They’ve been replaced by engines in this America’s Cup, which has pushed the limits of both the legal system and technology.

This is not sailing, this is crap!

Such a yawner is this event that not even ESPN (who have been good friends to the cause over the years) are going to carry the event live. In fact no US based organization is going to.

This is a battle between two boring and too rich organizations.

It is time that someone stepped in and brought the Americas Cup back into line.

Sure, innovations from earlier AC adventures have made it to the average sailor, most though have not.

I am a fan of match racing, but watching two over sized cat’s on a drag race for 20 miles does not make me want to get up at 3am my time to view it online. Pretty much you can tell that what used to be a class act by what has happened over the part few years. Look at the sponsorship?

When I was involved so was Bruno Trouble and the Louis Vuiton people. Bruno is a class act, Bruno had a presence, as did all of his people. I enjoyed talking to him.

He represented the Challengers, I worked for the defenders. But everyone worked for the same goal, to make the Americas Cup a very special event.

What has happened to this great competition?

All I see is bad stuff. Ego’s and money rather than skill.

Pull your head out of your ass and go smell the roses. Two high tech 90 foot cat’s running a best of three series does not help the cause.

Think about what ‘The Deed Of Gift’ said. The writers of the ‘Deed Of Gift’ would be mortified by what is happening.

Simon Barrett

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