As a long time follower of the Americas Cup I probably am just a little jaded. I know what I like, and I certainly know what I do not like. I liked the 12 meter rule, I even liked at AC 5 rule. People argue that the Americas Cup is all about innovation, indeed it is. Over the years some innovations have trickled down to the average sailor. This trickle down can be found in many endeavors, were it not for NASA we would not have a kitchen full on Teflon non-stick pans. But what innovations have we seen from AC 33?

We learned that ‘the wing is king’, but we already knew that. Dennis Conners had one back in the late 80’s, the boat went like a rocket, the problem was it was about as controllable as a crack addict. The BMWO wing is very different, a fixed front element, and a rear element with 9 adjustable fins (think flaps on a jet airliner)!

Will this technology trickle down? No, you need a PhD in rocket science to use this stuff.

In race one BMWO opted to dump the jib because they felt that it was adding drag to the wing. Todays race though, they kept the jib up throughout. It is my contention that you would never ever see these kinds of vessels engage in a tacking or gybing duel. The do not have what it takes. These are straight line drag racers. They might as well stick wheels on the bottom and take them to the Utah salt flats. Bonneville needs some new blood!

What will AC 34 bring us? Wee I for one hope that it will be a return to sanity. I have no problem with big multi hulls, but they should be entirely muscle powered. This use of power plants takes out a vital element of the racing challenge. Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t buy into boats that need gas!

Race 2 was fun to watch, although the 6 hour pre start to the pre start was a bit tedious. I could have got up at my normal time, gone out for breakfast and still had a couple of hours of down time. Alinghi had obviously changed their game plan, even with the stalled start they clawed  back, and up until the final cross on leg one they seemed to be in the groove. Why didn’t they tack on top of BMWO? It looked like they had the speed and room? The only conclusion I can come up with is that Alinghi did not have faith in their position.

I don’t pretend to know all of the in’s and out’s, but I sure can spot a screw up. Alinghi take the badge! They screwed up in race one, and did the same in race 2. When you have invested 10;s of millions of dollars you should not make ‘racing 101’ errors.

I am looking forward to AC34, but lets bring some sanity back. With Berteralli out of the drivers seat maybe we will see the the Louis Vuitton folks back in the game.

Lets just put AC 33 in the F’d up category and move on.

Here is to 34!

Simon Barrett

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