Have you ever watched the America’s Cup? To put it poorly, it’s a sailboat race. (I think I just heard a multitude of fans just scream aloud in rage and smash their screens at that.) In fact, the America’s Cup is THE pinnacle of sail yacht racing, full of history, excitement, and character. In fact, the best way to describe the America’s Cup today is to compare it to Formula One racing. The technology going into these “boats” is astounding! Take a look for yourself.
This is the AC72; the ship that won the 2013 America’s Cup.
This thing shredded the water, reaching speeds of near 60 miles per hour and was putting so much pressure on the water with its foils (Those downward knife-like tabs on the bottom of the hulls of the catamaran) that the water would boil! The main sail looks like it came off a 747 and is called a Wing sail.
Costing $110,000,000 the Oracle AC72 has as much in common with the average sailboat as a Formula 1 car has with that car in your driveway.
It makes for great television and great stories, but feels disconnected from the rest of the sailing world. Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing new technologies and expanding the frontiers of boating, but I also think there is a huge gap left in its wake.
I’d like to see a classic America’s Cup series/division.
Use the basics of the 1968 to1983 12 metre rules of the America’s Cup from that era. (A note for every nonboat person out there. The 12 Metre or International America’s Cup class meant that all the measurements added together then divided by 2.73 needs to equal 12 meters. I put in links for the formula, but I’m not going to delve that deep. I was never that good at math. Suffice it to say the classic cup will use that formula.)
A standard Monohull design (A single hull, like most boats have)
The correct number of crew members (17 +1, I believe)
A nonwinged keel
A skeg mounted rudder mounted separately from the keel
The hull of the boat can be made of wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or steel. No newer composites such as carbon fiber or exotic metals such as titanium.
Sailcloth needs to be made of the standard material in 1983 and free of advertisements.
The goal here is to create a class of racing that put emphasis on teamwork rather than exotic technologies in a class that is monetarily easy to enter and maintain.
This new classic series could be raced either a day before the modern America’s Cup as a crowd warmer, or run in the same race with the modern boats as the ALMS auto race does with their Prototype and GT classed racecars.
Another thought would be to do an Am/Pro challenge where the Amateurs use the retired 12 Metre class boats that now are being used as charters. (The trick here would be making sure that the levels are equal for the “new classics” versus the post ’83 racers which have winged keels and possibly rudders in front of the keel [called a canard].)
The America’s Cup will always have new technology moving it forward. The America’s Classic Cup series keeps America’s spirit of teamwork and tenacity alive.
I’d like to see both.