The America’s Cup. For many the name conjures up images of massive 1930's sailboats enveloped by equally massive amounts of cotton sails snapping in winds off the Newport Rhode Island shore, accompanied by the steam yachts of the Blue Blazer wearing millionaire, sipping Sir Lipton’s tea.
For others, it’s pictures of Ted Turner (a really young Ted Turner by the way), or Dennis Conner and the smaller (by comparison to a J Class yacht) “12 meter” boats, with their keels shrouded in secrecy.
Then there are the current disciples, the rebels, the proponents of catamarans with “wings” of all things, which sail around a course dictated not by distance, but rather by television time!
“What happened to Yachting!” cry the Blue Blazers.
“NASCAR on the water, dude!” is the retort. (In truth, only sometimes, and only from a very few).
We’ve all (at least those of us that care to listen) heard the hype: “The Oldest Trophy in Sports.” Or “The Best Sailors on the Fastest Boats.” We’ve seen the YouTube live stream videos, of the weekly Uncovered , now Discovered, internet/TV shows. And no one can say that they are not impressed with what Stan Honey has done with LiveLine to bring the sport to understandability.
But, what is it all about, really?
Were the naysayers of San Francisco right when they said that the “100 million dollars of new revenue infused into the local economy” boast was just so much bologna. Or, is Ellison’s (presumed) dream of bringing the Cup to the masses right on target?
Is the AC World Series groups of racing just so much showboating (pardon the pun), or are they practical exercises in developing, testing, and training new sailing technology? Oh, and pumping up public interest in The Race itself.
Does anyone really care, one way or another? I mean REALLY care?