AMERICA'S CUP realize that's never going to happen. But something like the canting-keeled Volvo 70s of the last round-the-world race could work very well. Although 10 feet shorter than an IACC boat, the V-70s are capable of 35 knots or better in the right conditions. An IACC yacht couldn't hit 20 knots if you shoved it out the back of an airplane. Then race the new boats in real wind and seas. None of this 20-knot limit stuff. There's one reason and one reason only why the 1987 America's Cup lingers in memory as the 'best' one ever, and it isn't because Conner won the Cup back — it's because it was raced in real wind and big, crashing, blue seas off Fremantle. Also, a big 'please!' to bringing back the citizenship rule, which was removed by Alinghi after their '03 win. (Winning syndicates get to do a certain amount of tinkering with the rules.) This resulted in absurdly-skewed demographics that (according to crew rosters on www. americascup.com) show more American sailors on the Italian Luna Rossa team — and even Alinghi — than were found on the 'American' entry, BMW Oracle!
• July, 2007
hile the more radical of these changes have probably not been whispered about, even behind closed doors in Valencia, good things may still happen for the America's Cup, no matter who wins it. For example, Emirates Team New Zealand has as much as said that, if they win, they will reinstate the nationality clause. Seen as the downside to a Kiwi win would be a return to the southern hemisphere. The pundit machine feels Auckland is too far away to attract some syndicates and their sponsors, although the nine that competed in 2003 were only two less than came to play in Valencia this time around. Our personal take is that Auckland is a great host city, and if one or two teams feel that's too far away, so what? However, the mere thought of returning the Cup races to the Hauraki Gulf — site of the shiftiest and most undependable seabreeze on earth — is almost more than we can bear. A win by Alinghi would mean the Cup stays in Europe; maybe Valencia, maybe not. The present festivities have certainly
generated much more European interest in the event, and several more syndicates have indicated they may take part next time if the Cup stays on the continent. The downside of an Alinghi win is that the 'nationality not required' clause could stay in place. The best we might hope for there is the brilliant suggestion in a recent Scuttlebutt poll that a certain percentage of the crew, say 2/3 — 12 guys out of 18 — should be citizens of the boat's home country.
ew boats or old, patriotic crews or mercenary ones, good breeze or ill winds, heartbreak or euphoria — the America's Cup will go on. We hope we're still around when somebody, someday has enough vision and courage to do an extreme makeover on this dowdy old event and give it back the excitement, respect and status it deserves. Maybe next time? As for this just-completed America's Cup, our hearty congratulations to the winner. To see who that is, log onto www.americascup.com. — latitude 38/jr
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.