LETTERS proposal, sir!
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Seth Hynes Honeymoon, Lagoon 380 cat Mill Valley
Seth — Watch whom you're calling 'sir'! But thanks, we appreciate your opinion. ⇑⇓WHY SETTLE FOR LESS THAN THE BEST? There's a place for one-design racing, but the America's Cup should be like Formula One: build the fastest vehicle you can dream up within the rules, and see who comes up with the fastest. It doesn't always make for great racing, but in the shortcourse format, with lots of opportunities to make mistakes, it should still be good to watch. Likewise, there's a place for fleet racing, but the America's Cup should stick with match racing. It's tradition, and the format should keep it watchable. Max Crittenden Solar Wind, Martin 32 San Francisco Max — With all due respect, why would you settle for something that "doesn't always make for great racing?" We say to heck with tradition. We want an America's Cup that is the best combination of speed, excitement, maximum participation — and even safety. ⇑⇓JUST STICK WITH THE AC45S Before changing horses for the America's Cup, there needs to be an evaluation of what the damage was to the Oracle cat. If it's decided that the horses need to be changed, I say change them to the existing 45-footers. There are lots of them, the cost has already been met, and so many more teams could compete. SD Katzman Planet Earth
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• December, 2012
SD — Good points. The damage was found to be way beyond 'extensive', at least to the wing. A number of readers agree with your suggestion to go with the 45-footers. In our opinion, they don't have adequate grandeur or speed for an America's Cup. Sort of like playing softball in the World Series or flag football in the Super Bowl. ⇑⇓RIDICULOUS IS THE WORD THAT COMES TO MIND I raced and did speed trials in catamarans in the pre-Hobie days and through the mid-'80s. It was a fairly small group of renegade sailors, and through trial and error we learned just what twin hulls were capable of. Cats — unlike dogs — are sometimes uncontrollable. When I saw the first clip of Russell Coutts capsizing an AC45, I saw only two possible causes: First, I wondered if these 'professional' guys really had enough cat experience. Second, the winged cat just can't de-power fast enough to avoid crashing. After watching Coutts T-bone the committee boat in the San Francisco World Series, I knew he wasn't a true multihull sailor. But in the case of the capsize of the Oracle 72, I think it was the boat's fault. A capsize is scary and expensive in a 72. Ridiculous is another word that comes to my mind. As for using the AC45s, l'Hydroptère just kicked dirt in the 45s' faces — and with a soft sail and a much smaller budget. I think that the French sailors have proven that tris are better suited than cats for hairier conditions. Incidentally, Dennis Conner's soft sail cat was not much slower than their winged rig. I was on a photoboat in San
The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.