he official score: Emirates Team New Zealand 7, Team Oracle USA 1. The Kiwis dominated the Match, and really the entire event, and are now firmly in control of the destiny, or format, of the next America's Cup, which is to say they can conceivably decide to use any type of boat they want. Will we see foilingcatamarans in the next event, or are monohulls making a comeback? At a press conference following their June 26 victory, Grant Dalton, CEO of Team New Zealand, announced that Luna Rossa would be the next Challenger of Record, and that his team would be announcing their plans for the 36th America's Cup in the next few weeks, "because the sport needs stability. Rest assured, we're going to do the right thing," Dalton said. Let's not forget that New Zealand suffered a crushing, impossible defeat in 2013, and was at odds with other challengers leading up to 2017 when they declined to sign the 'framework agreement' mandating the format of the Cup for the next few years, which led to the type of legal maneuvering we've come to expect from the Cup. The Kiwis ran an isolated, austerely funded but remarkably dedicated program as only New Zealand, one of the world's great yachting nations, could. We're not going to analyze the play-byplay of this year's Cup, but rather look at the regatta as a whole, and contemplate what the modern America's Cup means
ALL PHOTOS RICARDO PINTO / ACEA
AMERICA'S CUP 2017 — for the sport of sailing. Like most of our readers, we happily admited that we were a little bitter the Cup wasn't in San Francisco again, especially after 2013's miraculous comeback, where some of us were made fans when Oracle clawed their way up from the bottom. We wanted to be rewarded for our bandwagon loyalty. In 2017, we were jilted lovers feigning disinterest. In our 40 years at Latitude, we've always been critical of the Cup — we've called it slow, boring and so absurdly litigious that it deserves its own legal drama (Law & Order: America's Cup Arbitration). We realize Arbitration that the Cup dominates headlines, seems to last forever (this version being a welcome exception), and ultimately becomes exhausting and all-consuming. But despite our Latitude attitude, we've always watched, if for no other reason than to cheer for sailing itself. The Cup is, for better or worse, sailing's biggest show, yachting's oldest prize and usually one of the few times (also for better or worse) we in the US see sailboats somewhere close to the mainstream media, while we're reminded how much more other countries value our sport. As the America's Cup settles in to its modern rendition, we've been discussing with our readers how they like — or despise — the new format. We've found that there are, to some degree, two camps of fans: The new-school and the old, catamaran fans versus monohull purists. But most people seem to be somewhere in the middle, and think the new boats are cool, but still enjoy lead-laden sloops. We realize that in admiring the goodol' days, one runs the risk of falling victim to old-fartism. We don't want to be left behind because we couldn't wrap our heads around the future, or thought what we It's no spinnaker set, but watching buff athletes in spandex were doing (and when we were run across a boat going 30 knots was still entertaining. doing it) was better. We believe Page 70 •
• July, 2017
in progression, and we recognize that technology has been part of the Cup, even before Australia II dropped the skirt on its winged keel in 1983. But we still admire sailing in all its forms, even in (what now seem to be hilariously slow) monohulls. This year's Cup was undeniably fun and exciting to watch. By contrast to the 2010 and 2013 events, we saw a decent number of competitors — though we'd like to see far more (one of our commenters said: "Monohulls, cats, it's all good to me as long as there are a lot of them!"). There were constant lead changes that at times were so fast and subtle, even the announcers were shocked. During the qualifiers, Artemis and Team New Zealand changed the lead nine times, and volleyed back and forth throughout the Louis Vuitton Finals (which the Kiwis won 5-2). There were lots of port/starboard crosses, minor but scary-looking collisions, aggressive luff-ups, and one of the most dramatic wipeouts in the history of the Cup. But mostly, it was just a flat-out sprint, a warp-speed drag race born through technological foiling magic.
The July 2017 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.