Former Bay Area Express 27 sailor Larry Fisher sent this along with a note saying, ” My feelings exactly. Of course I would have suggested Express 27’s!” From In the Present Sea.
Evanston: GANNET Wins America’s Cup
By chance Saturday afternoon I happened across television coverage of the first race of the challenger finals for the America’s Cup. I deliberately don’t say ‘live’ coverage, because it was mostly dead.
How you can spend a hundred million dollars, have a team the size of a small army, and breakdown before the start of the first race is unfathomable. (Choice of word deliberate.) As is how anyone can delude themselves that sailing is going to interest the general public when starts are delayed because there is ‘too much wind’, defined variously by the breathless commentators as being
19 or 21 knots.
I bought my first boat and taught myself how to sail on San Francisco Bay. That was almost fifty years ago, but I still sort of remember that it was windy. I think this debacle is going to take a long, long time before coming to a merciful end.
Yesterday’s second race was cancelled because of too much wind, after Team New Zealand, when well ahead in the first race of the day, suffered their own breakdown in the form of a dead battery pack, essential to the hydraulic system, without which these boats can’t be sailed.
I must confess to being surprised to learn when NEW ZEALAND buried her bows on Saturday and lost two men overboard, that a boat in this competition does not have to have all the crew at the start of the race still present at the end. Probably that is because it is too dangerous and slow to turn these things around.
For many months I have said that the winner of this year’s cup will be the last man standing. On that basis I believe that GANNET can win. I can tack and gybe in more than twenty knots of wind, won’t have problems with daggerboards or foils, and can’t be stopped by a dead battery pack.
I don’t race because when I sail I just want it to be me, the boat, the wind and sea. I don’t want to be worrying if someone else is sailing faster. In this year’s America’s Cup that is not a problem because GANNET, as the only unbroken boat, would usually be sailing the course alone.
Now I know that some of the rest of you can tack and gybe in twenty knots of wind, too, and might want to enter the competition. In which case I would gracefully withdraw and let you go at it.
In fact, here’s an idea: race for the America’s Cup in Moore 24s. There are many in the San Francisco area. Dump these clunkers and let the three remaining syndicates charter Moore 24s. Now that would be worth watching.