Sunday, July 19, 2009

America's Cup Near Death?

Although the final nails aren't yet being nailed into the coffin, the America's Cup yacht race is dying as far as I'm concerned. True, there's always been some gamesmanship and unfairness, and clashes of big egos, but for the most part the history of the cup, until recently, seems to have been one of predominantly good sportsmanship.

In recent times, the lack of national focus and interest, apparent decline in sportsmanship, focus on money and greed, bidding wars for talent, and distinct lack of "corinthian" or sporting ethic have all been belaboured elsewhere. The whole sordid episode of billionaire Bertarelli's fake Spanish yacht club and the battalions of lawyers haven't added to the event's luster. Yesteryear's colorful characters such as Ted Turner and the more distant era of gentlemen such as Sir Thomas Lipton have faded from popular ken. Aside from some interesting faces and personalities among the less-favoured challengers, the interesting presences of the past have long since been replaced by super-rich mega-brats. I'd long ago lost much respect for this event or any great interest in going the least bit out of my way to watch it.

But, new elements seem to be making it worse. With the unveiling of boats came concerns that a boat may be using illegal technology to cheat on the traditional requirements that muscle and brains be used to operate the craft. And, only recently have come the charges and a partial revelation that the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) seems to be in secret collusion with billionaire Bertarelli to perhaps allow him to make up his own rules for sailing the match (adopting "SNG rules" whatever those are -- only Ernesto and his cronies seem to know since neither Mutual Consent nor the rulings of the court in New York had anything to do with this decision).

It seems that the Grinch is determined to not only steal the Cup, but also drive a stake through its heart and bury it. I really wish the Kiwis had won it last time; that would have given the event some chance of remaining meaninful to people who are interested in fair and sportsmanlike sailing.


At 6:35 PM, July 19, 2009, Blogger Tillerman said...

These are the good old days.

At 3:59 PM, July 20, 2009, Blogger Pat said...

That's a frightening thought.

At 1:46 PM, July 21, 2009, Blogger Pat said...

Carol Anne caught the ironic Carly Simon song reference immediately. Popular culture isn't my strong suit but rather more one of my Zones of Obliviousness.

A couple of remark's from today's Sail World:
<< Alinghi 5 as we can now see has her winch power driven from a hydraulic system, powered by a rather noisy motor located on her aft crossbeam.

Later this morning, both sides meet again in the rarefied air of the New York Supreme Court to hear several Motions that have been bought by the two contesting clubs. Amongst these is the process of rule writing for the 33rd Match and whether Alinghi has the right to determine these rules, design its own boat to suit, and then advise BMW Oracle Racing, of those racing rules, when it is too late for the US team to make changes to the design of its yacht.

Some would argue that it is just a matter of (un)fairness; and the America's Cup has always been unfair; so get over it.

Others will argue that, once again, Alinghi has gone a lawyer too far, and that what is being done, in respect of the Rules, is contrary to the provisions of the Deed of Gift.,>>


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