America's Cup

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Nov 17, 2007
Vessel Name
My Yuki
Vessel Make
1973 Marine Trader 34
I am sure there are former sailboat owners here that have retained at least a passing interest in sailing.

Over the weekend I hooked up to a "live" website for the America's Cup races, and have to say that Cup sailing has finally reached a new low.*

These two monster phallic symbols of two multi-billionaires have taken all excitement out of the game.* They bear no resemblance* to "sailboats"* --A couple of guys tweaking power winches , .** and they couldn't even sail in 10 kts for fear they would break apart. and the guy who had the best software wins. .

You might as well watch paint dry, as the old saying goes.*

Used to be there were trials, then 7 or so races -- now it's over and done in 2 days.* I hope anyone that made a vacation out of attending is getting their money's worth.
On the other hand, they were magnificent craft, and that adjustable foil wing on BMW Oracle was amazing. Being able to do 25 kn upwind in an 8 kn breeze - that is really something. They might just have revolutionised the approach to yacht mainsails, just as long as they can be made very strong and forgiving, and able to shorten sail as well - that will be the challenge. That is after all what Formula 1 of anything is about - the leading edge of technology, which then trickles down...... well quite often it does....
A famous designer of years gone by said " racing promotes good helmsmanship and poor seamanship" to which i think we can now add and very poor seaworthiness.
The ability of the modern rig to power a really fast boat in tiny winds is a Real big Deal.

That it needs to be de powered is not a problem compared to some boats that take F- 8 to get to hull speed.

More efficient sails will eventually get to even cruising boats , as fully battened sails have.

I had a 45 ft H Nichol trimiran built in Belieze in the 60's , and light airs were the hassle.

Mostly she would be sluggish in under 8K , so a 100% increase in thrust would have been useful.

F-1 cars use their wings to create downforce , with their excess power , and don't look like a Model T.

50K sailboats are HERE (and kite sailors too) ,
when we can cruise on wind power , small crew , self steering and 20K when the sea state permits , the "trawler" era will be over , except as sea side cottages.

I know this turned into a billionaire's squabble over who has the biggest johnson,* and some how the US courts got total control of the race. But ... how is it that the other challenger teams let this happen?* Where's Australia, NZ, etc.?* Are all the other billionaire's out of money?

Maybe it's a sign of impending geezerdom, but I couldn't get interested at all.* Why, in my day they didn't have any of this carbon fiber, computer controlled, yada, yada, yada. .....

I used to follow the race religiously.
I, for one, was glued to my computer screen. The technology exhibited by both boats was truly amazing!

For those of you that didn't get it...."You're looking at the future!"
SeaHorse II wrote:For those of you that didn't get it...."You're looking at the future!"
Maybe the distant future.* A mast for these boats cost more than most of us will earn in a lifetime! People would sometimes complain about yacht racing being "elitist".* These guys have taken it to a whole new level.

Excuse me while I go reposition my baggywrinkles, I'm feeling a little chafed.
OK OK OK... I hear all the talk about the "future" and "technological advances". As Lurker said, my boat wouldn't pay for one of those hydraulic winches.

I still think these two boys are just having it out in the alley to see who's got the biggest.....thing.
Now how the hell did I miss that completely? Other than an announcement that it was over, I had no idea it was going on, coming up, etc. Absolutely no media coverage that I ever saw. WTF?
I suppose sixty, seventy years from now sailors will be moaning for the good old days of the early 2000s when America's Cup boats were classic trimarans like Oracle/BWM.

For me, I think technology has changed the race from being one that was dependent on a crew's experience, skill, and cunning to one that is dependent on technologly and people's abilitly to use it. The next logical step will be eliminate the crew altogether and operate the boat remotely. The race will be no less challenging and exciting, but it will challenging and exciting to a totally different kind of person.

I believe that as the active human element is morphed out of things like the America's Cup and*auto racing and is replaced by technolgy and people who are masters of the technology, the activity gradually loses it's appeal to the average person.

I was an avid fan of Formula One and sports car racing (Le Mans, Sebring, etc) in the 1960s and early 70s. As well as the America's Cup. While I knew damn well I was never going to drive with Jimmy Clark and Graham Hill or crew on a 12-meter, I could relate to both activities. I could see myself doing it--- I felt they were* both within my capabilities if I ever got the chance. So I watched races and read about them because I could relate to them because I could relate to the people who did them.

Today, I cannot relate in any way to what both of these sports have become. The technology is not only far beyond my grasp or capability (or interest), the money required to even have a hope of getting involved in either sport is staggering, far beyond anything I could conceive of spending even if I had it.

So I've lost interest in both sports.

To me, the human story trumps the technology story every time. I mentioned some time ago that we were given the opportunity to go out on the Bluenose II for my wife's first-ever experience on a sailboat under sail. The International Fishermen's Races, which the original Bluenose won seventeen times straight, or the America's Cup with the J-boats and then the 12-meters, are what I think of when I think of sailboat racing.

Sure, the boat designs were a big factor in the outcome of the races and the technology of the day played a major role.* But, like Jimmy Clark in his Lotus, the races were more about the people and their individual and collective contributions. The crews were people like us. They perservered--- in spite of the technology sometimes--- to triumph in the races.

In the last Fishermen's Race, the Bluenose, which like all the others was a working fishing boat, was so worn out and waterlogged and her hull had spread so much over the years of fishing on the stormy Grand and Georges Banks*that her waterline measurements disqualified her until they removed enough ballast to make her ride high enough to reduce her waterline to the required measurement. Her mainsail was stretched and her rigging was beat to hell. And there was no billionaire handy to fix all this.

But, despite being technically outclassed by a much newer rival, the skipper and crew drew on every ounce of experience and smarts they had and they won.* To this day, we were told, nobody knows why the Bluenose was so fast.* The Bluenose II was built to the same plans, using the same materials, in the same yard, and by a lot of the same shipwrights who built the original.* And even discounting the drag from her twin props and shafts, the Bluenose II is nowhere near as fast as the original.* The people in Lunenburg, where both boats were built, say it's because the original Bluenose had the fastest and smartest skipper and*crew ever. It's about the people, they say, not the boats.

That, to me, is sailboat racing.

This painting is of the famous fishing schooner Gertrude L. Thebaud, the only boat to come within shouting distance of defeating the Bluenose in the Fishermen's Races. To me, this is what sailing--- and racing--- is all about.

-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 16th of February 2010 07:55:10 PM


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An excellent summation - my sentiments exactly!
"It's about the people, they say, not the boats."

For folks with this opinion there are "Class boats" from Dyer Dinks or Sabots on up to 60 ft modern racers.

Just as F-1 produces concepts that are slow to market in your family Buick, the advancement of sail is only done at the expensive level.


A similar decision is on cruisers , is it the mere boat that "makes" the voyage , or the voyage it self that is the goal.

I understand the mindset of the good folks aground in their own coffee grounds , but what about the folks that cruise?

Are you more interested in the cruise it self ,,or yodeling in the head , and enjoying the echo?
Marin, you captured many of the ideas I had tried to articulate. We feel it should be about the people, the experience, the cruising. The boat is vital to the experience, but not simply to go faster.

If sailors want to get there faster, they should buy a power boat. If a cruiser with the wherewithal wants to go faster, he can trade his Fleming for a Fairline.

I am guessing that this loose fraternity of trawler-focused folks shares some of these sentiments.

As for yodeling in my head... is that like singing to the choir.. ??
One of the most influential people in my life to date is Bob Munro, one of the three co-founders of Kenmore Air (Harbor) and the man who ran it himself from the year of its founding in 1946 to his passing in 2000. This was a man who had operated floatplanes throughout the coastal regions of Washington, BC, and SE Alaska, had operated float-equipped Norsemen and Beavers off glaciers in BC and Washington, and was also one of the best mechanics ever. He made possible experiences that my wife and I would never have dreamed would be possible.

He told me that for him, it was all about the journey. He said he was always a little disappointed when he got to where he was going because that meant the journey--- seeing and experiencing the incredible country he was flying over and through--- was at an end.

It's a sentiment I could identify with completely. By car, train, plane or boat, I am most happy when the journey is underway. On cruises in the boat, I enjoy the destinations, particularly the more remote ones, but the time I spend at anchor or at the dock in a harbor is more of just a pause between resuming the journey itself.

That's just me. Others view the destination as the objective and the journey is just the means to get there. There's no right or wrong here, just different.

This is a bad reproduction of my favorite photo of Bob. He is standing on the Blue Glacier at the summit of Mt. Olympus during one of the hundreds of re-supply flights he made for several years to the University of Washington research station up there. The altitude at this point is about 7,800' and the only way he could take off was to pitch the plane off the side of the glacier into the valley below.

Bob was also an avid boater, with one of the few steel-hulled DeFevers ever built, and he enjoyed boating the Inside Passage as much, if not more, than he enjoyed flying it.* He was a major influence in my wife's and my decision to buy the GB.* To me, Bob represented what I wanted to get out of life.* If I were asked if I had a "hero," it would be him.

-- Edited by Marin on Wednesday 17th of February 2010 01:43:13 PM


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