An America’s Cup for the few, with an all too obvious favorite


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cup-americaThe Protocol arrived(you can find it explained point by point here) well behind the promised date, but mostly with extensive concessions to the defender. When faced with any “law” one asks the question, “where does the person who wrote it want to take us?” In other words, where does this Protocol aim?

Whether it is an explicit intention (Americans despite their marketing studies are sometimes chillingly naive) or not, the challengers are likely to remain five, which we know well. The registration dates are very close, the fee and deposit are plentiful, and only those who are already on the job now have the resources and inner security to sign up for an event where they start immediately penalized. It is known that the America’s Cup is made for strong characters, that whoever wins writes the rules. However… the sports promise was different. One almost needs to have the strength to say, I’m not in. But how do you back out? The Protocol is certainly the result of a long mediation process, the delay in publication proves. Locations are lacking, and without those it is more complex to design and finance.

Besides Australia’s only sure challenger Bob Oatley those who have already indicated their intention to be there are our heroic Luna Rossa with Patrizio Bertelli in his fifth challenge, the Swedes of Artemis with Iain Percy in the cockpit, Baronet Ben Ainslie with a union jack waving union, a winner in sports with his five glittering medals and his decisive action on Oracle in the historic come back and finally the defeated Team New Zealand, uncertain in fundraising, in the choice of skipper. As a first impression (and with every desire to be proven wrong) there is no place for the breezy second Italian union, for the Arabic-speaking union, for the Russians, for the Chinese, no place for other defenders that America could have produced as it always has. Issue number 35 may not exceed in competitors those of Perth, San Diego, Auckland, Valencia. The good thing is that the unions that have pledged participation are quality, few but good Grandma would say.

The big advantages for Oracle are at least three. Meanwhile, it had never happened despite attempts to do so in the past, runs together with the challengers a race that is not only demonstration, as were the world series with old boats or AC 45s, which will give an important point in the match. On paper, the idea is also not bad because, as things stand, he stands to win this point against all challengers, however, the challengers “pay” him by letting him analyze the performance of their AC 62s in the regatta, a fact that can become decisive for the final result. The defender can build two hulls(or rather four that make two boats) but from the same design: the two boat campaign is essential to build speed, the same operation as the kiwis in 95, proceeding with gradual modifications whose effectiveness in the water can be verified. Challengers will work with only one hull and while they will be engaged in a location other than the final event risking breakage the defender will keep one well guarded in its base. Finally, the independent Jury, not “imposed” by Isaf but chosen. After the two penalty points (which could have been a disqualification) for the AC 45 tarring, it is clear that the Americans want a chance to maneuver these decisions better.

But what we are most interested in is: what will this Cup do to become a major event? In San Francisco great TV production for no airplay, good show for a very small audience complicit in a series of errors of perspective in the sale of TV rights, which in reality are worth almost nothing, and the hope that as happened decades ago the press would jump on the bone voraciously. Unfortunately, the worldwide crisis in the publishing world, changing audience tastes, and huge production and travel costs in the face of dubious results are a brake that can only be unlocked by investing real money to secure audience. Aggressive marketing operations perhaps, but which other sports have practiced without presumption admitting that there is only one Formula One. After San Francisco in short, we hope it will not be a second edition of “not communicating,” because the technologies at hand are not the only key to success.

Antonio Vettese



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