That bloody dream of making sailing a show

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Official. The next America’s Cup will be run in 2017 in Bermuda, an archipelago that is British territory.

The beautiful cartoon that Davide Besana sent us in the editorial office.
The beautiful cartoon that Davide Besana sent us in the editorial office.

This was announced by the organization at a press conference in New York Challengers Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing, Ben Ainslie Racing, Luna Rossa Challenge and Team France will try to take the “jug” off defender Oracle Team USA in the Great Sound basin, southwest of the island complex, aboard the new AC62s. In the newsroom, discussion immediately flared up: those in favor, those against. We report below the contrasting views of two of our editors, inviting you to let us know your opinion!

THE “NOSTALGIC”
Let’s say it now. This is spoken by a nostalgic. Gone are the days of the America’s Cup, the “Auld Mug” (“the old jug”). They have been over since 2010: the year of one of the most rocambolic editions of this event due to the endless legal disputes, which distorted the principles of sporting fairness enshrined in the Deed of Gift: it was the Valencia edition (Alinghi vs. Oracle, catamaran vs. trimaran), which had received heavy criticism from ecologists for the wave of building speculation it brought with it.

m291_hospitalityAfter the 2013 edition in San Francisco, we learn that the 2017 Cup will be held in the Bermuda Islands. A location far removed, as, moreover, Valencia had been, from traditional “temples of sailing” such as San Francisco, San Diego (a candidate until the last to host the Cup), Newport. Judging from the renderings, it will be a mammoth architectural operation, a veritable sailing stadium, adding to that great natural amphitheater in the southwest of the archipelago that goes by the name of Great Sound (question: does the ghost of speculation and ecomonster loom here as well?). Because, we said, the days of the old Cup are over: the traditional sailor no longer makes the audience, now it is just showbusiness. And the event must be appealing both to those who follow it from the comfort of their homes and to those who will be on site. I wonder: in this great welter of TVs, superboats, helmeted sailor-pilots and easy-fit suits, futuristic shore facilities, aren’t we in danger of losing the spirit of the good old America’s Cup? Ghego Saggini

I, ON THE OTHER HAND, LIKE THE BERMUDA SHORTS

The next Cup will be run on the AC 62
The next Cup will be run on the AC 62

When it became known in the newsroom that Bermuda would host the next America’s Cup, in 2017, we were a bit split. Some people wrinkled their noses, fond of the story, and those like yours truly smiled instead. Then again, why bind itself to the past, when for a while now it is the Cup itself that has broken ties with its tradition? Let’s face it, once upon a time even the Sunday sailor could dream of boarding Luna Rossa, Moro, Azzurra–at least the shape of the hull reminded us in our desires of that of the Alpa on which we used to cruise!
Then came the multihulls, the flying catamarans, capable of exceeding 30 knots of speed like nothing, flying three meters above the sea even when the wind, in reality, was hardly there… It is the dream, as old as the day in which challenger racing was born, to turn the Cup into a Formula 1-like spectacle. And never really got off the ground.
What if this is the one? Looking at early renderings of the planned facilities in Bermuda, the Grand Prix effect strikes immediately. I don’t know if, as someone here in the newsroom says, it’s all about building speculation. However, I know that cities like Auckland and Valencia have benefited from the presence of the America’s Cup and have seen their harbors reborn. Then again, the spectacle offered by the AC72s in the last edition held in San Francisco was undeniable, with tacking and gybing just a few meters off the ground, to the delight of the audience on the piers.
Alexander de Angelis

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