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Feather duster

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 7 Apr 2019 23:00 BST
AC75 yachts racing on a course in the outer Waitemata Harbour off North Head © Emirates Team New Zealand

As in knock me down... Like this wasn't going to happen. No semaphore was required here. Intrigue in the AC is nothing new. It is a shame, for sure, but we commented at the time of the late arrivals that the cash pool simply was not big enough, and alas, it may well yet come to pass. The fact that one panel says you don't need to pay up until racing begins is one thing, but with the big boats meant to be in the water by the middle of the year, it would now seem that time has become even more critical than money, and way more valuable.

Sticks and foils may be supplied, but there is still the aspect of hull, and most crucially the crew who will fly these beasts that needs to be addressed. If the Sydney SailGP showed anything, it was that the racing on foils can quickly become a tad lifeless and foreseeable if one or two teams are able to make good in the prevailing conditions, and capitalise on what is really a three to one advantage in high rider mode, over low.

Teams may have come out in their own defence, and it will be great to have more than the original fab four as part of the final make up for this concert of a lifetime, but if the AC is known for anything over and above the racing, then it must be the mimes, games, charades, stand up, Chinese Whispers, puppet show, pantomime, and opera that surpasses one Bernie Ecclestone, and quickly becomes something of the love child between Marcel Marceau, Benny Hill, Dame Joan Sutherland, and Joan Rivers (God rest all their souls, and thanks for the memories).

Equally, Newshub was quick to jump on it, but were the stories verified? Talking with Chris Dickson about it is one thing (and his generic comments are valid), yet there were no quotes from the interested parties themselves, and so alas, is this more like chumming the waters, and a lot less like putting the brain into first gear, let alone overdrive? Just how beneficial comments suggesting 'crowdfunding', and 'dead in the water' are at this juncture, remain a bit of anathema to me. As too, the NYYC's DNA driven penchant for court action.

Now it may all still go down the drain hole, but for now, Stars and Stripes have 'redoubled their efforts', and the Dutch 'have not given up', which come from their own mouths. So alas, and just as the Arbitration Panel has said, until it is time to race, they are valid. Should they choose to bow out in the meantime, then so be it, but perhaps wait for the milk to go off before pouring it down the sink, please.

So yes, let's make it all about the time on the water, and whomever is lucky enough to be out there. Incidentally, if you thought that it seemed weird that the Kiwis themselves were not waterborne yet, then do not fear. Glenn Ashby assures me they will be out there very soon, as in just a couple of months. Ultimately, the America's Cup stands for sailing. Let the Golden Globes, Tony's, Grammy's, box office takings, und so weiter, deal with the rest!

Small boats now, and of late, it might seem that the Lasers have had the same script writers working on their movie too, but equally, a bit of argy-bargy is nothing new in their camp, either. Only this latest fracas might have serious ramifications for the goose that laid the golden egg, as we discussed last week in Oh Yeah. Giddy Up!!!

It must be pretty serious when vested parties use words like 'deplorable', and then almost immediately after, 'falsehoods and misrepresentations'. Invariably, when the mud starts to get slung far and wide, anyone looking to do business with the protagonists runs a million miles. In this case, that would be the Olympics. The other card always used in these types of affairs is follow the money trail. When you're arguably the most successful class ever, that means a lot. That Laser Performance wants a World Sailing inspector to sign off on their building methodologies speaks not in volumes, but entire libraries, as to that state of affairs between them and the class association. Laser Performance have even had a go at Performance Sailcraft Australia, who against the sheer weight of the European scenario must look like a minnow, and you end up wondering whether the wagons have formed the circle, leaving only the fire arrows to solve the dispute. Keep your flammables far away, me thinks, and don't smoke!

I feel the need. The need for something lighter. So OK then, and paying homage to Top Gun, the Vaikobi powered M32, Bliksem, requests a flyby. 'Buzzing the tower', including the coffee spill, takes on a new, waterborne meaning. Check it out for yourself in this video. The pattern may be full Ghostrider, but since when did that matter, and thanks to #vaikobisail for making us aware of it.

Right oh here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about the IMOCAs, superyachts with North Sails, the Olympic classes at Mallorca and well done to Waterhouse and Darmanin along with all the medallists, Melges 20, the Clipper, the man behind Pantaenius' stunning art series, Sail Port Stephens, Gabart and that amazing Ultime tri known as Macif, SailGP, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow
Sail-World.com AUS Editor

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