America’s Coup.

September 23, 2013. Perhaps today we’ll know who will capture yachting’s most coveted prize, America’s Cup.

Americas-Cup-Trophy-landscapeWill it land in the lap of a wingless bird, fallen from the grasp of an Eagle?

Whatever happens, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has reason to be both happy and proud. As the winner of the 2010 contest, his talented and pricey Team USA crew were given license to design a new formula for the boats that contest one of the most prestigious and obscure sports competitions.

The AC72 is the result: a twin-hulled, rigid-wing, carbon-fibre celebration of technology that elevates a competition traditionally as yawn-inducing as golf to possibly the most watchable sport of all. And certainly the most television-friendly ever. Despite its speed, the AC72 permits the close proximity of different camera platforms and an awesome viewing experience.

By comparison, open-wheeled F1 cars hit the small screen like go-karts powered by lawn-mower engines.

Make no mistake about it: the AC72 is fast. Flying … or ‘foiling’ as they say … on tiny strips of Unobtainium, they can accelerate to 50 or 60 mph in a heartbeat. And with wind, waves and currents all conspiring to toss a wrench into the works, the sense of foreboding becomes addictive. In warm-ups for this year’s competition, one crewmember was killed and several escaped by the Kevlar skin-of-their-teeth.

These vicious cats offer the appeal of team play together with individual rock-star heroes playing distinct roles. We can all have our favourite helmsman, wing-trimmer or grinder.

We can also indulge ourselves in an environment-friendly spectacle shared and participated in by nature and despised by oil barons from the tailing ponds of Fort McMurray to what’s left of the Gulf. Here on the Bay, ‘fillerup’ refers to the wind and a rigid sail and don’t bother us with details surrounding the 30 metre footprint of those carbon fibre hulls.

No public roads are closed for a street race and those lining up to complain about the noise with have to wait for the next Rob Zombie concert.

Anyway, no matter who flies or swims off with the Cup today, tomorrow or soon, everyone who enjoys thrilling and unpredictable competition will win, big-time.

Including the media moguls eager for another big sponsor draw.

11 years ago

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