AC36 and all that jazz

So the AC is about to start again. Here we go again. Three months of prima donnas, a smattering of decent sailing won by the fastest boat. Not necessarily the one with all the cash but the one who, on reflection, was a few months further down the design track. It’s the same story every cycle.

And this one looks no different evidenced by the Kiwis going super extreme on their pig ugly creation and the Brits playing catch up with an almost radical design – not quite. The Italians are there to look good onshore – and boy do they look good. The Americans are, well, the Americans. Never going to set the world alight and for all intents and purposes there to shout a lot, start a few protests and ultimately go home without any silverware. It was ever thus.

American Magic’s AC75 PATRIOT in Auckland.

Let’s be honest, these boats are crazy ugly. Designed by committee from the outset and once you’ve marvelled at the speed and gone “oh look it flies out of the water” you very quickly get over it and it’s just another drag race. Will we see any high-speed crashes? Admit it, there’s a part of you hoping they will…you just won’t admit it. Just like when you’re watching Sir Lewis Hamilton careering around at 200mph as you doze away on a Sunday after a long lunch and some red wine, the reality is that it only gets interesting when some poor sucker’s on fire having crashed into a wall. The AC is no different. It will be a dull spectacle, illuminated briefly when the racing gets tasty. The rest you will forget and the viewing figures will plummet until someone does something stupid or gets it wrong.

So what do I think? Who cares? Well for what it’s worth it’s a huge uphill struggle for Team Ineos to win this and beat the Kiwis in their backyard. They look a few months behind and despite the fact that they will smoke the Challengers, the Kiwis will be a different ball game. If they can throw ever penny of Ratty’s money at it and spend it wisely in the next few months, they have a chance. Big Ben is definitely in the right postcode career-wise to do this. The Kiwis look a bit knackered as a team. Big ask but it might just happen. If it doesn’t, the Cup is as good as dead.

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