Tough Call

Waiting in the queue outside a nightclub is, from memory, a miserable experience. I am far too old for nightclubs now. But that horrible anticipation standing on a rainy street with a shaven-headed thug stopping your progression is amplified by the thought that your mates are dancing inside and you’re just not at the party. Team Ineos must be looking over at the racing going on between Prada and Magic with the eyes of a teenager in the queue.

15/12/20 – Auckland (NZL) 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada Practice Races – Day 3 New York Yacht Club American Magic

The action is all over there and the racecraft that is being polished is vital to the outcome of the Challenger series starting in a few short weeks’ time. Trailing around a racecourse or getting blown away on boatspeed is a really tough, grinding, soul destroying experience. We have all been there. Do you learn much? No, you get deflated if you’re honest with yourself but for Ineos we are in the: “at-least-they-got-round-today” school of thought and that’s a poor return for the expectation that the team, not the media, have been building up for the past three years.

Public Relations around this effort has been nigh on catastrophic despite the sailors best efforts to dial down a public expectation fuelled by typical British optimism and dis-connected corporate nonsense.

But the Magic/Prada match up is the story that will run and run in the next month or so. They are probably too close to call. Terry Hutchinson’s team were the first to splash and get on with sailing this new yachting concept and their early start to the campaign is paying rich dividends. Jimmy Spithill fused with the affable Francesco Bruni meanwhile is my guess for why Prada is doing so well. Both boats have weaknesses in design and performance that will be tweaked and addressed in the coming days and weeks but don’t be fooled by the modifications story. No-one is going to leap ahead, development classes don’t often throw up huge, game-changing breakthroughs. They are all throwing money in the same direction and will all develop at a commensurate pace. I fully expect Magic and Prada to still be nip and tuck come January 15th.

Who will win? It’s a very close call as evidenced on the water today but I am so impressed with how Terry Hutchinson is approaching this regatta and how he’s kept the expectation levels in check both at home in the States and down in Auckland that I am leaning towards ‘Bruce the Shark’ to come out on top when it’s all said and done. Punchy call but I suspect that Prada will fall off at the death.

New York Yacht Club vs The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for the America’s Cup in March. It’s got a ring to it. You heard it here first.

Don’t put your house on it but that’s my call on the evidence so far.

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One thought on “Tough Call

  1. Surprised you haven’t mentioned the fact that around 10 (mostly shore crew)guys jumped ship from Ineos back at the end of last year. These were highly skilled key members if the team… why did they all decide to bail out? Your guess is as good as mine.

    Liked by 1 person

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