“Nothing changes on New Year’s Day” was Bono’s lament – admittedly about the Polish solidarity movement – but quite apt in a general sense. I prefer the French journalist Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s version: “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.” Look it up on Google. Well Happy New Year everyone. Tau Hou hari in Maori. How are those resolutions going? Veganuary? Life choice. Sober January? You’re having a laugh. Be kind? I’ll try. Considerate? Sure, if you engage. But rather than resolutions that are never going to happen, here’s the bucket list. Just a few things that I am determined to do this year:
1/ Sail a Waszp: Never foiled. Never had the sensation of foiling. Foiling has zipped by me. Want to do it and the Waszp looks like the boat to do it on. Would absolutely love to have a go. I will post the video here and everyone can laugh at me getting a thorough, well-deserved, drenching and looking like a pillock. I’m sure Ineos must have one or two knocking about?
2/ Sail a Star. The grand-daddy of the old Olympic classes. I have wanted to sail a Star since I was a kid and never had the chance. I’ve been contacted by Arnd in Germany and Allan in Vancouver both of whom have kindly offered to fulfil this long-held ambition and if I could travel I would. Surely there’s an old Iain Percy one kicking around on the South Coast of the UK somewhere?
3/ Visit New Zealand. I priced up flights this morning for the family, just the three of us, to get out to the Cup and it’s eye-watering. Would love to be down there but might have to park this ambition. Everyone wants to be in New Zealand. I might never come back.
4/ Sail with the family around the Isle of Wight. Sounds trivial to most but this is the most likely achievement of 2021 when the restrictions lift. A glorious day-sail, starting early with a gentle Force 3-4 would do just lovely. Might have to leave the dog at home though.
And that’s it really. In a sporting sense I would like to see the Cup lighting up a bit. The images and videos coming back from New Zealand so far are a tad disappointing on the development front as I suspected.
Sure it’s a development class and for the purists who really know their camber from their foil angles, it’s moderately amusing but for the rest of us it’s just same same. We always have the belief and expectation that the Cup will throw up radical development and I’m afraid that it’s looking like, in this cycle, incremental tweaks rather than giant steps forward. The rule is too tight and too clever for real innovation. The Kiwis always innovate – and I’d be surprised if we didn’t see something that makes us all go “wow” but I’m not holding my breath too much on that one. Come on Team New Zealand light the fire.
The racing itself will be master-blasting at the extreme and again it will be small angle differences producing gauge that will ultimately decide the races. Downwind VMG is what they are all working on and that will be fascinating if the racing is tight. I suspect that whoever figures this one out between American Magic and Prada will take the Challenger chocolates and that will be a tight call. Magic all the way for me.
I hope that VAR doesn’t come into play too much. Yes it’s super-nice having the overlaid boundaries and all the fancy tech that goes with the Cup these days – it’s a huge step forward for the viewing public – but I hope that super-tight races don’t come down to a foil arm being 30cm outside the boundary when it’s dropped. Those kind of calls, just like in soccer, are ruinous to the spectacle. Judgment from the judges required. No pressure lads.
Looking forward to 2021. Can’t be any worse than 2020 although it does feel that it’s going to get darker in the UK before the dawn breaks. Frightening really. But as I have said before, New Zealand has offered us a vision of hope in the gloom of what normal looks like. It can’t come soon enough. Happy New Year.
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