Pendulum

“Be brave, be bold… It’s time for the colonials to conquer the old world. Take the Cup on tour, I say.” These are the words of New Zealand’s most prominent Sports Editor, Duncan Johnstone of Stuff, one of the leading voices in the America’s Cup and one of the key opinion formers in the land of the long white cloud. It’s the zeitgeist of the nation and the sailors right now. He’s absolutely right. Spot-on. Do or die time.

©KOS Picture Source / wwwkospictures.com

And with bright minds like Johnstone leading the way, the mood music is shifting squarely towards an interim regatta in the UK with the argument laid clearly before the Kiwi public that; “Getting a meaningful event to form an interlude is gold, especially to Team New Zealand. The biggest problem they regularly face at exactly these post-regatta moments is one of survival. A deed of gift challenge offers them the chance of bridging finance, with the extravaganza in Britain an easy sell for someone with the door-knocking skills of Grant Dalton. Without knowing the details of any other juicy offers moving forward, this looks like an opportunity that is gift-wrapped.”

In a nutshell that’s it. And with the news yesterday, as predicted here, that Jim Ratcliffe would be absolutely willing to bring the Cup back to Auckland in 2024, win, lose or draw, let’s just get it on. The New Zealand government can breathe a huge sigh of relief and have surety over the future event. The Kiwi public can rest assured that Team New Zealand won’t lose the Cup on foreign soil (or anywhere for that matter) and they can cheer on their heroes at a home event that hopefully the world can come to and swell the coffers as a thank you for a brilliant event this time.

©KOS Picture Source / www.kospictures.com

Now the tricky question is whether this is a one-off-one-on-one Match or a multi-Challenger event. My preference would be to say to Luna Rossa, Magic and whoever else is lining up (Larry? Ernesto?): “Come to Cowes!” We’ll move heaven and earth to host you. It will be the best regatta the Cup has ever seen and the more the merrier. What would be absolutely dynamite is if the rules stated that 2021 boats must be used in 2022. No new builds. You can only build a new boat for 2024. Okay that might exclude the Gazillionaires sitting in Switzerland and San Francisco but surely a deal could be struck to sell one of the current teams’ second boats if they are desperate to join?

Done deal…pack the donkeys up and ship them to the UK and hope that the Ever Given tanker has been removed from the Suez Canal. Or better still – get an Antonov and fly the beasts over here – Southampton airport is a ghost town at the moment. No problems whatsoever with Air Traffic Control…

© Sailing Energy / American Magic

What a magnificent event this is going to be. It always was the only story left in the America’s Cup – coming back to the UK – and although it would be super-nice if it was actually won by a British syndicate (I’ve been wishing that all my life), this is the next best thing. Can you imagine Luna Rossa, Magic, Ineos, Te Rehutai, Alinghi and Oracle banging around the Solent and doing showpiece races around the Isle of Wight? I can. It would capture the world’s attention. This is exactly what the Cup needs and where’s the downside? The Cup jamboree of all jamborees. Forget ’87. Forget ’13. We’ve already forgotten Bermuda. This is it. This is the real deal.

And with the pendulum swinging in popular opinion in New Zealand, the only sticking point is the 90 day consultation with the Government. Even a blind man can see where that one is going. Why not call it off? Do the government a massive favour and save the politicians squirms and excuses by Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron saying: “We’re going. We’ll be back. See you in 2024.” Everyone would be mightily relieved that the can is kicked down the road and can walk away happy. Stringing this out to the end of the 90 days leaves room for debate and conjecture. Certainty gives closure and an ordered pathway ahead.

Do the deal. And see you in Cowes…

7 thoughts on “Pendulum

  1. 1 v 1 is the likeliest on the financial front, with Magic’s NYYClub unable to follow up from their crash out. 2 v 1 might happen if Italy can organise to come along but they will need to view this for what it is and not what they want it to be. There is only so much Jam to go around on this bun fight. We all forget that these are still prototype machines. They are only the “finished product” because that was what was needed to place a boat on the Auckland race track to win. They have much more development to go to be close to their true potential. We also forget what a mess Covid made of the true potential for all 4 boats to develop sufficiently in time for the March Finale. Italy and NZ due to inside track had a 18 month headstart on the maths of what works with their lead into their declaration of the rules and the delay in roll out and take up badly affected half the squad of 4. The actual races in December 2020 and January February and March 2021 brought everyone on rapdily in development terms but Magic and Ineos had already gone down the design path which Italy and NZ had probably been down and reversed back out of by the time Ineos and Magic had committed to Build design 2 (final version before racing). Italy would have liked to have had more of a chance to develop their “scoop” shape above deck and to try out their flat foils. None of this back history will matter however to any new team apart from the fact that they all saw what worked and what the class is likely to focus on in any further development. This IoW venture will be a better substitute in true development terms than all those missed races (that should have taken place in the two Covid cancelled events in early and mid 20200. After all, people designing, now know what not to do. But the IoW event will be a competitive race and that is a great spur to development. Better than those earlier cancelled “pretendy races” 2020 races could ever have been. Whether it is 1 v 1 or 2 (or more) v 1 doesn’t really matter at this point in the AC cycle. What matters to me as a fan of AC75 is the chance to develop more and more in the design and more and more boats to be available for enough international competitors to make it the start of a proper and regular international competition on a more regular and affordable playing field. Thank you Magnus for affording everyone the opportunity to have their say on this site.

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    1. Peter, the DoG challenge would be 1v1 by definition and there’s no way Ratty would want anyone else crashing his party and potentially spoiling it. Then whatever happens it is back to Auckland in 2024 for a regular challenger series then AC match.

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  2. So, it looks like the Cup will go back to the (updated) original denomination “100 Bitcoin Cup”…
    A gentlemen fleet race around Wight… but counterclockwise! 🙂 OMG!

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    1. If they race around the island then some additional rules need to be enforced:

      -The owners are required to not only be on board, but also steer the boat, while wearing a top hat, suit and tie.
      – A minimum quantum of gin and cigars is required to be consumed/smoked by each crew member over the course of the race.
      – more to follow…

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      1. My best mate from Plymouth was part of the “useless crew” who first sailed on Velsheda after her rebuild! Round the IoW! he said he thought he had died and gone to heaven!

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  3. I was vehemently against this DoG challenge, but if Ratty promises* that the next event be in Auckland no matter what the outcome then I agree with Duncan that it’s a bit of a no brainer.

    As charming as it sounds, a round the island race doesn’t make sense to me as it wouldn’t be a proper match race? Leave that for the superyacht races and have a proper set of match races on a course around the buoys in the Solent, surely?

    * Just someone Make sure he doesn’t cross his fingers behind his back. This is the America’s Cup so worse things have happened.

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  4. Not going to happen. Dalton not that stupid. Why? If INEOS won, they would not be back in Auckland. Despite promises it would not happen. Why? There are 2 key third parties involved with Auckland (Auckland City, and NZ Gov). Negotiating with them as Team NZ is different from INEOS in many ways. So INEOS have a ready made excuse (“sorry Grant, I tried but NZ Gov/Auckland not playing ball…. so we are back in the UK”). Whether Auckland/NZ Gov play hard ball or not, Ratcliffe has an easy way out and you cannot firm up on support/infrastructure/budget etc 3 years out.

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