Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 Reasons Why a DoG Fight Will Be Good for the America's Cup

And so it seems that the 33rd America's Cup will be a "Deed of Gift" (aka DoG) Match between two giant 90 foot multihulls.

At least that's what it says on Alinghi's website today...

At a meeting today in Geneva, the America’s Cup defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), confirmed that it accepts the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s (GGYC) challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup and informed representatives of the American yacht club that its team, Alinghi, will be ready to race their 90x90ft boat (as stated in the GGYC Notice of Challenge) in 2010.

Woo hoo! Bring it on!

Many of the stuffed shirts in the world of yachting are tut-tutting over this outcome and instead want a replay of the boring, endless fiasco we had last time.

I beg to differ. So here are my 7 Reasons Why a DoG Fight Will Be Good for the America's Cup.

1. Tradition
A match sailed under the Deed of Gift will be more traditional. We have strayed a long way from the original concept of the Cup since the 1850's. The way it was supposed to work was that some crazy rich old coot would write a posh letter to the New York Yacht Club essentially saying, "My boat's faster than your boat. Nah nah nah nah." The NYYC would accept the challenge by writing another posh letter saying effectively, "See you next July off Sandy Hook. Nah nah nah nah." The NYYC would then find some other crazy rich old coot with a faster boat, meet the first crazy rich old coot off Sandy Hook, crush him, and all would be well with the world.

So let's get back to that tradition. One defender. One challenger. Two crazy rich old coots. The way it was meant to be. Yachting needs to honor its traditions.

2. Excitement
There's no argument, multihulls are faster and more exciting than big monohulls with all those tons of spent uranium or whatever metal they use now in their keels to slow them down. Let's face it, the 50 knot speed barrier was broken by a multihull. Can you imagine a round-the-buoys race between two 90 foot multihulls sailing at that speed (or anywhere near it)?

3. Simplicity
Multihulls are not going to frig around doing dial-ups and dial-downs and all the other rigmarole of match racing that only 26 people in the whole world really understand. (It was 27 the year before last, but one of the 27 is now suffering from early Alzheimer's.) They are going to accelerate off the start line in clear air and go for speed, speed, speed baby. Bang the corner. Tack. And then off on another wild ride to the first mark. I know, I've sailed cats on Sailx. All that boring tacking and ducking and covering stuff just slows you down. And if we are going to make yachting appeal to a wider audience we need racing to be easy to understand. Anyone can understand the concept of "faster boat wins".

4. Cost
In a deed of gift match, two crazy rich old coots called Larry and Ernie are going to spend a few millions building a couple of multihulls, some port that Ernie chooses (probably Valencia) will get to host them, and someone vaguely impartial but really working for Ernie will lay on three races. That's it. No endless expensive series of "acts" over many years and then a costly challenger series dragging on for months. No "challenges" from no-hope syndicates from Luxembourg or Namibia or wherever. No chasing around for sponsors. Easy. Cheap.

5. Unique
The deed of gift match between multihulls of essentially unrestricted design will be a test of technology and yacht design more than seamanship. This is a good thing. The Olympics and each class World Championship are the events designed to find out who the best sailors are. The America's Cup needs to differentiate itself from these events. The America's Cup should be all about the nerds in the design office. Crazy rich old coot with the best nerds wins.

6. Technology Trickle Down
You know trickle down? That's the economic theory that says its a good thing for rich people to have big expensive toys because eventually the money trickles down to the little guy who pumps out their holding tanks. More importantly, while Larry and Ernie are building the biggest baddest multihulls you ever saw, they will be spurring invention and creating technical improvements that you will eventually use on your Hobie 16. Yeah right. OK, well the other 6 reasons are still good.

7. Spectator Appeal
The DoG fight is going to be the most stupendous event ever in yachting with huge appeal to on-site spectators and TV viewers around the world. Why? Well, because of all the reasons above. To summarize, the audience will love it because

* it will be traditional
* it will be in fast boats
* it will be exciting to watch
* it will be easy to understand
* it will be a one-off event lasting a few days
* it will be a show-down between two crazy rich old coots whom we all love to hate
* a crash between two monster multihulls approaching each other at around 50 knots will be spectacular and the best thing ever to demonstrate to the general public why yacht racing is so much fun. After that, sailing will be bigger than NASCAR.

OK. I admit that this post is only an update of a post that I published in Dec 2007. So what? Yesterday was Earth Day. Recycling is good.


EVK4 said...

That is what I'm talking about. Please email this link to Adam so he can stop being depressed about hanging on to old outdated ideas of what the America's Cup should be. I've seen footage of the BMWO beast sailing faster than the wind. that is cool.

EVK4 said...

Oh, and please change your "statistic" to 26 people who know the match racing rules, turns out I don't know as much as I thought I did when I registered with the Match Racing Experts of America last June.

Anonymous said...

Lots of this please.

Carol Anne said...

Version one (with thanks to A A Milne)
1. Two or more participants stand by upstream side of bridge over flowing water
2. Participants drop matches in water
3. Run to downstream side (watch for traffic)
4. See which match won

Version two:
1. Blue flag/yellow flag, F flag, a few racing rules tweaks to learn
2. Come out from your corners
3. Chase each other in circles
4. Start, race, freak each other out, finish
5. Repeat

Now was that so painful?

Anonymous said...

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