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sail-world.com -- Rod Davis: Back to the Future - Have we progressed since 1988?

Rod Davis: Back to the Future - Have we progressed since 1988?    
Wed, 29 Aug 2012


While sitting in LA Airport waiting for the plane home, professional sailing coach, Olympic Gold and Silver medalist and long time America's Cup crew and skipper, Rod Davis penned these insights on the 1988 America's Cup, and asks if we really progressed in 2012?

Sometimes when you get beat, you are hurting so much you can't see or appreciate the effort and magic of the other team.

That how it was in the 1988 America's Cup.

I was the sailing team manager for Fay's 130ft K Boat, from New Zealand. The biggest boat if it's kind and impressive in its own right. We threw our heart and soul into being the best we could be. We worked our butts off. Dennis Conner, John Marshall, and others the did the same but better, far far better.

So much better it is only now that people, including me, understand the enormity of what they accomplished. The court battles, press battles, and personal attacks still scar both sides of the war. But even through the bitterness, I can step back and marvel at their super-yacht.

The 2013 America's Cup, Coutts, Ellison and all the rest tout their forward thinking, but I tell you without a lie, it's been done before - 25 years ago. No some half baked version. The whole shebang.

Catamaran in the America's Cup? Been there done that.

Wing sail......yep Dennis had that too. The 65 foot cat was so fast that it beat the K Boat by 20 mins in each race of the 88 'Mis-match'. Only 20 mins because they held back so as not too look so lopsided the Courts would rule against them.

Remember, 25 years ago, cell phones were bricks, and pay phones were how you called home. The Internet did not exist - no email, no Google Maps, Personal GPS or www.com anything! Nada, neit , nien, no.

But a 65 foot cat, with a wing as sophisticated as any thing you will see in this next Cup was ripping up the waters of San Diego.

I remember the time before the Cup, that they sailed through our lee and out in front of us, set me thinking 'Wow I have never seen anything like that before'.

It only took a quarter of the century to get back there.

by Rod Davis



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