Editorial- Joining up the dots in the Cup Game

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Is the America’s Cup destined to become a museum piece?
George Layton
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's New Zealand newsletter for 26 September 2008

The off-stage rumblings on the America's Cup scene continue.

Latest is the breaking story as we go to air, with Louis Vuitton announcing interest from 23 teams in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. Seven teams are signed already - one more than the maximum of six initially declared.

That has organisers trying to find ways of accommodating an expanded field, across the three weekend competition.

The big names are coming too, with BMW Oracle Racing's Russell Coutts undertaking to skipper their boat in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

We have full details on the latest announcement from Louis Vuitton's Bruno Trouble in this issue.

Also in this issue is announcement is that the 'Speedboat' team of www.cooksonboats.co.nz!Cookson_Boats, www.southernspars.com!Southern_Spars and www.northsails.co.nz!North_Sails NZ are back together for the construction of a TP52 to be campaigned by Team New Zealand on the MedCup circuit next year. While this group of suppliers have obviously been an integral part of the Team New Zealand's campaigns over the past few years, this is a first - extending the team beyond the realm of the America's Cup.

We also have the story from Stuart Alexander of The Independent (UK) backgrounding a possible meeting between the estranged Ernesto Bertarelli and Larry Ellison this weekend. A previous encounter was called off by Bertarelli because of 'plane troubles'.

You don't have to be awfully bright to join up the dots on this one.

The America's Cup as we knew it is under serious threat of becoming a museum piece. A memorial to intransigence.

The Audi MedCup circuit has really grown legs this year backed by a superb media machine and with many of the top racing teams, previously involved in the America's Cup, taking part. The next stage is to take this circuit up a couple of levels, and include the successful format used in the Acts sailed in the buildup to the 2007 America's Cup.

Both the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series and the Audi MedCup are being sailed as properly organised professional sailing events, without the cloud of Defender and Challenger Rights always being overhead, or visible on some horizon.

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series organiser, Bruno Trouble in "Bruno’s Buoy" used in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup

As the world economy currently stands, there is no need to sail in 25 or 30 metre boats that take years of tank testing and development to reach their optimum. Maybe it's better to sail in a more conventional boat, in an annual competition that has a full entry qualification series with a knock out round to find the final two, who go head to head for the trophy.

As Bertareli and Ellison meet, the Alinghi parties should be well aware that the Challengers have grown tired of the endless legal debates about the meaning of the word 'having'; and what 'organised' could have meant in 1870.

While the new circuit that is developing might not be the America's Cup, it will be a close second - and there won't be five or so years between events.

If the Louis Vuitton series can come this far in a couple of weeks - where will it be in a couple of years?

RS200 Club Championship 2008 at Northampton SC. Asymmetric sailed boats help keep young sailors in the British sailing program

In this issue we have a further installment of the interview conducted in Qingdao, with Rob Andrews (GBR), former British Olympic Coach and now Competition manager for the 2012 Olympic Regatta. In this story Rob comments on the British Youth program and the differences between the British approach and what happens elsewhere in the sailing world.

And don't miss Tom Slingsby's (AUS) analysis of his Olympic regatta in the Laser - a very honest piece of writing for which he is to be congratulated.

And if you are at a loose end on Saturday, pop down t the Royal Akarana Yacht Club and check out their Optimist program. Olympic Gold medalist, Tom Ashley will also be on hand at 1.00pm to mark the official opening of the Club's season.

Panerai Vele d'Epoca 2008, Imperia. Fyne, the oldest boat in the fleet (1889).

Line 7 Offshore bib trousers
Line 7
In this issue we repeat the great offer from www.line7.co.nz!Line_7, who are offering a massive almost $200 discount on their line of offshore gear, plus a free gear Line 7 bag, priced at $100. It's a great deal, for some great gear - but it is only available at Sailors Corner in Westhaven. Be in while it lasts, the contact details for Sailors Corner are in the story in this issue.

Line 7 is the Official Clothing Supplier to the Coastal Classic and a Race Division sponsor, and this is a great deal if you need some new kit, or someone you know is a little wanting in this regard.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor