Gathering Speed

Pay any attention to sailing news and one subject that has continually been generating ink as of late is the America's Cup. But unlike years prior, this ink is positive, namely, how the Defender and the Challenger of Record intend to restore the Cup to its former halcyon days.

The latest plot twist in this ongoing saga pertains to the number of hulls that will be used to determine the winner of the 34th Cup and to also generate the most mass-media interest. Given the dismal U.S. coverage of this past February's Deed of Gift match, there's little wonder that the powers that be are seriously interested in change.

During the week of July 22-25, AC organizers and the Media Evaluation Team plan to stage a media experiment off of Valencia, Spain, to try and gauge what sort of boat will hold the most appeal to the largest swath of viewers.

The team will use a pair of Extreme 40 cats and dual RC44's, both equipped with HD and 3D cameras, and will also experiment with a variety of racing formats to determine which is likely to have the broadest appeal.

Compared to the torrents of negativity, legal musings and tomfoolery that flooded the press a year ago, this is brave new attitude of pulling fans in—rather than sending them scurrying for the relative safety of mainstream sports— is clearly a huge improvement.

Meanwhile, at the Laser Radial Worlds, in Largs, Scotland, Americans Paige Railey of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and Mitchell Kiss of the US Sailing Development Team have both earned bronze medals after the final day of racing was abandoned.

This regatta was fraught with huge weather swings, from no wind to a 40-knot buster. Impressively, Kiss is the youngest member of the US Sailing Development Team; keep this talented 15-year old on your radar, as we will likely be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

On the east coast, the fabled New York Yacht Club race week kicks off on Saturday, July 17. Be sure to check in for the latest from this action-packed fleet.

And for a visual feast, ace shooters Sander van der Borch and Dave Kneale have provided fine collections of images from the Delta Lloyd IFDS 2.4m, SKUD18 and Sonar Worlds, and from Day Four of the Volvo ISAF Youth Worlds (respectively).

Fair winds and following seas,