With the survey responses pouring in, the sailing fans are showing a strong preference for the 34th America's Cup to be sailed in monohulls.
After just the first day of polling of Sail-World readers world-wide, a massive 67.65% of those who responded would rather watch a match race between monohulls than multihulls.
Interestingly the response is coming not from armchair sailors but hardcore racing sailors, with 85% of the responders describing themselves as racing sailors and 54% say they race each week. Only 7% classed themselves in the 'no longer sail' category.
Over 58% of the responses came from sailors who had previously match raced, with just under 80% of that group saying they had match raced in boats under 10 metres. The responses are more mixed on the size of boat they would wish to sail in a match race - with 44% opting for a boat under 10metres, 34% preferring a boat 10-15 metres and 22% (all numbers rounded) preferring a boat over 15 metres long.
Given the choice 77% would themselves prefer to sail a monohull rather than a multihull in a match racing event.
However the responses do a big shift when it comes to the type of boat they would rather watch in a match race - which has 65% of the responders wanting to view a boat more than 15 metres long.
While the preference is overwhelmingly in favour of a monohull, the Sail-World readership world-wide is split evenly on whether that boat should be a fast planing type, or a displacement type like the 12 Metres and existing AC Version 5 boats, used in all but two of the America's Cups in the last 50 years.
They are also almost evenly split on whether wing or soft sails should be used on multihulls - if they are to be used in the America's Cup.
The first 200 responses were used as a basis of making these conclusions - the preference of the sailors is very clear and more than enough to offset any statistical error from the survey sample. We have now close to 300 responses now and will issue another update on Monday along with more quotes. If you haven't already had your say click here and go into the draw to win one of six Musto fleeces Some Comments:
Response 19: There is a difference between spectacular sailing (planing skiff & multihull) and exciting RACING. The BMW Oracle was spectacular for its power & speed but there was probably less than a few minutes of exciting racing in the whole cup as the speed difference was so great between the two boats. The only way to get exciting racing is to have displacement boats within a tight rule, limit the budgets and the number of boats in the program. Whenever there is a new rule to make the boats under the designers will explore the boundaries and there will be large differences in the speed between the boats for the first couple of cups until it is clear which combination of parameters is consistently winning. With fast boats and new technology at that scale (wing sails) the difference in speed between the boats is just magnified. Unless the fastest cat or skiff were to have a breakdown they would always win. Although the cups have all been won by the faster boat the slower displacement boats have always had a chance of winning races & making a good match if sailed well. In 1983 Australia 11 was a faster boat and a match racing weapon compared to Liberty but it came down to the second last leg of the last race to determine the winner of the cup. (I have done two America's Cups in 12 metres, 83 & 87)
Response 47: Like multihulls themselves, the wing sail has proven to be a technological advance that we can't ignore. There needs to be multiple venues consisting of variable conditions. I would like to see smaller courses that require more sail changes and a reaching leg needs to be mandatory. The pre-race maneuvering contains the most adrenalin pumping action of any race. Don't lose it! On board cameras are good but 'sideline' cameras seem to provide a better understanding (to the folks at home) how the racers are doing on the field of play.
Response 59: Introduce a chicane on each leg to ensure constant action. The very high speeds combined with lots of opportunities for mistakes would place a premium on boat handling rather than just boat speed.
Response 64: On board media is a must. Wide angled lens, good sound from bow to stern. Tight courses. Restrict the width of the course. Keep spectators close and make sure the boats keep engaging. Then it is not so much of a race of design but a race of skill.
Multihulls are not favoured by the majority of the survey responses, and readers are split 50/50 over wingsails vs softsails in Multihulls if they are used in the America’s Cup - Jean Philippe Jobé Click Here to view large photo
Response 88: I believe that match racing would be more exciting with adrenaline rushing multihulls opposed to the traditional displacement mono's. Trimmers are used to trimming Soft Mains opposed to the new technology that we saw with BMW Oracle's wing. Most trimmers will have to adapt to trimming a wing sail so therefore you will have less experiences on the boat. This will be better for the match racing so that racing teams don't just go out and get the best possible trimmers out there.
Response 145: Either planing boats or multi-hulls of the A/C are a bad idea. The speed difference between identical boats where one has the puff, wave or ? are so great that the boats will not be in close quarters much of the time. Some grand boat that mortals can only dream of has always provided a great draw. It also helps to have old A/C boats still be useful for something (eg all of the old 12s in Newport and some that even did ocean racing. To make it more interesting for the viewers and supporters I would recommend ratcheting down the guns-for-hire aspect and having the crews be citizens of the country they are sailing for. I would also tighten up the ratings and scantlings to try to keep the boats as even as possible and focus on sailing. Perhaps even one design and single builder hulls with the rig somewhat open.
Response 32: I believe that for match racing to be exciting to watch, then the boats need to be kept close together, as they were with the 12m boats. If fast planing type boats are to be used, I think that with the big speed variations that are possible, the racing won't be so close and exciting. Using a foiling Moth or a 29er as an example, one boat only has to get a little gust that the other boat doesn't get and then they can jump ahead by a long way very quickly. I don't think this will make good spectator viewing. And the top sailor ?
We haven't got any specific numbers, but it would seem to be Ben Ainslie, followed by Russell Coutts. If you haven't already had your say click here and go into the draw to win one of six Musto fleeces