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Fisher's View- Cascais - A Box of Matches on the penultimate day

by Bob Fisher on 14 Aug 2011
Oracle Racing goes over Emirates Team NZ- Racing Day 6 - ACWS Match Racing OracleTeam USA© www.oracleracing.com

Bob Fisher, one of the worlds top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in Cascais, Portugal for the first round of the America's Cup World Series.

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having competed for Britain in the Little America's Cup and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967. After three rides on an AC45 on three consecutive days, he's developed a habit.

He writes:

Dear Diary – Day 9 A Box of Matches - America's Cup World Series - Cascais, Portugal

It is a day when the amount of confusing material has been reduced to a minimum. We members of the media were addressed only by the ACRM supremo, Iain Murray, and with the 'big fella' there is no room for anything but straight talking, none of the confusion of marketing-speak.

We were therefore well prepared for the match racing and the scoring associated with it. The KISS Principle had been observed. Keeping it simple is what this regatta should have been all about and from one side of the organisation the message has been received and understood.

The shore teams will be investigating gennakers furlers after this week. Emirates Team New Zealand most definitely lost the first heat of the final when the gennakers formed a wineglass as Barker and his team led around the windward mark just ahead of Oracle’s Jimmy Spithill. Spithill had no such problem and sped past into an unassailable lead.


But we did see some wonderful match racing – many of the traditional moves were observed and there was even a slam-dunk tack on a windward leg! How many of the naysayers would have thought that possible?

How many, even aficionados, would have thought that the four-time America’s Cup winner, Russell Coutts would have been beaten by Chris Draper and Team Korea. Certainly not the bookmakers, but this was no fluke. Team Korea has demonstrated the most advancement of any of the teams that attended this regatta.

While the match racing brings an end to one part of this World Series, it is not the end of the regatta. That comes with a winner-takes-all fleet race tomorrow. Maybe the learning curve for the organisers is as steep as it is for the sailors – both have a long way to go and television more than any.

I understand that it is aimed at a totally new audience, but it is in danger of losing the traditional audience. The feedback that I have is that there is no 'story' in the television coverage, simply a series of rapid flashes and the commentary might be incomprehensible. That is, I understand, because there are two distinct commentary streams, one for 'sailors' and one for 'sport.' I rest my case.

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