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America's Cup E-Mailbag

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Sail-World is happy to publish our readers' views an opinions on the America's Cup. Please address your contributions to

Sender: John Slater

Message: As a past officer of a yacht club currently holding one of the most historic yachting cups and an interested follower of world sailing, the ongoing debacle of the Americas Cup reflects most adversly on the officers and management of the two prominent Yacht Clubs involved.

I call upon the Boards and Commodores of the Geneva and Golden Gate Yacht Clubs to become more involved and accelerate a sensible return of Americas Cup to the water rather than the courtroom.

Sender: Peter Davey

It isn’t often I disagree with your assessments. Now is one of the times.

To suggest the Deed of Gift should be 'updated' because there happens to be an opportunity to do that is frivolous.

The very essence of the AC lies with its changelessness, the Deed of Gift having – because of its intrinsic qualities – literally survived all challengers for so long. It has done it in spite of the different technologies and general circumstances of yachties and yacht clubs and nations. People have changed, generations have changed, beliefs have changed, distribution of wealth has changed – everything has changed. Except the Deed of Gift. Therein lies its magic.

What Schuyler probably could not imagine and draft for was the extremism we see today in all facets of our societies. He was used to extremes of wealth, but perhaps presumed the constancy of sporting integrity and 'gentlemanliness' in future behaviour, if he thought about it at all. In the absence of those qualities today, there is no better arbiter of disagreement than the New York Supreme Court.

Why replace a skilled but disinterested body always in tune with current times, expert and practised in dispensing justice promptly according to law? Especially with a committee, a committee for heaven’s sake, a partisan body which will over the passage of time become less and less immune to external pressures? It is change for its own sake, with no abiding merit apparent if I imagine a few generations ahead. All a change does is pander to those who have a pressing current self-interest.

For those with the patience to see it, the Deed is working exactly as it ought, maybe as planned, and that is all for the good of the game. Don’t change it. Extremists will have their day, and their comeuppance. Meantime, there is a hell of a lot of great sailing to be had elsewhere.

Sender: Malcolm Tennant

I would like to comment on Dick Enersens thoughts on racing the high performance multihulls.

As I contemplate a tacking duel at closing speeds approaching 40 knots I am in awe of the judgement and skill that will be required. As for the boat leading around the 'weather mark zooms off downwind, never to be seen by the trailing boat again'. Contrary to what appears to be popular opinion. This is not what actually happens with this type of boat. I still vividly remember a 'little Americas Cup' race of a few years ago. This was being sailed in solid wing rig C-class catamarans between the Australians and the challengers from the USA. Upwind the lead changed hands a number of times but on the down wind leg the positions changed around 14 to 16 times with the two boats tacking downwind at phenomenal speeds. At the finish line the loser crossed the transom of the winner some 600mm behind on the opposite tack! The boat that was first around the windward mark certainly did not 'zoom' away, never to be seen again. This was typical of C-Class catamaran match racing.

These races could generate an enormous amount of excitement. They will be rivetting television viewing and could well produce finishes decided in differences of hundredths of seconds.


Sender: Paul Homchick

In the article published on 2008 Apr 08, about Valencia and the 33rd America's cup the following claim appears: 'In the Rising Sun his (Ellison's) own boat, which up until a few months ago was the largest private boat in the world, the American tycoon has a pedestal and an entire room given over to exhibiting the One Hundred Guineas Trophy, but for the moment the Cup is in Geneva, where Mr Bertarelli took it'

This is hogwash. Did Bertarelli tell this tale? The Deed of Gift contains the following sentence, 'It is distinctly understood that the Cup is to be the property of the Club subject to the provisions of this deed, and not the property of the owner or owners of any vessel winning a match.' If Oracle/BMW were to win the Cup, it would be displayed in the trophy room of the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Sender Pierre Varreon (FRA)

Again congratulation for the highly shrewed AC analysis of yours. That mess is turning quite apaulling . Where is the Good and noble spirit of persons like Tom Sopwith, Michael C Rockefeller, Sir Thomas Lipton, and closer to us the Great Sir Peter Blake???? Forgotten in the bottom of that stew I guess.

But let's be positive: I do believe that there will be a rational solution on the outcome of this circus and that ETNZ will be for something decisive in it. On the deepest lines I think grant Dalton is right to sue Alinghi: they are turning the AC into a third league european soccer brawl : shameful; so ETNZ is dong a great job while redressing things up to their prestigious level.

I think it should be great if SWNZ could edit a vibrant hommage to Olin J Stephens on April 13th for his 100th b'day! to get some pictures

Because its only a matter of a person of quality being honoured by persons of quality from the land of quality: Aotearoa.

All the best, long life to Aotearoa, God's pied-a-terre,

Pierre A Varreon

Sender: Peter Conway

It is very interesting that the sport of sailing appears to have so few behavioral boundaries. We must be the last remaining sport where the old brigade of priviledged silver spooners can, and do, dictate the progress of the sport. This AC debacle combined with the ISAF situation is ruinous, and the immediate effect unless something is done will be a relapse into sailing for the rich only, or will lead to a modernisation of behavioral boundaries by our so called rule makers.

Along with every single other person I know (aside from those on Alinhi payroll), I find both ISAF and Ernesto's behaviour deplorable. The morality is disgusting. OUR sport should not be held back, or held to ransom by powerseekiers. Those days are gone, because all sports that have tried it have failed because we need progress, which is dictated by the morality of requirements of skill and not by requirements to win trophies by those that want to buy this 'right'.

I need to rant more, but hope the message is agreed with

Pete Conway

Sender: Owen Sharpe

Message: I'm confused about the situation at the start of a mismatch. You said that a big multihull would be disadvantaged at the start and Alinghi would be able to get a disqualification in a 'nimble' boat.

Wouldn't a big cat be able to sail in at the start and continue downwind faster than Alinghi's boat until Alinghi sailed back towards the start line? They give away the start but avoid a penalty. Then they would be able to simply sail higher and faster on the first beat and pass a slower inferior boat. What is the problem with that?

Surely the nature of the AC starts in the past has been dictated by the similarity of the boats and the need to get in front and cover. Can you cover a boat that can easily start below and to leeward of you and sail faster and higher passing you to windward? The attacking boat can always tack way before it gets close to the leader and sail 'around' them, especially in a boat that has m

by Various correspondents


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