Maybe it's just me, but the thought that two independent entities—US SAILING and the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Seahorse Rating affiliate—are now working on rules for the next class of America's Cup yacht has seriously ramped up my expectations for 34th Defense.
All sorts of pressing questions buzz, including—but certainly not limited to—the where, the when, and the what. Thankfully, we can at least ponder a few things that are
known, including some of the who's, the obvious why, and the all-important how.
Follow any recent sailing news and it's obvious that the pro's are working hard to keep their match-racing and fleet-sailing skills sharp. Take TeamOrigin's wunderkind skipper, Ben Ainslie, for example. The 33-year old Brit will be defending his 2009 title at this year's Argo Group Gold Cup, to be held in Bermuda this coming October.
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar and Ben Ainslie (GBR) TeamOrigin - Stena Match Cup Sweden - Loris von?nid=71665
Here, he can expect an onslaught from the world's best match racers that this prestigious event always attracts—perfect for keeping his skills sharp.
In the meantime, Ainslie and TeamOrigin will square off against the Defender's phenom skipper James Spithill (currently sailing with another multihull guru Glenn Ashby at the F18 Multihull worlds in France) and the BMW/Oracle Racing team at this year's Cowes Week 1851 Cup. The schedule for this August event includes match racing, as well as an around the Isle of Wight (clockwise) race that seeks to recreate a modern-day take on the 1851 race that started this whole America's Cup saga.
Point being, for the first time in years, professional sailors finally have the realistic opportunity to repair past damages and to restore the splendor that is a proper Cup contest.
And that's not even to mention the fabulous match racing that us Cup junkies can anticipate. But in the meantime, events such as the Gold Cup and the Cowes Week 1851 Cup and this week's Stena Match Cup in Sweden offer a sneak preview of what's to come, once the pesky 'where, when and what's' are nailed down.
But, (deep sign) that's clearly a different conversation for a different day.
Fair winds and following seas,