J Class Regatta 2011 Day 1 by George Bekris (9 of 68)-010 George Bekris
One of sailing's greatest powers is its ability to stop people dead in their tracks with its sheer beauty: perfect lines plying crisp, clean waters, using the elements and a bit of clever thinking to yield some truly breathtaking scenes.
I'll admit upfront that I'm a sucker for J-Class boats. Really, how can you not love them? With lines that can melt a heart of stone, football fields of cloth, spars that seem to stretch to the moon and a grace that's impossible to touch—friends, there is nothing wrong with the sight of one of these majestic yachts under full sail.
For the fortunate few who are racing in the Newport J Class Regatta—that would be the boys on Velsheda and Endeavour—Karma will catch you in the next life. For the rest of us cyber-wed sods, George Bekris's spectacular image gallery, in this issue, will more than suffice, as the yachts—and Narragansett Bay—certainly put on a wonderful show.
Also taking place right now is the Audi MedCup Marseille Trophy, the second of the five Audi MedCup events. While you'll have to excuse the abrupt jump from wood to carbon-fiber, Ian Roman's images from this event do a great job in presenting another of sailing's myriad faces: hyper-fast, state-of-the-art racing shells that use the latest in carbon-fiber and computer-designed technology to win pickle dishes. While it remains to be seen if future sailing writers will pontificate lovingly about the aesthetic qualities of carbon the way that so many people dote upon wood, there's little denying that technology and time have dramatically improved sailing efficiency.
Meanwhile, on sailing's grander stage, the eight (you read that number correctly) teams that are competing in the 34th America's Cup recently gathered for a press conference in San Francisco, officially confirming the whispers of a 'sub-ten' AC34 that have been flying around for months. [NOTE: a ninth team will announce their campaign on June 23 in Europe.]
And as Jeraldine Kennedy reports today for Sail-World.com, the Australians believe they have overcome their funding hiccup and will be on the park for the AC45 Round in San Deigo.
While the numbers are smaller than Oracle and everyone else involved had hoped for, this is to be expected, given the economy, the number of changes to the AC status quo, as well as the associated costs of developing the new class of winged-beasts.
While the later issue has been addressed by allowing teams to participate in tiers, with the America's Cup World Series no longer tied directly the Cup, only time will tell if these changes are here to stay. 'In every sense of the word, the America's Cup is reinventing itself, from our cutting-edge boats to breakthrough sporting technology to our visual identity,' said Richard Worth, Chairman, America's Cup Event Authority. 'Everything about this new America's Cup is designed around transforming the sport.' Be sure to read the full story inside.
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