A few (very) random and disjointed thoughts of a non-pundit ordinary sailor, trying to make some sense out of a week of sailing spectacle.
Larry's thingie was bigger - or at least faster.
Never have two $1oo million toys devalued so much in so little time. What do you think the resale value of Alinghi 5 is at the moment? Or even US 17? What exactly do you do with a 90-foot multihull that's dangerous to sail in winds over 20 knots or in a 10-foot swell?
Even if someone wanted to take well-heeled adventurers on daysails on these two curiosities, I wonder what the insurance premiums would be for covering such a venture. Who would be skilled enough to helm such high-strung monsters on a tour of the harbor?
Did this prove that Americans are better sailors than the Swiss? Did 'we' really beat 'them'? How many Americans were on the winning boat, anyway? Uh, did someone say one in a crew of ten? It seems only the wallet that paid the bills was truly American. So, doesn't this mean the Kiwis and Aussies actually won the cup back? I'm so confused.
I guess we're all supposed to reap 'trickle down' benefits from this incredible technology, resulting in improvements to the kind of boats ordinary people sail. But this time, I doubt it. I'm not sure the new Catalinas will be offering winged sails next year, the way they offered winged keels after the Aussies took us to task in Newport. And I don't think even then it was ever established that a winged keel by itself has any advantage at all for the kind of boat most people sail.
The gap between these boats and real boats is miles wider than for the Australian boat that beat Dennis Conner. Am I the only one who thought he was looking at a NASA mission this week, watching BMW Oracle? The boat was as big as the space shuttle, about as maneuverable, nearly as fast, and probably cost as much. Like astronauts, the crew wore white suits with backpack life support 'pods' (OK, instrument pods - small difference). I don't know if they came in peace for all mankind.
Actually, I was thinking half NASA mission and half Mad Max - with the helmsdude at his crazy little steering station, thirty feet off the water, riding up and down through spray blasting by at 25 knots. I think Tina Turner and Mel Gibson would have looked at home there.
One thing's certain. The raw justice system of the Thunderdome was copied exactly in Valencia.
Two boats enter, one boat leaves.