How about a new yachting competition?

September 27th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Had a conversation this morning with someone who pointed out that if NZ had not taken part in this year’s America’s Cup, it would have been a debacle. And it looks clear under the rules set by the winner, we’re unlikely to be able to challenge successfully again.

So why not set up a new competition. Some rules that can’t be changed could include:

  • Crew can only compete for the country they were born in
  • A spending cap for teams
  • No modifications once the cup has begun

I reckon that might get many more challengers than the America’s Cup gets!

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60 Responses to “How about a new yachting competition?”

  1. Redbaiter (8,875 comments) says:

    Sounds like socialist heaven.

    Or something some sore losers might think of.

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  2. SHG (316 comments) says:

    ^^^ pretty much

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  3. dog_eat_dog (780 comments) says:

    And without a decent trophy to boot.

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  4. contheneo (27 comments) says:

    The America’s Cup is not about competition between countries. It is about a competition between Yacht Clubs.

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  5. Longknives (4,746 comments) says:

    Kind of like the Admiral’s Cup then?
    Red is right- I think all these sore losers need to get over it….

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  6. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    So we didn’t win, we should set up our own competition with rules we think are more favourable to us? Don’t like the chances.

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  7. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    Enough yachting, please.

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  8. muggins (3,745 comments) says:

    I don’t agree with the crew members only competing for the country in which they were born.
    But perhaps they should have residency in the country they are competing for.
    A spending cap? Maybe, so long as it was reasonably easy to police.
    No modifications once the racing for the cup has started. Yep, that sounds fair enough.

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  9. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    And I’m definitely not in favour of country of origin rules. I already think things are too jingoistic around sports. I can understand watching sports because you are entertained by it, but seeing it as some sort of national pride thing I don’t entirely get. I like the concept of the European soccer league more – the teams are who are competing, not countries, and there aren’t too many rules on origin of the players (albeit there are all sorts of other rules I’m not enamoured of, but hey, it’s their competition I guess).

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  10. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    I think it is very unfair to say this is the attitude of sore losers.

    I know the Oracle company well. I have never encountered a more vicious, win at any cost company. That attitude is prevalent with many firms, but with Oracle it’s seems different.

    I know that even before Oracle were dished out a really tough penalty for cheating that Team NZ were fuming at the way they were changing the rules deliberately to suit themselves and disadvantage the challengers. For example,stipulating that teams had to build a boat that could race in wind speeds above 20 knots, then changing the rules once everyone had built theirs but not them to under that speed. There are many other instances I could name which TNZ, to their credit have never mentioned but just grinned and bore.

    In spite of all this, TNZ built a boat that was faster and better than Oracle’s. When that became apparent, Oracle spent 50Mil (half of TNZ’s total budget) in four days changing their boat.

    Oracle was stunned at how fast TNZ was. They were completely blindsided. If they had of been faster, if they hadn’t constantly cheated and had beaten us fair and square, then while very disappointed I would tip my hat to them and cheer them on.

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  11. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    I think it has a lot of merit but not necessarily with those rules. I think we could compete for the AC in a different way and beat Ellison. We wait till there is a date set for the AC then start out NZ Cup at the same time and get a lot more entries.

    I would not agree with rule 1 but think there should be a lot longer residency requirement. Smaller cats could solve the spending. I also do not agree with rule 3 but think there should be much tighter rules on mods.

    I think technology really improves yachts or cars in racing but the auto balancing may have been a step too far.

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  12. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Sounds like a good idea in principle.

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  13. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    A spending cap for teams

    Are you some kind of communist?

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  14. Redbaiter (8,875 comments) says:

    Well, they voted for it on election spending.

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  15. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    I also think we could have a rule like AC used to have like the yachts have to be built in the country that is racing them. I can see problems though with definition though. Would that apply to every screw and cleat?

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  16. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    How on earth would they police a salary cap.

    Its a shame the defender gets to do what they want.

    Id suggest a small governing body to oversee the cup but you could imagine the little pricks that would get involved. it would be like dealing with the auckland council

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  17. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    If “we” won, would anyone be suggesting an alternate cup?

    If “we” won, and the US suggested an alternate competition, what would NZers reaction be?

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  18. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Are you some kind of communist?

    Hmmm rugby and league have spending or salary caps…what’s the problem? English soccer doesn’t and as a result the same (big spending) teams win the premiership each season. Bo-ring.

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  19. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    How on earth would they police a salary cap.

    Maybe you should direct your question at those running the NRL. They seem to manage.

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  20. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Isn’t that the Olympic Games, or the Commonwealth games, or even World Champs….?

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  21. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    1) the rules are set between the holder and challenger of record. Trouble is, that’s not us – a patsy I expect.
    2) spending limits are not new. I believe they introduced a 2 boat limit for the ’95 cup after some teams build 3 boats while some could only afford 1.
    3) I seem to recall that a new regatta was founded while the cup was here, and that stayed here. But you can’t just go out and replace the competition for the world’s oldest sporting trophy.
    4) boat changes being limited aren’t new either – but in this one the boats were so new I don’t think it was unreasonable to allow tweaking.
    5) the defender changing the rules is an ongoing issue with the cup – Ellison isn’t the first and won’t be the last.

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  22. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    There’s a rule that you forgot, DPF.

    * Identical yachts.

    That completely gets rid of the modifications nonsense that is one of the turnoffs of the America’s Cup for many people.

    If it’s good enough for the Olympics and the World Champs for the various classes, then it’s good enough here…. :)

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  23. Dazzaman (1,140 comments) says:

    Fuck no…

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  24. tas (625 comments) says:

    The America’s Cup is in danger of becoming a farce. No one can afford to mount a strong challenge. If ETNZ bow out, it’s not clear anyone will challenge next time. Ellison and Coutts will rethink things. They’re not stupid and otherwise they may just be racing themselves.

    I like the technology aspect of the competition, but the importance of money is ridiculous. There needs to be some clarity about what the competition is about. Is it a competition between nations (NZ vs. USA), billionaires (Ellison vs. Bertarelli), yacht clubs (Golden Gate Yacht Club vs. Royal NZ Yacht Squadron), or corporate teams (Oracle vs. Emirates)? Is it about individual skill, technology, teamwork, money, or luck? Currently it has aspects of all of these. How should they be rebalanced?

    The America’s Cup is not the only sailing competition in the world. It’s not clear that we need to start a new one.

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  25. muggins (3,745 comments) says:

    Salary caps are ok so long as they can be policed.
    Look at the problems they have had in the NRL.
    But I don’t quite see the point of having salary caps when you are talking country v country.
    If you just stick to say, a three years residency requirement, or maybe even ten years, then no country could buy the best sailors from another country anyway.

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  26. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Part of the allure of the America’s Cup is precisely the difficulties challengers have in overcoming the defender’s advantage of influencing the rules.
    Remember, for many years the saying was ‘Britannia rules the waves, but America waives the rules’.

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  27. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Sounds like what the A1GP was to Formula One.

    The cup is about prestige. You can’t replace over 100 years of sporting history.

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  28. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    You can’t replace over 100 years of sporting history.

    You can’t replace it – but you can buy it.

    OK so putting aside one moment the notion that this brings money to NZ – why is the government agreeing to use public money to bank roll some of the most wealthy people in the world….

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  29. iMP (2,385 comments) says:

    David, I TOTALLY agree with this. The time has come for us to walk away from the Americas Cup (now too technical) and invest our money in a regatta that draws more in to NZ and celebrates our sailing prowess. I would support NZ taxpayers $36mill for that. but no more for San Francisco which is becoming a farce. We’ve done enough. Close that chapter.

    But I would add:

    • Standardised boats managed by a regatta committee, that teams swap about in or draw from a lottery, so its about sailing, not technology.

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  30. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    why is the government agreeing to use public money to bank roll some of the most wealthy people in the world….

    Bread and circuses…

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  31. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    A friend and I have already figured out the likely look of the next Americas cup. He said that with Oracle’s use of electronic technology the next logical step is robotic sailors. I said why bother with the real robots and real water, the next America’s cup might as well be contested on Play Station. It’s mostly computer graphics for the spectators anyway.

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  32. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    There is already a plethora of yachting competitions that use standardised boats. New Zealand could reinvent the Quarter-ton or Half-ton cups if it was really keen, but the America’s Cup has the prestige that only the Olympics could match.

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  33. georgebolwing (854 comments) says:

    The rules David is proposing sound very much like the rules of the America’s Cup when it was sailed under the auspices of the New York Yacht Club. For years, foreign competitors had to take every nut, bolt and screw needed with them.

    If you want to watch amateurs racing identical boats, go and find some film of the Olympics in 1952. The America’s Cup, right back from when it was put up by the Brits when the America sailed to England, has been about incredibly rich people bending the rules to their own advantage. That’s its charm.

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  34. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    I for once agree with Reds first comment.

    Tell you what, lets make up rules until we get to a point where we can win it year in, year out….

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  35. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    oss69 (2,910) Says:
    September 27th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Re Salary Caps.

    Rugby and Rugby league can get away with it because there is no competition and the sports are relatively small.

    A Salary Cap in football would :

    1. Will negate any benefits by shifting players to other continents and,
    2. Will just make the wealthy clubs even more wealthier and have more resources…and nothing really will change

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  36. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    rusader (169) Says:
    September 27th, 2013 at 3:14 pm
    A friend and I have already figured out the likely look of the next Americas cup. He said that with Oracle’s use of electronic technology the next logical step is robotic sailors. I said why bother with the real robots and real water, the next America’s cup might as well be contested on Play Station. It’s mostly computer graphics for the spectators anyway.

    Basically thats what is happening in Cricket and Rugby, refereeing by Playstation

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  37. iMP (2,385 comments) says:

    Blogosphere Synergy. http://conzervative.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/time-to-invest-in-a-nz-americas-cup/

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  38. wikiriwhis business (4,002 comments) says:

    Dotcom to fund Team New Zealand?

    No more government funding? No problem.

    With Prime Minister John Key non-committal about dipping into the Government’s pockets for an America’s Cup challenge, New Zealand’s most notorious internet mogul is stepping up.

    No doubt delighting in tweaking the prime minister, Kim Dotcom tweeted this morning he would become a Team New Zealand sponsor and bring back the Auld Mug.

    “Prime Minister John Key says no more funding for Team NZ?” Dotcom wrote. “I say #Mega will become a Team NZ sponsor & we will win next time. #AmericasCup”

    It’s not really clear how serious the man once dubbed the world’s largest tech entrepreneur was, but at least one Twitter user is happy to take Dotcom up on his offer.

    “Based on that I look forward to the launch of your political party,” replied Ben Dallas. “Mega Team New Zealand has a nice ring to it don’t you think!”

    Key said today whether on not Dotcom put money up for an Americas Cup challenge would not have any bearing on the Governments’s decision on funding.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/americas-cup/9216932/Dotcom-to-fund-Team-New-Zealand

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  39. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “How on earth would they police a salary cap.

    Maybe you should direct your question at those running the NRL. They seem to manage.”

    sorry, i meant spending cap, not salary cap.

    fuckin hard to bust them for a spending cap “yeah, he foils are on the books for $900, sweet as!”

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  40. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    By all means set up another regatta. There are already several large regattas throughout the world, but they are not as popular and do not bring the same attention that the America’s cup gets.

    I believe the next campaign will be even bigger. The Italian’s for starters are pretty peeved with Ellison, and there are all sorts of rumours coming from that camp.

    I also believe there will be challenges to Ellison’s technology and it will be ruled out of the next cup challenge. It is not within the spirit of the cup according many commentators – I think the American’s will see sense, even if Ellison won’t.

    We are not the only people saying that Ellison has bought the cup and risked ruining it. In order for that cup to mean anything, there has to be others that want it and have a chance of obtaining it.

    Ellison may surprise us and set out to prove that he can win the cup again, without the bells and whistles.

    As nice as it sounds to come up with our own regatta, again, we don’t have the budget for it, especially to set it up from scratch.

    The America’s cup is dented, it doesn’t have to be broken. If enough countries put pressure on, there is no reason why the cup can’t revert. New Zealand’s effort in this cup was appreciated, there are a lot of people, including American’s arguing against Ellison’s domination.

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  41. Ross12 (1,428 comments) says:

    This definitely needs to be considered. The key aspects of the AC can be kept –technolgy/innovation , the ultimate result relies on sailing ability ( not computers etc.) , it doesn’t necesaarily need to be a standard olympic class yacht. Costs have to be contained somehow .
    But thinking about it more from when I put in GD this morning one of the key reasons a serious discussion should take place within NZ and with other countries is to get some leverage on Ellison. If he knows there is a serious possibility of another competition being set up and NZ is driving it ,then if and when negotiations for another AC regatta takes place some of the stupid rules can be removed and more even playing field could be developed. But like all negotiations –NZ and others would have to be prepared to walk away if no agreement can be made.

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  42. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    The America’s Cup is a private yachting regatta set up to enable the super big boys to have a cock fight in the morning and then retire for lunch with lots of Moët afterwards.

    It is NOT some kind of democratic all-comers-welcome, nationalistic sport… No matter how much our legion of All Black jersey wearing, public haka dancing, pissed-up sports boofheads tries to make out that it is.

    I think that makes it all the more refreshing…

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  43. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Exactly Ross.

    If all the possible contenders stuck together and said no race if you use computers, then Ellison would have to see sense, or sit with his mug forever – eventually it losing any pride value.

    I don’t believe the old school yachtees would allow that to happen

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  44. Longknives (4,746 comments) says:

    “It is NOT some kind of democratic all-comers-welcome, nationalistic sport… No matter how much our legion of All Black jersey wearing, public haka dancing, pissed-up sports boofheads tries to make out…”

    Did you see all those ‘yachting fans’ doing a haka at the Viaduct before the last race? A whole lot of bone-carving wearing,bandwagon hopping morons poking their tongues out and going all googly eyed with fervent Nationalism…

    It ranks as one of the most cringe-worthy things I have ever seen. Ever.

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  45. Ross12 (1,428 comments) says:

    “As nice as it sounds to come up with our own regatta, again, we don’t have the budget for it, especially to set it up from scratch.”

    Judith , I don’t think it necessarily has to be in NZ. It could be in Europe to start , for example , to get the TV audiences. It could be there was some sort of joint funding to get it going. There are all sorts of possibilities and it would take quite abit of brain storming to even get a semi decent proposal off the ground. But I think it is worth the appropriate people putting some time into it.

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  46. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Ross12

    There are already regatta’s in Europe that have never gained the attention they desired.

    I think part of the AC’s attraction is its age – but also that America claims it as theirs by default, when it’s not. Hence others try to take it away from them. That creates competition.

    I do not believe that anyone will be able to recreate a regatta that has the same spirit of the AC.

    It’s an admirable idea, and it would be lovely to see a true international competition where ‘man’ is at one with the elements, and the dominating sailor gets the prize. But I seriously cannot see it happening unless serious money was poured into it – and I mean more than Ellison can produce.

    On top of that there is the risk of the same thing happening again. You cannot stop the US competing, and as long as they have the money, they will continue to dominate any regatta. Even if technology is kept in check, the people that can offer the best reward for their team, will get the best sailors and boat.

    That is why I think pressure has to be put on America to do this right – I’ve already read an article where Ellison has admitted was are unlikely to see the big cats out there again, and will probably need to revert to the smaller ones due to the costs.

    This was one hell of a regatta, and it has changed the America’s cup forever, but as I said, no cup is worth winning, unless there is someone else that wants it.

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  47. Akaroa (557 comments) says:

    I’m sure all the people who have posted above are well-intentioned, good natured and intelligent people who have serious viewpoints that they fiercely hold.

    But I, for one, and I suspect many, many others, have learned enough about the Americas Cup and its background history – plus seen what effect it has on otherwise sane and rational people both on the water, in the audience and in this medium – to be convinced that the best thing that could happen to the – (I nearly said ‘wretched’, but I’m trying to stay reasonable here) – famous Cup is for it to be taken out on the winning yacht to the ten mile limit and ceremoniously committed to the deep, never to be seen, or referred to, ever again.

    Its only a silver cup, but its aura is one of duplicity, political manipulation, back-room wheeler-dealing, chicanery and a generally despicable absence of sportsmanship, fair play and all the other qualities that go to ennoble sporting competitions. Its winning and losing in the future will always be accompanied by the unspoken – or even spoken – questions about what cheating manipulation was employed in securing this devalued and odourous ‘prize’.

    Dump the wretched thing in forty fathoms – and good riddance – I say I!!

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  48. trout (939 comments) says:

    Totally agree with RRM. Just because NZ has become involved in the AC we cannot claim any sort of proprietery rights. This is not your bog ordinary country against country regatta. Historically it is a duel (holder and challenger) between big swinging dicks. The onshore shenanigans (and cheating) and on the water contest are all part of the colour. The Louis Vuitton Cup was introduced to sort out the challengers but is a bit of a yawn. Kiwis are behaving like the woman who turns up to a contest set up by a bunch of guys and immediately wants to change the rules, get rid of the fun part,, and make it more ‘fair’.

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  49. Ross12 (1,428 comments) says:

    RRM and trout

    I take your point and Akaroa is right about the history etc. If the rich guys want to continue to pour heaps of money into the contest that is great. The duel is a great spectacle ( but I disagree with Judith that it is great regatta –it is not a regatta or if you want to call what happened in SF a regatta it was hopeless. There were only two boats in it , that is not a great regatta).

    My point in supporting an alternative is that it has got so expensive that in effect it is back to what it started as –a sailing duel between two rich people or groups and it now has to become questionable where NZ can or should continue. So all I am saying is lets at least explore the options or possibilities.

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  50. kiwi in america (2,452 comments) says:

    trout
    Totally agree. However this regatta proved more than any other that money talks. Only a handful of people can drop a cool $50 mil in a week and charter a jumbo jet full of gear to tart up your boat. The overly cautious rules squashed Team NZ and cost us 3 wins and Oracle were lucky that their one major equipment failure happened in a race they were losing anyway whereas ours happened during a race we were easily leading and it gifted that race to Team USA at a phase in the competition when Team NZ were more dominant.

    The AC has a unique allure – the world’s oldest trophy, huge elegant boats at the peak of technology, national pride, the clash of egos of the mega rich, the quirkiness of the weather, the arcane legal battles and the challenger invariably having to rise above the defender screwing the scrum. And so while this regatta had all of the above, even my American friends think there was something innately unfair about how this competition ended up and the sheer number of near misses NZ had due to the overly paranoid rules just beggars belief as did the unbelievable increase in Oracle’s speed. Whilst no one begrudges Ellison spending his billions how he wants, the spectacle of a desperate massive money dump on little ol Team NZ was reminiscent of a school yard bully.

    An alternative will never have the following of the AC and so rather than abandon it – it can be partially fixed with some of the ideas touted here today.

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  51. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    I think there are two issues here, and they aren’t necessarily linked:

    1. Do we challenge again? My initial feeling is that the answer is no. I don’t think that we can finance any campaign to the level required to compete with a billionaire who is determined to throw ridiculous money at a win. And to manipulate the rules to disadvantage the competition. We’d be better off walking away.

    2. Are there benefits from having a world class yacht race in NZ? I think yes. It promotes out marine industries and allows them to stay on the leading edge of boat development, is a big party, and promotes the country in general.

    I’d look at perhaps hosting a world-class sailing event with the Italians and the Emirates. Make it an annual event where each country hosts it one year in three. Go for one design racing in fast cats of around 60 foot. And have the racing really close inshore to maximise the spectator opportunities. I like the challenger-defender format and think it should be used. Each event would be maybe three weeks of challenger racing followed by one week challenger versus defender. The winner wouldn’t host the next event. Because the one design class instantly reduces the budgets to about a tenth of what they are for an AC campaign, it’s affordable. Ask Emirates to sponsor the competition and prize for an Emirates Cup, rather than finance a campaign.

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  52. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    RRM

    The America’s Cup is a private yachting regatta set up to enable the super big boys to have a cock fight in the morning and then retire for lunch with lots of Moët afterwards.

    Exactly – so again – why do we inject public money into this ?????

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  53. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    burt – I don’t know.

    I think Ka mate, ka mate, ka ora has something to do with it though…

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  54. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    How do you cost the kind of work that has been undertaken from the likes of Boeing and NASA.

    I bet they would not be cost included, as that would be Non American.

    Having worked for large US Corporation winning is all that matters – does not matter how.

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  55. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Akaroa –

    I think the Olympic Games regatta was set up to provide the kind of sport (and sportsmanship) you are looking for??

    The Americas Cup is not about that.

    I think the ruthlessness of the parties involved adds to the quality of the whole thing far more than it takes away.

    I also think these utterly insane catamarans are awesome – I hope they continue and the cup doesn’t revert to ‘ordinary’ yacht racing.

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  56. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (890 comments) says:

    Good idea. Let me call this FatCon Cup, sorry Dotcom Cup…

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  57. UrbanNeocolonialist (288 comments) says:

    Fucks sake, loose the persecution complex. Oracle did not spend 50 million in last week, the whaleoil rumour was just patently ridiculous to anyone with any understanding of Am Cup technology and real world design/development processes. They probably did not build much if any new equipment as they did not have enough time (complex stuff and big parts of carbon fibre cannot be built overnight, or even in a week in most cases regardless of how much money you throw at it), and did not have any time to test it for reliability and performance even if they did.

    What they did do was come up with a better system for guiding/helping the sailors who adjust the daggerboard angle do a better job of it on a second by second basis – and that was little more than some quick and simple software changes. That was the whole difference that gave them the huge performance gain without requiring a lot of on the water training time and allowed them to start doing faster semi-foiling tacks and develop rock-steady foiling stability almost overnight. It is what won them the cup, and it was ETNZ’s mistake in relying upon sailor skill and not developing a similar system that cost us the win. ETNZ did a fantastic job in most areas, but just missed that one little trick that turned out to be the critical breakthrough.

    But yes the Americas cup has always been a very assymetrical competition. The defender has a huge advantage due to controlling rules and not having to sail (and reveal all) during the LV cup, as well as having chance to copy any breakthrough innovations they see in play in the LV Cup

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  58. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Dear Mr Keys

    I would like to spend my days with my rich mates floating around on the harbour drinking ice cold G&T and dining on the finest foods. My friends and I all have sufficient resources to achieve most of the perfect lifestyle we want but we are not quite there. Would it be possible for you to take some money from people who can’t even afford an airfare to Auckland to allow us to get the best boat, the freshest caviar and the best champaign. You know it makes good economic sense John, we’ll spend like drunken sailors …. Because that’s what we’ll be 24/7 once we get some money from people who’ve never even seen a super yacht.

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  59. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Oh, hey put the hospital upgrades on hold, sure they operate at full capacity just keeping up with day to day and people wait for hours to see a doctor and wait years for elective surgery – but shit mate the profits from high tech industries will give you a better class of Auckland Club drinking mates. We’ll suck it up John – keep the big boys happy….

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  60. hj (7,021 comments) says:

    agree burt.

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