Another call to boycott the America’s Cup

June 9th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Let’s start a replacement America’s Cup.

A proper one, with one set of rules for everyone and genuine competition. Not some heavily-rigged pretence at sport which is actually a play for power and money. That’s what Oracle Team USA served up with their protocol for the 35th America’s Cup this week.

This is a jack-up so obvious it should be called the Jack Cup. This went beyond the usual America’s Cup defender giving themselves an advantage. This is the US Army, armed with nukes, drones and heat-seeking missiles versus Spongebob Squarepants waving a sharp teaspoon. This is ensuring retention of the Cup under the banner of taking sailing to the masses and making it more commercial. Translation: more of everything for Oracle.

Even at his worst, Alinghi billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli wasn’t this bad in 2007. Oh, he had plans to race in the challenger series, which gives the defender the knowledge they need to arm their boat to repel all rivals and was also perceived to control Cup officials and could throw challengers out of the regatta.

But his regatta in Valencia saw challengers benefit from the profits – Emirates Team NZ trousered 7 million ($12.2 million). Oracle’s plans include no such largesse for anyone else. They take the lot.

Team NZ should announce that the rules are unacceptable and they will not compete, if they are not changed.

Further the NZ Government should announce they will not give one further dollar to a challenge, if these are the rules. It would be throwing good money away.

If you’re doubting the Antipodes could host an America’s Cup clone, don’t. A major sponsor (the longest continuous sponsorship in sport), Louis Vuitton, are now sundered from the event and are far more philosophically inclined to partner Team NZ than Oracle.

They did in 2009-2010, combining to stage an AC-style event in Auckland while the Cup was going through its interminable court ordeal.

A new event would be cheaper, fairer and more accessible. It could be staged in Australia or New Zealand, or even both, and would eventually grow to be its own event, maybe even overshadowing the Cup which could stand proudly in the Golden Gate Yacht Club trophy cabinet – forgotten and uncontested.

That’s a worthwhile idea. Form a new cup and with permanent fair rules.

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51 Responses to “Another call to boycott the America’s Cup”

  1. redqueen (553 comments) says:

    The situation really is utterly ridiculous, particularly as taxpayer money is going towards this. If teams wish to compete in an unfair competition, that’s their business, but given the amount of subsidies that end up going towards this, bugger it. Having an Oceania’s Cup would be far better, far more fun, and far more stable (with participating teams, set rules, etc.).

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  2. ciaron (1,419 comments) says:

    Jeez, although I wholeheartedly agree that their should be no Government money invested in ETNZ, I wish folk who know SFA about yachting, and the Cup in general would just STFU!

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  3. Ross12 (1,378 comments) says:

    Listening to a bit of Tony Veitch’s show yesterday with Greg ?? ( a yachting guy) and it seems this document has Coutts all over it. They were suggesting that the ” bad blood ” between Coutts and Dalton goes along way back and there is now a determined push to get TeamNZ out of it . Conspiracy –I don’t know , but after the last Cup Butterworth was making all sorts of noises about the management of TeamNZ.
    But during the Cup everyone( including Coutts) was praising Dalton on his fund raising ability.

    All a big game. I don’t think the Government will need to give more backing if TeamNZ decide to be serious about another challenge.

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  4. jonnycomelately (19 comments) says:

    Yachting World Cup. Consistent Rules, Countries ballot to host it it like the other World Cups. I’d be telling Leery Ellis and Jimmy Spiteful to F off and play with themselves.

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  5. chris (630 comments) says:

    Further the NZ Government should announce they will not give one further dollar to a challenge, if these are the rules ever again.

    Fixed it for the NZ Herald.

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  6. ciaron (1,419 comments) says:

    Yachting World Cup. Consistent Rules, Countries ballot to host it like the other World Cups.

    Dumb idea. Yachting is more diverse than motorsport, how do you pick which format and class?

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  7. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    Pee Class?

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  8. Nigel Kearney (970 comments) says:

    People follow the event because of the cup. Without the cup there is no reason for most of us to sit in front of a TV watching a bunch of people sailing boats. There are plenty of other sailing contests already and few people could even name more than two or three. By all means, don’t waste effort participating in a game that is clearly rigged. But there’s no reason to start a separate one either.

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  9. jonnycomelately (19 comments) says:

    ciaron

    Hardly dumb. For example the 12 Metre Class rule they have used is a rating class for racing sailboats that are designed to the international rules. It enables fair competition between boats that rate in the class whilst retaining the freedom to experiment with the details of their designs. There you go…. a format that has class.

    Who mentioned motorsport?

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  10. SPC (5,570 comments) says:

    The New Zealand team should join the Oz and or European challenges and take their money. Given none of them will win or contest under these rules again, the farce will not last long (whether we are there wasting our money or not).

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  11. All_on_Red (1,557 comments) says:

    The Louis Vuitton Yachting World Cup.
    Individual teams with 60′ Foiling catamarans. As much as I like the 12 metre boats the Cats are far more exciting to watch, the races are quicker and will generate more TV interest- and that means money…
    Having individual teams helps sponsor branding too.

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  12. burt (8,190 comments) says:

    Here is a novel idea. Don’t put tax payers money into the wealthiest sport on the planet then the public don’t need to worry about the rules and the costs unless they choose to support it themselves.

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  13. Monique Angel (266 comments) says:

    One set of rules for everyone. Level the playing field. How about everyone gets to be the winner on the day.

    Life isn’t fair; competitive yachting is the same. But I agree. Go hard or stay home TeamNZ.

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  14. kaykaybee (153 comments) says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I felt for a long time that NZ has the yachting reputation and nous to be able to stage a new CUP. Bringing the Aussies back on board and giving it a PACIFICA RIM theme, hakas, beating island drums, didgeridoos and a tastefully put together program could be the start of something fantastic. Bring it on and middle finger to the money boys…one boat – what a cheek

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  15. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (871 comments) says:

    Bros – Egg head Joyce has not ruled out more funding…..More to come….

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  16. Mark (1,471 comments) says:

    If the New Zealand government supports Team NZ again do they need counselling for a gambling problem

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  17. ciaron (1,419 comments) says:

    jonnycomelately,

    why go back to the with the lead mines, why not run it in 18’s, or even resurrect the Admirals cup?

    oh, yeah, lets also not forget that most elite classes already have “worlds”

    I mentioned motorsport as a comparison to another sport with so many different classes and formats, that simply picking one and calling it “world cup” is about as meaningless as you could get.

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  18. projectman (206 comments) says:

    “Dumb idea. Yachting is more diverse than motorsport, how do you pick which format and class?”

    No, it’s not a dumb idea. It may be the ideal solution to removing a lot of the on-going (for decades) disatisfaction with how the USA dictates the conditions of the competition.

    If there is to be an international event of this nature, I’m all for it.

    “How do you pick which format and class?” Easy, people talk to each other and come to mutual agreement. Difficult? Perhaps for the USA, but not otherwise.

    I agree with other comments that it is time to cut the ties, either by not participating or by facilitating an alternative. That of course would take time and maybe there wouldn’t be widespread support. There isn’t enough time before the sign-up deadline the yanks are imposing to get much more than agreement in principle to an alternative, particularly as sponsors, TV networks etc have to be involved.

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  19. G152 (272 comments) says:

    The ordinary American has no interest in the Americas Cup.
    I’d like to see us have our own Sailing Competitions with other likewise minded nations.
    Rules set in stone and all that New Zealand software to make it a spectacle
    If we don’t play in their rigged game they’ll soon change the ‘rules’

    Oh and an observation

    Take all the Kiwi and Aussie sailors away from the US syndicate and they have no-one of any ability

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  20. rangitoto (239 comments) says:

    “That’s a worthwhile idea. Form a new cup and with permanent fair rules.”

    Dead on arrival.

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  21. ciaron (1,419 comments) says:

    How many of you are, or have been involved in sailing?

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  22. kowtow (8,175 comments) says:

    The Herald says

    “Let’s start a replacement America’s Cup”.

    Go ahead then.Put your money where your mouth is. Just don’t expect taxpayers to fund it.

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  23. tom hunter (4,683 comments) says:

    As long as no NZ government money is involved I could not care less but I would make a couple of points.

    First, a “boycott” does not have to be particularly formal. The America’s Cup effectively was boycotted for decades when nobody could be bothered challenging for it. The New York Yacht Club eventually noticed and decided that the only way they might get challengers and interest was by standardising the boats and rules; hence the 12 metre class, and it worked. The same thing has to happen again and it will require the same pressure, but I suggest that a mass, apathetic shrug of the shoulders will work far better than some semi-formalised, outraged “boycott”.

    Second, the comparison to motorsport is a good fit, especially the Formula 1 event, but that means the Americas Cup has to explicitly become like that: huge, hundred million dollar “companies” competing against each other and linked to boat industries rather than individual billionaires. There’s no point trying to return to the world of nationalist patriotism – that’s long dead. For me it died the moment Coutts and Butterworth quit Team NZ and joined the opposition. At that stage it had already become like F1 – an expensive, professional event that I would take occasional interest in, filled with amazing technology and not a little skill – but nothing that would get my heart pumping with the need to see one side versus the other as it was from 1987 to 2000.

    That world is never returning. People are over it. Go talk to Bernie Ecclestone about the setup.

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  24. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    Ciaron,
    For what it is worth, I have been involved in sailing as a participant, and latterly as a race official since 1977.
    I am also a member of the RNZYS.
    My interest in the AC is now nil. The fun and games that the NYC got up to in previous events now look quite benign compared to what is proposed by Oracle.
    I cannot see the point in participating in the AC. If that means the end of ETNZ then so be it.

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  25. ciaron (1,419 comments) says:

    I’d also like to point out that “worlds” are already in place, from the ISAF website:
    http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/home.php
    http://www.sailing.org/events/matchracingworlds/championship_history.php
    http://www.sailing.org/events/womensmatchworlds/about.php
    http://www.isafyouthworlds.com/home.php

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  26. ciaron (1,419 comments) says:

    Hi Alex, I think we’ve talked yachting before. A selected history for me:
    Graduate of the RNZYS youth training scheme.
    12 years as a sail maker, specializing in spinnakers – done work for 6 AmCup syndicates and a similar number of round the world campaigns. done a handful of coastal classics, campaigned Y88’s, Piedies and 727’s at a national level done most of the inshore races on various client boats.

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  27. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    The ordinary American has no interest in the Americas Cup.

    Lets also add the ordinary Brit, Italian, Swiss, Spaniard, Ocker, Swede… in fact lets add just about every other ordinary citizen of this planet except for the poor deluded Kiwi. This is and has always been a ‘sport’ for very rich boys with their very expensive toys.

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  28. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    Ciaron, most likely. if you have done coastal and Tauranga breifings you will know me.

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  29. James Stephenson (2,138 comments) says:

    Larry Ellison, the man who killed the Americas Cup…has a nice ring to it.

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  30. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    I agree with edhunter. Few people care about the America’s Cup.
    Let the guys with an interest on it spend vast amounts of money pursuing their dreams, Grant Dalton included.

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  31. burt (8,190 comments) says:

    ciaron

    How many of you are, or have been involved in sailing?

    I think the more relevant question is – how many of you are tax payers and do you agree that tax payers money should be donated to billionaires wanting to keep their own money while having some fun on the tax payers dime.

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  32. dime (9,805 comments) says:

    How embarrassing if we tried to launch our own “wah wah wah” cup

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  33. RF (1,366 comments) says:

    Rich mens toys to play rich mens games.

    Stop dancing to the billionaires tune and dump the AC,

    Its done its dash.

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  34. OTGO (537 comments) says:

    If you hate the rules don’t play the game. The winner of the AC has been dicking around with the rules to their advantage since 1857. That’s why it is so hard to win it and that is why it is so fascinating to folk like Michael Fay and Grant Dalton. If it was easy to compete and win the thing they wouldn’t be so keen to compete.
    And for those people that don’t want taxpayers money spent it isn’t so much about the AC it’s about the tourism/business spin off. I was in SFO last year for the AC and the NZ brand was on many locals minds. In fact a lot of them were cheering for us because they hate Larry so much. And that is saying something because the Yanks are a patriotic lot.

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  35. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    Once again New Zealand proving itself the sorest loser in World Sport. (Endless imaginary refereeing conspiracies, Suzy the Waitress etc etc now this..)
    “Waah! We can’t win the America’s Cup so we are going to start our own competition with out own rules so Dean Barker can finally win something!”
    How quickly people forget Sir Michael Fay calling in the lawyers and finding a loophole in the rules to mount his controversial ‘Big Boat’ challenge..It’s a bit rich New Zealand crying foul now!!

    Good luck- I’m sure the ‘Aotearoa Classic’ sailed on Hauraki Gulf will be every bit as prestigious as the 160 year ‘Auld Mug’!!

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  36. All_on_Red (1,557 comments) says:

    ciaron
    I raced for about 10 years as a Bowman. Don’t anymore. Just occasional cruising and fishing.

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  37. ciaron (1,419 comments) says:

    AoR; first to go, last to know… been there, done that! :)

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  38. Captain Pugwash (98 comments) says:

    The Americas cup, world famous in New Zild for like ages.

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  39. Lipo (229 comments) says:

    I have never seen any information on this so I am asking the wider community here

    Question – Who owns Team New Zealand ?????

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  40. Bogusnews (477 comments) says:

    longknives, don’t be an idiot.

    I can understand why Fay wanted to take Denis connor on in whatever way he could.

    America had repeatedly accused NZ of cheating. They had our boat core tested and put us through the wringer. In addition, them winning the cup had as much to do with luck as anything else. For example, during the final week they raced NZ they had the strongest winds in freemantel for nearly 45 years. This resulted in the aluminium hulls of the american challengers being spread out by nearly 10cm’s (which incidentally took them outside the rules for the americas cup). This was why Conners boat seemed to drift over the waves while NZ seemed to crash into them.

    That would annoy me. Fay had his people check the deed of gift and found that what he did was in the rules and judge carmin caiparick agreed. He expected them both to be sailing a similar boat. Of course, the americans did not, they sailed a cat.

    What we are looking at here is the american’s who had a terrible fright last time, twisting the rules to egregiously give themselves a substantial advantage. I have several american friends who are disgusted with this. America is enormously successful but they win fair and square, not like this.

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  41. Captain Pugwash (98 comments) says:

    We should have brought the McLaren F1 team, it would have been money better spent than on Team NZ & the Americas Cup.

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  42. Don the Kiwi (1,684 comments) says:

    I had a fair stretch at sailing.
    Cut my teeth in 1987 in a cruising class yacht in Oz, sailed up from Kiama to Sydney in preparation for a Sydney/Hobart, but didn’t do the main race – just sailed preparing and tuning the yacht.
    Returning to NZ, in 1990 got involve in trailer yachts at Tauranga – Bought a neat little Noelex 22 1n ’93, learnt to sail it and tuned it and did very well in local and national events for the next 9 years. I named it ‘Delinquent'; I guess that suited me as well as the boat. ;-)
    Did a few Coastal Classics on a Farr 39, and a few Auckland/Taurangas on the Farr, plus other keelboats.
    Sold Delinquent in 2000 and skippered a Noelex 25, then a Ross 780 for a few years.
    Was on the Tauranga Yacht Club exec for 8 years. On the TC&PBC Pacific Rim Sailing team for 10 years, sailing a variety of boats in Vancouver, Port Stephens Oz, Bellingham USA and Nakhodka, Russia.
    Really loved my sailing, but now am relegated to watching :-)
    ETNZ should try to get the rules modified, otherwise forget it. But the above suggestion of a 60′ Catamaran style event has merit, and properly funded and organised for the Pacific Rim with invitations elswhere my well be a goer.

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  43. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Lipo
    I think Team NZ is a private company. Possibly it has ties to the RNZYS, but I don’t know who ‘owns’ it.

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  44. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    Lipo,
    ETNZ is owned by a trust.
    While it has links to the RNZYS, the RNZYS does not have any ownership interest.

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  45. burt (8,190 comments) says:

    We the tax payers own ETNZ – Oh hang on … no we just fund it so stupendously rich folk don’t need to use their own money.

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  46. Don the Kiwi (1,684 comments) says:

    Any of the knockers of the funding for the NZ challenge think of the payback for NZ?

    Nah, thought not. (I wonder if they know about”return on investment”?)

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  47. Steve (North Shore) (4,543 comments) says:

    The Taxpayers will not want a Jack Cup, but the Auckland Ratepayers might – right after Len gets his silly train set

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  48. OneTrack (2,973 comments) says:

    Steve – If Len gets his train to nowhere, Auckland ratepayers wont be getting anything else except a horrendous debt to pay for the rest of their lives.

    And they will still drive their cars – just like Len does now.

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  49. goldnkiwi (1,259 comments) says:

    Hey, I thought Dotcom was stumping up, he has much to prove, bring it on!!!

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  50. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    Longknives: “Once again New Zealand proving itself the sorest loser in World Sport….”

    Once again Oracle is proving itself the best winner in World Sport. To ensure a fair contest next time, they’re putting themselves through the stress of having two boats and in their magnanimity are allowing the challengers one boat. So a challenger who has some misfortune and damages their boat will be relieved after spending zillions to not have to carry on. Oracle on the other hand, if they wreck a boat will have to pull themselves together, ignore their trauma and race on in their other boat.

    Oracle and Russell Coutts should win any and every international sportsmanship trophy for the rules they have put forward being an outstanding embodiment of fairness.

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  51. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    Every time I read NZ Herald articles about the America’s Cup, all I hear is shrieking.

    I would have said the writers of these articles already know of plenty of ‘fairer’ match race events and circuits but I note that there was no mention at all of New Zealander Phil Robertson’s 4th placing overnight last night in the opening round of the World Match Race Tour.

    Are they that poorly informed? Or are they simply ignoring these events so that their shrieking doesn’t appear to be so deranged? Either way they are not worth reading.

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