America’s Cup: Too much crazy

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The 12 Meter was used for ten consecutive America’s Cup matches. The 82-foot International Americas Cup Class was used for five consecutive matches. But with the Team New Zealand defenders changing the boat for the 36th edition, it will be the third consecutive instance when a new rule is being launched.

It was a radical change when the monohull was traded for a catamaran in 2013, but at least we’d seen catamarans before. What the Kiwis are doing, shifting to an untested monohull concept that relies on ballasted foil arms for stability, is another kind of crazy.

For double America’s Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli, this kind of crazy is nothing the Swiss magnate can support for the sport’s oldest trophy. He described the new foiling 75-foot boats under design and construction for Auckland as “catamarans dressed as monohulls.”

He felt the expense was limiting the potential field as was shown with only Team New Zealand, Britain’s Ben Ainslie Racing, Italian challenger of record Luna Ross and the New York Yacht Club confirmed so far.

“I really do not understand this: why change boat at every edition of the Cup? One could see the previous Cup had a direction to follow. You could spend the same amount to develop the project, but with less risk of making a mistake. Take the British and Ben Ainslie in the last Cup: the best sailor in the world, but had a wrong boat. Game over.”

Bertarelli confirmed he would have returned to the America’s Cup for the next regatta had the foiling catamarans been retained.

“Yes, I would have participated. Switzerland now also has sailors to do it without problems of nationality rules. Changing boats has lost at least two teams, one is Alinghi (the other, Sweden’s Artemis Racing). They would have had six from the beginning. And it would have been easy to go up to eight.”