Friday, September 27, 2013

comment on America's Cup in San Francisco

I live in San Francisco and was at the race. I was glad every race Oracle won until the final, because the racing was absolutely incredible, and I wanted it to continue. But it's clear New Zealand came into the finals better prepared, and racing should be about the best competitor winning, not about opening the spending floodgates to gain an advantage. So good job to Jimmy Spithill and crew for sailing an excellent race in the end, but I feel for the New Zealand fans who saw the advantage of their superior preparation squandered. I hope the rules are streamlined before the next iteration to reduce the influence of big money.

I was amazed at the number of Kiwis who made the flight to watch in person. It was a difficult series for that, since the schedule with the strict wind limits was so indeterminate. If fan support could directly contribute to boat speed, Emirates Team New Zealand would have won the race.

3 comments:

Rich said...

How were the wind limits indeterminate? They seemed clearly defined and stated ahead of time. It was known long ago that they would be an issue - the winds on the Bay are always high. Especially once they were lowered after the Artemis crash it was clear they would be a factor.

The time limit was a bit strange, but once again there have always been (seemingly arbitrary) time limits. At least in this one they weren't 5+ hours (like they used to be) -- how frustrating would it be on the verge of winning a race after 5 hours just to have it called off?

Great races though, hope the next ones are as good. ETNZ did have more prep time (the didn't wreck a boat) but it was clear that there was a very steep learning curve. Amazing it took OTUSA so long to learn how to sail their boat, and even more amazing that it all came together at just the right time.

djconnel said...

Rather the wind limits created an indeterminate schedule. Nobody could book flights, take vacation time, sufficient to guarantee (within reasonable probability) seeing the final. If I was going to have gone to the cycling road world championships in Florance this weekend, I'd have gone for a week, flying home Monday, and I'd be good. With America's Cup the probability of postponement was high. Had the limit been the original 30 knots, perhaps with a 45 instead of a 40 minute time limit, postponement would have been exceptional, and people would have had confidence in the schedule.

OTUSA's boat was intrinsically more aerodynamic, so they certainly had more upside potential for improvements. ETNZ was already close to their performance limit from the start. So in a way the best boat won.

I think this race got such huge television ratings and spectator interest that the game has changed on the America's Cup, and more money will be attracted to the support. But they also need to get a cap on the cost side.

Rich said...

Any "best of ..." series has an indeterminate end date, and in most cases (e.g., baseball), an indeterminate end location. One that relies on weather even more so. Postponements and delays have always been part of the America's Cup - what's new (and welcome) is the ability to actually see the thing!

We heard a talk by some of the OTUSA team about a week before the final. They seemed very confident that they had the faster boat. Considering how much of the hand that ETNZ had already shown in the LV Cup (why? they where much faster) and all the telemetry that was effectively available from the TV coverage, it's surprising what a beating OTUSA took in the first races.