America’s Cup? I Have Questions

By Kimball Livingston Posted March 11, 2014

TBATM_cover_largeIn her just-released paperback update of The Billionaire and the Mechanic, Julian Guthrie set tongues to wagging, quoting Larry Ellison on Honolulu’s wonderful attractions for an America’s Cup.

Yep, Dennis and Malin wanted to take the Cup there, back in the day, when 12-Pounders would have made a brave sight pounding upwind in the Molokai Channel. AC60-65 catamarans on foils? I don’t think so. Elsewhere off Honolulu? I’ll believe it when I see it. But it gets stranger when you look beyond location, location, location.

Julian goes on to describe Ellison’s plan for two seasons of international racing in AC45s, 2015-2016, with a Pacific division and an Atlantic division qualifying four teams for sailoffs in “AC60s” in the spring of 2017.

So, if I want to win the America’s Cup, at what point do I invest in designing and building a custom, foil-born, wing-powered catamaran for an event in which I may not qualify to sail?

How do I explain that in the sponsorship pitch?

And, unless Ellison intends to throw Oracle Racing into the mix of hopeful qualifiers—waiving the Defender’s right to automatically defend the 35th America’s Cup, and I doubledog guarantee you that’s not the intent—doesn’t the participation of the Defender in those early races risk biasing the outcome?

Perhaps even determining part of the outcome?

Wasn’t there a Swiss outfit that ran afoul of public opinion, a while back, with a scheme that shared certain aspects?

Unless Oracle Racing stands down from AC45 competition . . .

In her piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, Guthrie writes, “Ellison sees the Atlantic Division championship regatta being held in the Port of Rome and the Pacific Division championship in Shanghai. A couple of months later, the Atlantic and Pacific division winners will race their AC60s off Honolulu for the Louis Vuitton Cup. The Louis Vuitton winner would stay in Hawaii to race their AC60 against Oracle Team USA in the 35th America’s Cup.

My District 2 San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell is giving San Francisco a “fifty-five percent” shot at providing the next venue. What I know is, you can’t duplicate AC34 anyplace else. And the America’s Cup has been a problem for everyone who ever dreamed of reinventing it as the capper to a circuit. Love it or hate it, there’s legacy, and no one yet has shown us how to clip that ball and chain.

So, good luck with that.

Suns New Jerseys