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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Sailing's holy grail?
The America's Cup can lay claim to be the oldest sporting trophy in the world.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
But is it sailing's most prestigious event?
Britain's Ellen MacArthur believes the quest for the Auld Mug represents the pinnacle of in-shore racing and likens it to Formula One.
With team tactics and finances playing a major part, comparisons are easy to draw.
The competition is settled by a sequence of match races that last hours rather than months, and this makes for exciting viewing.
How does the America's Cup compare to the other sailing showpieces?
Add my name to the list of those who are persuaded that the upper limit for allowable wind speed is too low. What sort of exciting sailing is it when a routine stiff breeze is too much for such fragile vessels?
How do we form a consensus for a shift to a rule change that might require heavier boats, but if that's needed so be it. Competition in higher winds would be more entertaining for the spectators and in televised competition isn't that the name of the game?
The Americas Cup is the most prestigious yachting event in the world. If it was not, why would syndicates spend US$100 on a challenge? It also has to do with history, being an event for 151 years. Long may the mighty Team New Zealand hold the cup; it is very well bolted down!
Now this is an interesting topic. From an Australian perspective, the nation was obsessed in the 60s and 70s with the idea of being the first to beat the Americans. Finally in 1983 we did it and the national euphoria was unbelievable! It was a victory for the little Aussie battlers over the big bad yanks.
But from there it was all down hill. The defence in '87 hardly grabbed the nations interest. The 1983 hero Alan Bond went bankrupt and was disgraced and there was no great mourning when the cup was lost. Ever since the interest in it has been nothing more than passing. In fact, the only reason that anyone cares at all now is that it is held by the Kiwis.
It seems that the Americas Cup was only important when it was an almost mythical and unattainable prize. Furthermore it is now indelibly linked in our minds with Bond and is therefore a symbol of the embarrassing excesses of the 1980s.
I doubt that it could ever capture the public imagination again as it did in '83 - at least not in Australia.
More people watch a single cricket match at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta than all the people in the World who are interested in the America's Cup. It's a minority sport which attracts upper class people like Polo - an equally irrelevant pastime!
You have to distinguish between blue water (ocean) sailing, of which the epitome is probably the Volvo/Whitbread, and matchracing, of which the America's Cup is the most prestigous, if only because it is the hardest to win.
The Dutch and the Germans don't have the guts or the money, although they have proven to be strong on the water. The Italians, Swedes, French and Swiss have tried, but unfortunately failed.
So who else other than the British can bring the Auld Mug to Europe? It would be great to have an event like that on the English south coast. Good Luck to Peter Harrison and Ian Walker and his team!
Longer, larger races are much more prestigious.
The America's Cup gets blown out of the water by The Whitbread, the Vendee Globe, the British Steel Challenge, even by the Sydney to Hobart and the Fastnet.
The last America's Cup, here in Auckland, was a quantum leap forward in bringing the details of sailing competition to the spectator. Virtual Spectator animation highlighted the miniscule details and the onboard cameras allowed spectators to feel like they too were onboard.
For the first time ALL the syndicates were in close proximity to each other in a very public place - a virtual yachting stadium - giving a tangible sense of excitement to spectators within walking distance of cafes and bars and a central business district.
With that experience this summer's racing should be more interesting WORLDWIDE.
Yes, America's Cup yachting is NOW the premier sailing event - from October 2002 to February 2003.
The Volvo Round the World is surely the world's most prestigious and gruelling sailing event, but given how hard New Zealand fought to win the America's Cup and how much money and training went in to winning it, comparing it to Formula One does not sound at all inappropriate.
Good luck to the Kiwis, it took years of sailing (and the odd court battle) to wrestle the America's Cup off the Americans. Exciting stuff indeed!
Anyone who takes a visit to the Auckland waterfront now will say "YES" - including the 80,000 who attended the opening parade today.
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