|The amazing AC72 Oracle Team USA doing its thing|
I, for one, think that the new AC 72 catamarans are one of the best things to happen to the sport of sailing in a very long time. OK, I can already hear the disagreement; they are too expensive, too much to handle, too fast and too dangerous, but that’s what I like about them. For a sport to evolve and grow you need to innovate and these boats ooze innovation. They also ooze sex appeal and that’s a key ingredient for any sport. Even my non-sailing friends are blown away by the sight of a massive, fixed-wing sailboat gliding high above the water at speeds approaching the speed limit on the New York State Thruway. The elegance, styling and thoroughbred performance of the AC72’s is simply mind blowing.
Contrast this with the downsized, slab sided Volvo Ocean 65’s. Forgive me, I am a huge fan of the event, a former competitor who did his first Whitbread when hanks were the norm and rollerfurling had not yet been invented, but I feel strongly that they have taken the wrong approach. I want to believe, but I can’t. There is nothing innovative about their new One Design boats and if the Vendée Globe sailors sailing alone on their 60-footers were matching the best days run of a fully crewed VOR 70, I doubt the smaller 65’s will impress.