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Billionaire Boys Cup (America's Cup 2003) 327

morpheus 2001 writes "Wired has a story on the fight to win the America's Cup 2003, a sailing race held every 3 years. The story carries the title 'Billionaire Boys Cup', referring to both the competitors and the millions of dollars that it now takes to field a team. This time around the two US teams pit Craig McCaw and Larry Ellison against each other using their respective technological prowess to beat each other and the rest of the world. The story mentions that all of the teams competing will drop collectively over $700 million, with $30 - 40 million to be spent on R&D (per team) alone. The story gives an excellent description of how the use of technology and massive databases work in concert to give a team an edge of mere seconds, which can be the difference between winning and losing a race."
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Billionaire Boys Cup (America's Cup 2003)

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  • by TechnoVooDooDaddy ( 470187 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @08:13AM (#4280709) Homepage
    An uneducated response here to be certain, but i got mana to burn so here goes...

    30-40M R&D, at the end of the day, if the wind don't blow, the wind don't blow, no amount of R&D will make the wind blow.

    • It seems that it blows then...
    • how much the average time for completing the race has changed in years since they've started using computers to design their systems
  • by torpor ( 458 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [musibi]> on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @08:14AM (#4280717) Homepage Journal
    ... and I mean that: Formula One is boring.

    Bringing in all sorts of high tech crap to make your boat/car go faster is one thing.

    Sailing using your hands, eyes and ears instead, is something entirely different.

    Given the choice between watching a bunch of Rich Borgs re-compile their trim calculation program in between tacks, and watching real men sale real boats, I'd take the real boats.

    And I come from Perth (near Fremantle). We were *proud* to have made a technological dent in the history of the America's Cup, but frankly I think it was a bad, bad day when technology trumped the Americans. It just gave them fodder they needed to destroy the true spirit of sports like this.

    Americas Cup = Formula One = Robo Wars. Same thing, different toys.

    Yawn.
    • Record attempts have always been about the bleeding edge. All that has changed is the technology available to push that bleeding edge. I race sand yachts and not so long ago carbon fiber equipment and decent sails were restricted to the record breakers. Now just about anyone with the technical ability can hit 100km/h in standard kit... That's what it's about. Anyone who sails takes for granted the performance on modern sail boats (not only speed, but essentially efficiency in low winds or difficult conditions) - but they only have that because 50 years ago people were pushing the envelope on this kind of thing.
    • Come on torpor...

      The America's cup is the oldest international sports trophy in the world. And it was originally won by a boat that was way ahead of the other competitors in terms of design.

      There is nothing new in the 'go faster technology' aspect of sailing - it's as integral to racing sailboats as the ball is to a football game.

      Throw the technology out, and we'd all be floating round on partially submerged logs, holding up bits of trees in a vain effort to catch the wind!

      Mike
      • Not to take away from the point, but technically both the log and the tree bits are technology... old technology, but technology just the same. So really it would be a swimming race.
      • Torpor's on to something, tho'. Technology is what these sports are all about, but too much of it takes it out of the realm that the average person can relate to. Years ago, auto racing was so much more fun because the fans could understand all the development that was going on. Did engines work better in the front or the rear? Which was better, tube frame or monocoque? Pushrod V8 or OHC V-12? Could tires develop more than 1G of grip? (a lot of physicists scoffed at the notion, until some drag racers just did it).

        Now, it's all about getting a tenth of a percent less underwing pressure in medium-speed corners, or adjusting the enigine management mappings to suit the circuit, tweaks and tunings that we never even see.

        Likewise, when Aus2 won the America's Cup, there was a new keel, you could look at it, you could play Monday morning engineer, you could try to understand why it worked better. Good stuff.

        There's probably no way to go back to the past, tho.
        • there is a way to go into the future though... the AC yachts are leadmines

          boats which are as heavy as the AC yachts will always be restricted by their waterline length as to how fast they can go, to go substantially quicker you need to get rid of the lead!

          boats such as skiffs and foilers will have no trouble beating the AC boats, they'd absolutely slaughter them for less than the cost for one of those mainsails mentioned in the article. Unfortunately the rules will never change to allow interesting boats to race, why would a team that has just won suddenly decide to give away all the advantage they have?

          if it was to change to interesting boats (see above) then we could all visualise the forces involved and think up our own cool ways of minimising the drag, increasing the righting moment etc.

        • Years ago, auto racing was so much more fun

          No, it was still cars going around in a circle. Driving cars may be fun in the right situation, but watching someone else do it rarely is...
    • Well, I'd say it depends.
      For me, the actual race of Formula One is pretty boring. Actually, I find any sport (not to say that I'd consider racing as sports) boring to watch.

      But the geek in me finds all hi-tech involved in those competitions very fascinating and the tree-hugger in me likes seeing so much high-tech in a non-combustion vehicle. (Don't stop me raving by reminding me of the construction of those yachts)

      When it comes to actually sailing one, I dislike sailing any yacht or boat, where your own body weight has no (noticable) impact on heeling.

      But still, there is still a tremendious amount of nautical expertise necessary to judge the winds and judging the other yachtsmen.
      • No Formula 1 is extremely boring. The problem with the tech is that it really doesn't not bring any benefit anymore.

        Previously it made engines faster, stronger and influenced cars. But now we have 500 HP monsters on the road. So I ask you what are you going to do with a 500 HP monster? Only in Germany can you semi use that speed, but even then it is dangerous. My car is limited to 250 KPH (cheaper insurance) and 250 KPH is damm fast. My average speed is probably about 160 KPH (traffic, other people, etc).

        The fuel limit was dropped so fuel efficiency is not important. The body of the car is made with kevlar, carbon fibre, which has about a snow's ball's chance in hell in making it to regular cars.

        In other words Formula 1 like sailing has become the modern day version of polo that nobody will pay that much attention to, but rich people come to be seen.

        Now about sports being boring to watch? Hah, not watched something like Hockey, eh?
        • No Formula 1 is extremely boring. The problem with the tech is that it really doesn't not bring any benefit anymore.

          OK there's a double negative that's a little tricky to parse, but I'll assume you meant "it doesn't really bring any benefit anymore", you're wrong.

          Previously it made engines faster, stronger and influenced cars. But now we have 500 HP monsters on the road. So I ask you what are you going to do with a 500 HP monster? Only in Germany can you semi use that speed, but even then it is dangerous. My car is limited to 250 KPH (cheaper insurance) and 250 KPH is damm fast. My average speed is probably about 160 KPH (traffic, other people, etc).

          There is more to improving an automobile's performance than increasing horsepower. For example as far as engines are concerned: driveability in the form of a flat torque curve over a wide range of rpm is useful in racing especially in F1 where circuits typically have tight corners connected by straight sections so being able to accelerate out of a corner is key to victory. In a road going car this helps in giving you the ability to accelerate when merging onto a highway without requiring you to floor it and potentially fishtail. Mercedes Benz engines of the last 10 years are noted for particularly flat torque curves, is it any surprise that Mercedes powered McLarens dominated F1 in the latter half of the 90's. Fuel efficiency is still a concern since in racing it opens up your options for pit strategy. Since most forms of racing have displacement limits volumetric efficiency is still a concern which has led to the highly efficient yet powerful 100HP/liter engines from Honda, BMW, and Ferrari available in their road cars. However engine technology is not the primary focus in Grand Prix and other high end racing anymore, the two key technologies to victory are aerodynamics and tires. With the F360 and 550 Maranello Ferrari has started to apply racing aerodynamic technology to increase high speed stability of normal road cars. Porsche has also paid a lot of attention to the high speed stability of their road going cars. Regardless of national speed limits, the real factor limiting driver speeds is comfort with the car's handling at speed (I have a link for this but can't find it right now). Admitedly this technology is only available on high cost automobiles but like nearly every other automotive technology of the last 30 years: ABS, traction control, airbags, in car navigation systems, active suspension etc. it will trickle down to cars available to the general public over time. Perhaps the biggest change in automotive technology over the last decade is not from the major manufacteres but the tire companies. Off the shelf I can buy Pirelli POne and PZero or Michelin Pilot tires which can improve the handling capabilities of my car by nearly 10% over typical (cheap) OEM tires. Winter and rain tire technology has improved even further. In fact, modern supercars like the Ferrari 360 and Dodge Viper can nearly match pure race built GT cars (I'm talking about nonstreet legal versions of cars like the 911, RX7, Mustang etc. that you see bringing up the back of the pack in the ALMS series or in the Speedvision GT series not GT prototypes) of 10 to 15 years ago off the showroom floor without having significantly more horsepower or lighter structures. This performance advantage is not as apparent in more mass market cars like the Accord or Camry because chassis engineers have used the extra traction to provide softer damping rates for a smoother ride. Using aftermarket shock and spring packages on these cars quickly demonstrate how much more capable they are than their previous generation models.

          The fuel limit was dropped so fuel efficiency is not important. The body of the car is made with kevlar, carbon fibre, which has about a snow's ball's chance in hell in making it to regular cars.

          Again, untrue. Audi is already building lightweight aluminum unibodies for the A8 and will probably move the technology down their product line over time. Lotus (which has close ties to GM) also is doing pioneering work in lightweight chassis and bodies with the Elise. The Opel Speedster that GM may bring to the US uses the same technology. You can get road going cars with Carbon Fiber bodies from Lamborghini (although their space frame construction makes it unlikely that anyone else will adopt their approach) or BMW (in the M3 CSL although only some portions of the car are Carbon Fiber). For those of us with incomes closer to the median, there are plenty of aftermarket suppliers for carbon fiber body panels for production automobiles like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Honda Accord etc.

          Also there is a de facto fuel efficiency limit in Formula 1 since you are required to make at least one pit stop. Given the sensitivity of a modern Formula 1 car to fuel weight, in some circumstances it pays to run a lighter fuel load and make more pit stops. If you are not fuel efficient then you'll have to carry more fuel on the multistop strategies slowing you down. CART has a de facto fuel efficiency limit too since there is a minimum number of laps one is allowed to run between stops and a maximum tank size in the rules.

          As for boring or elitist entertainment. That's almost entirely a matter of taste. The wealthy tend to prefer to be with people in their own income group and one method of excluding the nonwealthy is to choose pursuits in which they cannot participate. They can then use their wealth to further exclude participation by increasing equipment costs. Golf and Tennis are two examples of sports which should be relatively cheap (if Golf equipment was cheap stainless steel instead of hard to forge titanium heads on highly engineered carbon fiber shafts, and likewise for tennis racket materials) but aren't. On the other hand, I can play chess but have little interest in devoting a lot of time to watching it, but I can imagine how a more devoted fan would find a well played game very interesting to observe.

        • > My average speed is probably about 160 KPH (traffic, other people, etc).

          Mine is about 30kph (bike, city, still as fast as most cars).

          Granted, faster and stronger cars are no benefit for normal people, actually I'd rather say they are counterproductive.

          But there is more to a car than a strong engine.
          Not beeing into cars, I don't know what technological advancements come from racing.
          It wouldn't surprise me when ceramic and carbon fibre brakes, Traction Control, ESP and the like would be the resulted from the extreme conditions in racing.

          > The body of the car is made with kevlar, carbon fibre, which has about a snow's ball's chance in hell in making it to regular cars.

          What would you've said 10years ago? The body of these cars is made of Aluminium?

          > Now about sports being boring to watch? Hah, not watched something like Hockey, eh?

          It's not the action that I find lacking.
          The fun part about watching sports is, that you're able to feel with the team and share their joy in their accomplishments. I seem to lack the ability.
      • Actually, I find any sport (not to say that I'd consider racing as sports) boring to watch

        You've obviously never done any car racing, otherwise you'd know that, especially at the top (WRC, Formula 1, CART), peak physical condition is an absolute requirement of all the drivers. For one, it strengthens you against injury, but the act of driving requires incredible mental awareness and tremendous upper body strength if you're going to yank the wheel from side to side for 2 hours straight.

        I think you'd be hard pressed to find a sport that's more physically and mentally exhausting than top auto racing.
    • by BitGeek ( 19506 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @08:57AM (#4280981) Homepage

      It doesn't matter how much technology is on the boat or how many computers, you still sail with your hands, eyes, ears, and instincts.

      Technology gives you improved perception-- a better idea of what the wind is likely to do, better knowledge of what the wind is doing mid mast rather than just on the deck or at the top, a better idea of what sail trim you should have....

      But you still have to use your mind, body and muscles to execute the excellent control over the boat necessary. You make it sound like they could sit at home and tell the boats to sail themselves. They probably could if they outfitted the boats with the autopilot stuff that's available, but they would LOSE and LOSE BAD if they did.

      I'm not the biggest fan of sailboat racing-- I think boats are more fun cruising around away from the mass of humanity-- but I have raced and I have raced on relatively high tech boats at a level that -- if sailing were as popular as football is-- would be televised.

      All the technology in the world can only give you an idea of what the current situation is with the wind, water, and boat. But you can't win a race knowing the current situation-- to win you have to know the best tactics and use the your best judgement about whats *going to happen* to change the current situation, and execute those tactics flawlessly.

      The televised america's cup racing I've seen has been a blast, and rather exciting-- I just wish they gave us more on the boat coverage and less quick cutting of the races.... to hear the crew chatter about tactics and where they think the wind is going to go during a race and then to see how it actually goes and how they handle it would be wonderful.

      But so it goes. Sailing is one of the last competitive sports where so much technology is *necessary* to compete at that level, but still so ineffective compared to the human level. Ball games are low tech, hockey is low tech. Technology doesn't matter for them. Formula one racing-- technology makes a huge difference but you know where the track is and you just go-- and there's one driver so he has perfect coordination of his actiosn.

      With sailing you have to have both the best technology and the best human brains and the best coordination of your team in order to win. IF you seriously lack any of those, then you loose.

      You're wrong-- The americas cup is still about real sailors. Anyone who enters the americas cup without the stamina and fearlessness and judgment of a free climber combined with the technical prowess of your average programmer is going to loose.

      It is not a sport for the idle wealthy, weak, easily scared or technically ignorant.
      • It is not a sport for the idle wealthy, weak, easily scared or technically
        ignorant.


        Isn't Larry Ellison doing it????


        • Yep, and that tells you Larry Ellison is none of those things.

          I'd sail with him. Given the inherent risks in sailing, that's saying something.
          • inherent risks in sailing

            Are you referring to the whole "water, water everywhere and not a drop drink" thing? 'Cause they have bottled water lil' Larry could carry on his boat.

            And if you consider drowning a risk: about 60 years ago some really nice guy invented life preservers. And I'm sure the Coast Guard would be more than happy to pick up Larry.

            Bottom line: I'm being extremely sarcastic, because spending $700 million on a boat race is idiotic and asinine in this day and age of rampant starvation, disease, civil war, genocide, and illiteracy.

            Hey, but if it sells a couple more pairs of Sperry Top-Siders and a bottle or two of Zima, then by all means $700 million is justified.

            Now, before you flaim me, know:
            1) that I do indeed enjoy sport and competition and would have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER with the Cup Race, if the amount of money spent on the boats and crews were more realistic: say 5 to 10 million (about what a Nascar or NHRA team spends in 3 years). But we are talking about rich, spoiled children and their need for the biggest toy on the block.
            2) I am not bashing sailing. Sailing is wonderful and a great way to spend a couple of days. I live a stones throw from the Pacific and enjoy its beauty everyday.


            • I understand now. Your complaint is that you oppose human rights, not sailing.

              The ironic thing is that people like yourself who think that the rich owe them something, when you suceed, what you create is rampant starvation, civil war, and illiteracy.

              Better to let Larry reinvest the money-- hell that $700Million will do more to fight poverty than the same $700M spent by the feds on schools.

              • I understand now. Your complaint is that you oppose human rights, not sailing.

                Not sure from where you got that... moving on.

                The ironic thing is that people like yourself who think that the rich owe them something, when you suceed, what you create is rampant starvation, civil war, and illiteracy.

                I don't believe anyone owes me anything. I do believe that it is important for us to take care of each other. And it saddens me when someone like Larry has so great a potential to do good, yet fails even to recognize the need.

                Better to let Larry reinvest the money-- hell that $700Million will do more to fight poverty than the same $700M spent by the feds on schools.

                Not sure what industry he is supporting other than a select few that cater specifically to the Cup race. And I'm not sure how that $700 million helps kids in this country learn how to count and read or puts a meal into the stomach of a child in any East African nation or buys medicine to combat any number of diseases in South East Asia, etc...

                In the end it is Larry's money and he is free to do with it what he will.
      • You're wrong-- The americas cup is still about real sailors. Anyone who enters the americas cup without the stamina and fearlessness and judgment of a free climber combined with the technical prowess of your average programmer is going to loose.

        Free climber? Surely you must be joking. The difference between free climbing and sailing is profound. Last time I checked the sailing magazines, they don't run obituaries as part of the regularly featured contents.

        Sound of sailing hitting the water: SPLASH!

        Sound of a climbing hitting the rock/ground: SPLAT!

        Please don't confuse climbers with a bunch of rich boys and their oversized bathtub toys.
        • He didn't say they were going to die, just that they were going to lose. He was comparing fitness, not risk.

        • As they do have obituaries regularly. People are lost at sea all the time. Some are merely injured, but it is easy to be in life threatening situations.

          You say "splash" as if the water is warm. Where I sail, inside of 15 minutes unprotected in the water you are looking at serious consequences and possible death.

          When you've been in a small boat in 50 MPH winds and 5-10 foot seas, then you can come tell me its nothing like rock climbing.
      • What's the source and context for your .sig? My snide first guess is the increase in tax revenue came from all the deficit spending. Money that was only borrowed, spent by the government and distributed to the rich. Some of it trickled down to the masses, and eventually 500B more returned to the indebted government.


        • The OMB.

          Cutting taxes increases tax revenue becuase the money that would otherwise be wasted by the government is invested, and that capital allows growth in the economy and job creation. Said job creation not only increases average wages but also increases the income to the federal government in income taxes at the lower level.

          It sounds like you've been buying the anti-rich conspiracy theories of liberals... unfortunately they don't fit the real world economic model.
    • All the hi tech is in the design, human power is the only thing allowed on the ship itself.

      Each crew contains a pair of strong armed men to run the winches.

      They are rich boys, let them have their fun. The competition has bred some innovation in the boats and their design, proving the ol' adage that racing improves the breed. Which is something the business world needs to keep in mind.

    • Sorry to say this, but normally the best sailors still win the America's Cup. This is why once it finally made it to New Zealand, all the New Zealand sailors got bought by foreign conglomerates. New Zealand's not a rich country, but not only does it boast many of the world's best sailors, it also has one Bruce Farr, one kickass sailboat technologist. So we got a double edge. Not now though, cause Russell Coutts and others all belong to Japanese and other outside interests.



      Just look at the Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round-the-World Yacht Race) and you'll find New Zealanders on every single boat. Not bad considering there's only 3 million of us.



      Some days I'm so patriotic it scares me. Go on,f find an Australian to mod me down :)

      • Here! Here! I'm from the US but all the evidence I see puts the best sailors in the world in New Zealand and Australia.

        I especially admire the national spirit and pride behind New Zealand's boats (not to leave out the Australians, I just can't remember a specific.). I remember either one or two cups ago when the Kiwi boat had a spinnaker signed by school children from all over the country. That was quite a symbol of national support. Most kids in the US don't even know what the America's Cup is.

        As for who's better, New Zealand or Australia, I guess we'll find out in next year's cup.

    • I went to school with Dean Barker [xtramsn.co.nz] who is Team New Zealands Skipper.

      You can hardly say that it is just technology that wins. This guy has been sailing Optimists and P Classes [freehomepages.com] since he was a young lad. You can hardly call a 1947 and a 1923 desgined boat state of the art. The optimist is a complete pig to sail and he still won in that, even though all the boats were one design

      What makes him a good sailor is years of skill, practice and a city where sailing is part of your school ciriculum from when you are 10 years old.

      Also technology is making the sport a lot better to watch check out the Virtual Spectator [virtualspectator.com] software. cool.

      Rock on Team New Zealand and hope we can keep the cup again!

      /b

  • by Compulawyer ( 318018 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @08:22AM (#4280765)
    the REAL story is the parties! I grew up near Newport, RI where the race had been held until the Aussies won the Cup with their very controversial hull/keel design. The design gave them the winning edge, but it also caused some major litigation. Anyway, I digress. In a race year, the streets/bars/etc. of Newport were PACKED with people all having a great time partying. The race itself may be boring to many people, but if it still creates the kinds of parties I remember, it is worth all the money spent (so long as I am not footing the bill).
    • I remember the days of Ted Turner drinking it up at the Candy Store. In 76' I sat next to him at a Pawsox - Braves (farm team) game.
    • Last I checked, parties were about interesting people.

      All the millionaires I know are fabulously boring, petty, grabby individuals whose only topics of conversation while boating are the price of real estate and the cost of legal services.

      • I never mingled with any millionaires (that I know of). Just all regular people from the area or those who chose to vacation in Newport during race season. Maybe it was the beer, but they all seemed pretty interesting to me at the time.
  • by _Spirit ( 23983 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @08:23AM (#4280771) Journal
    Sailing in competition has always been about technology. Raw speed is closely tied to the shape of the hull, rigging etc.

    Of course tactics, knowledge / better prediction of the weather and sheer luck are also factors, but none of them are as important as how fast your ship is. In the long run the fastest ship with a competent shipper wins.

    Just the fact that it looks more high tech these days doesn't mean technology wasn't there before
  • As a sailor... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rimmon ( 608966 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @08:28AM (#4280793)
    ...I like to point out, that most sailors I know (that includes myself) are not really interested in the AC. There're races wchich are way more demanding, no matter if you look at the technology or the human efforts.
    Sure thing, these machines are really awesome, at least for 5 hours of consecutive sailing.
    But the the real thing, at least in my opinion, are long distance races.
    The Volvo Ocean Race, Cape Town - Rio, Jules Verne Trophy and so on.

    The greatest thing about the AC is not the real sailing but the High Tech Stuff that drips down to other races and classes.
    • Agreed.

      Sailing around the world, alone, in 100 days is a lot more exciting than any Americas Cup. And it doesn't have the jingoistic aspects either.
      • Re:Vendee Globe (Score:2, Insightful)

        by javatips ( 66293 )
        I also admire these solo racers.

        However, one must not forget that they are not really alone. They are in constant contact with people on land that will study the wheater and suggest better route. They people on land will also have a list of the things that must be done on the boat to keep it in top shape.

        Yes, they are alone in handling the boat (and suffering all the bad thing that can happen on the boat - especially in the south) but this is really a team effort.
        • Yes, you make a good point, they are in frequent contact. The original Golden Globe race (on which the Vendee is based) is a good example of what would happen if they didn't have radio contact (1 finished, 1 suicide, 1 crazy).

          OTOH, it can be a bit like Apollo 13, especially when they are in the deepest parts of the southern ocean -- they can be in constant radio contact but nobody can do anything to help you.

          And doing a spinnaker gybe on a 60 foot boat alone in the southern ocean truly is an amazing feat.


    • And the BOC Challenge, or whatever the Around the World alone race is now called.

      Those rock!

      Talk about "real sailors"!
    • Chicago to Macinac Island Michigan.

      A couple of day race, in classes, so yachts of almost any size can compete.

  • Obsessing over money 'we'* don't have?

    Somebody over as OSDN must have had to pay bills last night.

    * = That would be the Royal We.
  • Pay no attention to the US navel vessel charting all the currents and making very detailed charts (for the US teams only). Can't have any of those darn foreigners holding the "Americas Cup" now.

    Wonder how much that cost the tax payers.

  • by Greg@UF ( 97388 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @08:46AM (#4280919)
    ... and before the 2 US teams can even try to compete against New Zealand for the Cup, one of them needs to win the Louis Vitton Cup, against all other challengers.

    Only then does the winner get to sail against the Kiwi defenders.

    Take a look outside those borders - there's more to the America's Cup than 2 yanks with too much money.
    • Not only that, but last time it wasn't even close. Popular belief is that sailing is decided by seconds, but the Kiwi's won every race by several minutes, and their lead increased steadily over the course of the race.

      However, the contest to represent America should be called the America's Cup. It's the name of the final that needs to be changed.
  • Racing as a skill (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @09:05AM (#4281040) Homepage
    Watching One Design races is much more interesting on these short (less than several days) races. Every boat is identical so its purely down to the skill of the sailors. This makes for tight races rather than the first race making clear who has the best boat.

    And for real interest watch old working boats racing, slow as hell and there is always a crash or near crash.

  • Am I the only one that finds it interesting that Forbes didn't mention [forbes.com] this as one of the ways to spend a billion dollars [slashdot.org]?

    Must've been a slip-up there somewhere.
  • A boat race was certainly not my idea on a good way to blow a billion dollars [slashdot.org]...
  • With 30 or 40 million I could wire every classroom, buy new text books, and complete ALL needed repairs for every school in Orange County.
    And I would have enough left-over that we could re-introduce the school lunch program... but I know, I know it's important to show the youth of America that we can win the cup.
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @10:26AM (#4281576) Homepage
    that nobody's linked this [theonion.com] yet.
  • Yeah, it really makes you feel great about the government spending your tax dollars to protect these guys' 7- to 10-figure incomes when they drop hundreds of millions of dollars to win a boat race. Have fun boys.
  • A couple of facts (Score:5, Informative)

    by SailorBoy ( 26009 ) <eisen.dunhackin@org> on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @11:18AM (#4281966) Homepage
    Just to set the record straight...

    The America's Cup is not held every three years. There is no set schedule. At the start of each cycle, the Defender and the Challenger of Record sit down and negotiate a schedule. This time around, Team New Zealand and Prada decided on a three year schedule. Last time around, Team New Zealand and the New York Yacht Club agreed on a five year schedule. To my knowledge, the shortest schedule was one year (with the New Zealand "big boat" challenge against Dennis Connor's catamaran - what a fiasco!) in 1988.

    Second, there are three American syndicates this year. The poster was correct that two of them are backed by Larry Ellison (Oracle BWM from the Golden Gate Yacht Club) and Craig McCaw (OneWorld from the Seattle Yacht Club). However, there is a third American syndicate this time around: Dennis Connor's Stars and Stripes campaign, from the New York Yacht Club. Dennis Connor (aka Mr America's Cup) has participated in every America's Cup going back over 20 years. He's lost the cup twice, and won it four times. This is also the first time in several America's Cup cycles that Dennis Connor has had the money from his backers to support a two-boat campaign, making him very dangerous to retake the cup.

    I also want to take issue with the tone of the original posting. Yes, it takes a lot of money to run a competitive America's Cup campaign these days, but that money isn't being thrown away. There is a lot of community service being done by most of the syndicates. Also, the research done into boat design does trickle down to the common man, making sailing more fun for everyone else. Plus, it's a good venue for advertising and since each syndicate by definition must represent its home country, a good way to be patriotic as well. Most of all though, it's a grand spectacle. Why not sit back and enjoy the show?

    Halmonster

    • Plus, it's a good venue for advertising and since each syndicate by definition must represent its home country, a good way to be patriotic as well.
      This is probably an unpopular sentiment, but what exactly is good about patriotism? It's nothing more than the belief that your country is the greatest in the world, simply because you were born there. More freedoms have been stolen and lives have been lost due to patriotism than any other factor, except religion.
  • I'm really surprised that Wired chose to use the term "Billionare Boy's Cup", since it sounds like a reference to the notorious "Billionaires Boy Club." For those who don't recall the name, I point you here [crimelibrary.com] for details about mind control, investment strategies, and the grusome murders and kidnappings perpetuated by Mr. Joe Hunt and his followers.
  • by cuberat ( 549657 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @01:17PM (#4282946)
    ...and you missed a big one: Team Dennis Conner, sailing this time for the New York Yacht Club. Check the website here. [stars-stripes.com] He's only won the thing four times, and was instrumental in transforming the Cup from a quirky little amateur competition to an international sporting event. That's a good thing.

    Team New Zealand currently holds the America's Cup. The challengers all compete in the Louis Vuitton Cup for the right to challenge NZ. The complete list of challengers is available here. [lvcup.com]

    As sports go, you'd be hard pressed to find one with more history, integrity, and passion than sailing. If you've never been in a sailboat race, then you have no idea the exhiliration that sailing provides. There is nothing like it.

    No matter how many millions are spent, sailing is still much more art than science. How do you know where the wind is going to blow next? How can you know what your opponent is going to do next? Sailing is equal parts skill, training, and smarts - with just enough luck thrown in to make sure it never gets dull.

    This isn't tiddlywinks, either. People get hurt, and people die. I was once almost knocked out and thrown overboard when a spinnaker pole came crashing down on me while I was working foredeck. When a 10-knot wind fills 300 sq. meters of sail, you're talking about some serious energy that has to be dealt with.

    And if you're still not convinced how hardcore this can be, check out this site. [aroundalone.com] One person. One boat. All the way around the friggin' world. There's a simple beauty there that is rarely seen in the world these days.

  • New Zealand's win of the 'America's Cup' certainly wasn't on the same budget as the American attempts at defence & even our defence last time round wasn't that well funded.


    Money helps but it also comes down to ideas and being a nation of sailors.


    Get your red socks on


    No red sock campaign :-( [xtramsn.co.nz]

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. -- Winston Churchill

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