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New Zealand and the good old days

Does the stunning victory for Emirates Team New Zealand in the 35th America's Cup mean a return to the "good old days" ?

Grant Dalton and Matteo de Nora - Click image for a larger image

We now have to wait on the New Zealand/Italy version of what form the next America's Cup will take.

ETNZ refused to sign-up to the 'framework agreement' put forward by the other competitors, not liking the proposed regular two year Cup cycle, and they might even buck the trend and return to monohulls.

The 7 to 1 white-wash final by ETNZ demonstrated that even with high-flying, high speed multihulls, not as much has changed as the America’s Cup Event Authority would have us think.

The biggest change for this and the previous Cup was the packaging of the event for TV, with compact courses and very short races being more suitable for TV time-slot programming.

If the Cup is to build on that, then any change back to long races, miles out to sea, seems unlikely to go down well with the teams and their sponsors.

Ben Ainslie has laid it out, when he stated:

"We may already be committed to the next Cup, (but) I think a lot of teams would leave if there was not something commercially sustainable on the table."

The Framework Agreement was a move to take away the traditional right of the winning team to dictate the rules for the following Cup. In doing so it locked the new defender into a two-yearly cycle and the existing boats.

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton refered to the agreement as dooming the Cup to be "just another dirty little regatta."

But, the format of a travelling World Series, with high speed fleet racing, and the compact format of the actual Cup, does seem to have raised public awareness - via close-up spectating and TV coverage.

If ETNZ want to return to the "good old days" they might just find that they are travelling alone.

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Gerald New - Sailweb
28 June 2017 12:50 GMT


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