Ruling the Cs

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, April 1996

Ruling the Cs
By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta

Sure it's overshadowed by its more famous sibling, but what the Little America's Cup sailing race lacks in hoopla it makes up for in flat-out speed. That much was obvious in Melbourne last January, where the Cup was contested in a best-of-seven match race between defending host nation Australia and a U.S. challenger. In this duel of experimental C Class catamarans, Steve Clark's Cogito blanked the Aussies 4-0 on an 18-leg, 19-mile course to reclaim the Cup for the first time in a decade. By C Class rules, Cogito had to be 25 feet long and 14 feet wide and carry 300 square feet of sail, but everything else, including weight and materials, was unrestricted. Clark, who built Cogito in a barn behind his home in Bristol, Rhode Island, seems to have done everything right on the design front. The Aussies, meanwhile, gambled on a faster but more fragile rig--and paid the price when they capsized on day two, leaving them with only a heavy-weather rig for the final two races. Noted Clark, in an apparent jab at some better-funded U.S. skippers, "At least one America's Cup is back where it belongs."

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