Sailing Historian Lambasts America’s Cup

In open letter to race organizers

“You have abused it, misused it and reduced it to no more than an average regatta, losing on the way its prestige and at the same time driven away the most serious competitors.” (Port of San Diego/Flickr)

Sailing author and America’s Cup historian Bob Fisher has written an open letter to the America’s Cup Event Authority detailing his concerns about the state of the race.

“I cannot escape notice of what you are doing to the America’s Cup,” Fisher wrote on Scuttlebutt Sailing News. “It has been nothing short of a disgrace to the premier event in the sport of Sailing. You have abused it, misused it and reduced it to no more than an average regatta, losing on the way its prestige and at the same time driven away the most serious competitors.”

Fisher is a renowned author on the race’s history. He’s the author of An Absorbing Interest: The America’s Cup, A History, 1851–2003 (2011), and Sailing on the Edge: America’s Cup (2013). He is also a well-known yachting correspondent. 

In his letter, Fisher takes issue with the race organizers’ recent decision to shorten the boats and scuttle a qualifying regatta in Auckland, New Zealand, which caused Emirates Team New Zealand and others to reconsider their participation. Fisher lambasts what he sees as the race’s obsession with money and viewership at the price of an equitable path for entry.

“It is unnecessary for the America’s Cup to have a television audience,” he wrote, lamenting major changes in the sport. “Even [when live broadcasts of the event began in the 1980s] it didn’t need catamarans on hydrofoils sailing at 40 knots to be attractive.”

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