Totally agree on VOR, and how it signals to me that I could totally lose interest in the AC. I used to be a huge fan of the VOR, but I have TOTALLY lost interest in this current edition as it has gone OD. I saw that they were going around the Horn so pulled up the video, but I have had no interest in who is winning, and other than thinking, "wow, they are close together after all those miles", I have no interest to see who wins this leg. To me a HUGE component of these races is the difference in the boats, right there with knowing they are cutting edge. Take away those elements, and the closeness of racing and the number of competitors is irrelevant to me.SimonN,
Well said. I am rapidly losing interest in the AC thanks to ACEA/Coutts shenanigans. I feel the same way, possibly to a lesser degree, about the Volvo Ocean Race. While the racing is, undeniably, closer part of the fun (for me) was to see the different ways the designers and engineers endeavored to try to solve the same equation. Some boats turned out fantastic and others were complete dogs. Usually the first leg or two of the VOR - and the initial rounds of the AC - led to lots of challenges and changes for the less well-prepared teams.
Maybe that's not as comercially attractive as everyone being on the same page from the start but it is a hell of a lot more compelling story to talk about the work which goes into the designing and engineering done by each team. Arguably, one of the best storylines, besides the great racing in the finals, was all of the changes made by BOTH Oracle and ETNZ. Think about it for a moment...if they had been OD the entire time we wouldn't have had ETNZ "secretly" foiling and learning their foiling gybes, Oracle trying (and failing) to foil on their v1 boat and all of the aero packages (among many other changes) undertaken by the teams. It's interesting stuff and it will all be gone if they go OD for the next event.
The fact is the people who will bring the ratings are not sailing fans...they are more akin to NASCAR fans. They are attracted to the sport for the high speeds, potential for carnage and close racing. The rest of us (the sailors) are interested in that AND the balance (the development work, the lop-sided round robin racing, watching the underdog teams either catch up or fail miserably trying, etc.). We're the ones who will (or won't) be the ones who buy the gear and remain fans between events...not the people they're trying to reach with their misguided attempts at commercializing the sport.