bluffs, blarney, blather, and bullshit

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It has become trite, these days, to complain that professionalism is undermining what little is left of the Corinthian spirit in sailing. The impact of money on the sport is self-evident. Less apparent, though, is the way that commercial imperatives are now eroding national loyalties and even some of our fundamental assumptions about social responsibility.

An initial case in point: it is difficult to believe that ETNZ boss Grant Dalton would be so tone-deaf to public sentiment in his native New Zealand that he did not anticipate a speedy backlash to the team’s rejection of a $100m offer from his government and city council to keep the next America’s Cup regatta in Auckland.

For Dalton and his syndicate, this could be just an early gambit of high-stakes bluff to extract a better offer, but they might have misjudged the vehemence of local reaction.

Rawiri Waititi, co-leader of the Maori Party, a minority group in the New Zealand parliament, voiced the concerns of many Kiwis when he released a statement condemning the America’s Cup as a “rort”. He accused Dalton’s syndicate of “selling their souls to the highest bidder”.

Waititi also reminded New Zealanders of the hundreds of millions they have already contributed to AC campaigns from tax and rate revenues over the past 20 years. Declaring that the Cup should now be “banished from our shores” he argued that the $100m would be better spent on the poor and homeless.

Those are, of course, easy points for any populist politician to make. But there’s no doubt they will resonate with New Zealanders grown weary of America’s Cup hype. The ETNZ decision to auction off hosting rights to AC37 to whichever city in the world promises to pay the most does little to enhance a sense of national pride.

The knock-on effect of Dalton’s commercial pragmatism did not take long to surface. Immediately after the 90-day negotiation window with New Zealand had closed last week the city of Valencia in southeastern Spain put its hand up to host the Cup.

But where would all the money come from in a country still emerging from the disaster of the coronavirus pandemic?

The answer is breathtaking in its cynical opportunism: Valencia proposes to finance its AC37 bid by dipping into the €750 billion fund established by the European Union to assist member countries in their recovery from the economic effects of COVID.

That strategy may not go down too well with the more than 80,000 families in Spain who have lost at least one member to the virus, including the 7,407 deaths to date in the Valencia community.

Hundreds of millions to be spent just so a handful of blow-in billionaires can enjoy a sunny Mediterranean location to play boats for a few months? That’s unlikely to attract many votes at the next Valencia municipal elections.

Meanwhile, our old friends at SailGP are savvy enough to concentrate their public relations effort on feel-good topics as a distraction from the increasing irrelevance of the event itself and the money it wastes.

Following the Taranto regatta they have now issued a 1,330-word media release that talks about everything except the sailing. We are told (in the usual hyperbolic house style), that SailGP had “used its platform for purpose to break boundaries in sustainable sport and champion a world powered by nature”.

This, they say, took the form of “local community engagement, collaborating with host city authorities to support projects delivering a positive social and environmental impact”. In practice it apparently boiled down to planting 50 poplar trees (Sir Russell planted the first one!) and drawing some power from 332 square feet of solar panels (that’s a bit more than the area of one SailGP jib).

Warming to their carbon-neutral theme, the PR flaks would have us believe that the decision to leave the TV team to produce the race coverage remotely from London rather than on-site at Taranto was “innovative” and would save “45 tonnes of CO2”.

The truth is that commentating ‘off tube’ and adding graphics and video inserts from a remote studio are common techniques that have been used by television sports broadcasters for at least 40 years. The more likely reason the SailGP production team worked from the UK rather than on location in Italy was to save Larry Ellison money on travel, accommodation and living expenses.

And, if Coutts and The Man from O.R.A.C.L.E are really so concerned about their carbon footprint, why don’t they just cancel the whole silly circus? – anarchist David.

Well, why don't they?

 

Sailbydate

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I have never ever read an article from David, which is in any way positive about sailing, sail boat racing, or the yachting industry.

Makes me wonder why the fuck he bothers to turn up hereabouts. 

 

Rennmaus

Super Anarchist
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OneWorldSailing said:
Forget about your personal feelings about the writer and focus on the article itself.

There is nothing positive to say about the sailing industry. It has been on life support for decades.

The Cup? It became irrelevant to the average Joe once the Swiss got their hands on it. No one gives a shit about it anymore.

Take this quiz:

How many production sailboats have been built and sold in the last decade?

How many sail lofts have closed their doors in the past decade?

How many hardware retailers are gone?

How many boat shows are "sail only"?

Last one out, turn off the lights.
What has the Cup to do with everyday sailing? 

You always needed shit loads of money to compete in the Cup. It has absolutely no meaning for a girl, boy or x in an Opti, never had. 

 

Rennmaus

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OneWorldSailing said:
I do not know your age and/or how long you have been sailing.

Regardless, both of your statements are false.

The in early days of the 12 meter boats, it did not take a "shit load of money".

As far as a kid in an opti? What planet are you from?
Certainly not from OneWorldSailing. Whats wrong with kids in Opties? 

Your error is that you think that the AC can be seen as "normal" sailing, which is wrong. If you had opened your eyes at least once in your lifetime spanning apparently 170 years, you would have seen that the syndicates were mostly consisting of robber barons, as they are today. Only 30 years were "cheap" for paupers like Alan Bond, Henry Sears, and so on. 

 

Rennmaus

Super Anarchist
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OneWorldSailing said:
Nothing wrong with kids in Opti's.

If you grew up sailing as kid in the 70's and 80's, the Cup was a big deal. You were the one who said that there has never been a generation of young sailors that gave a shit.

No need for you to educate me on the history of the Cup. It has been a manipulated and crooked affair since America made its way across the pond. From there, the U.S. did anything it could to hold on to it. Both from a legal and illegal perspective.

The Cup became a shit show once we lost it. That is when it morphed from a four year gathering to an actual industry.
Apparently there was, so you're welcome. 

Thanks, now I know your motivation for your PoV. I'll leave it at that. 

 
The cup will wax and wane i its relevance depending on the enthusiasm and availability of money to chase the dream of winning it.  

Currently NZ owns the cup after one amazing challenge and one amazing defense, funded by sponsorship and the NZ government.

Two billionaires want the opportunity to win it.  Its their money.....and they can spend it on this pursuit.  The question is whether NZ has enough money for a third cup.   The TV rights etc are an interesting side show but the dream of Coutts/Ellison to turn the AC into a commercial professional sailing event which pays for itself, ended after Bermuda.  It is once again a battle between wealthy people or wealthy syndicates.

 
OneWorldSailing said:
Well that makes sense.

Of course you didn't. Perhaps the reason could be attributed to the fact that the UK's has been irrelevant to the Cup since the first go around.

And the vast majority of SA members are certainly not in  NZ or your neck of the woods.
The UK has mounted some major challenges and been involved in every era of cup history .   The Early era, the J class era, the 12 meter era, the IAC era, and now the foiling era.

Unsuccesful but determined.

 
OneWorldSailing said:
And this is the root of the problem.

These folks for the lack of a better word are the "swamp".

The Cup means nothing anymore to the people who sail and the casual observer.

Let them have their orgy.

It would be pretty easy to create an alternative that would appeal to sailors and non-sailors alike. And it could be done cost effectively and not make the participants richer than the already are.
The Cup will do its own thing.

If it is so easy to create an alternative, why is it not happening?

Xteme Sailing series is gone.

Sail GP is drawing a lot of sailing talent but relies on substantial support. What would you do differently?

 

dogwatch

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OneWorldSailing said:
And the vast majority of SA members are certainly not in  NZ or your neck of the woods.
The "vast majority of SA members" aren't in the USA either. It is 50/50 USA and elsewhere. A fun fact repeatedly asserted by SA. 

But on SAAC, the predominant nation posting here is NZ.  It has been that way the last few years, as anyone paying attention would notice.

 
Every sport that's thriving today has tapped into someone else's money, whether that's corporate sponsors or dodgy Emirates or other rulers.    Premier League, Ligue 1 soccer, formula one, tennis, golf....cricket went this way 40 years ago via Kerry Packer.   In doing so, most of those sports and teams disconnected themselves from their local base as the price of survival...  

Not saying I like it, it's just how it is.   I think sailing has to do same.

I'll take issue with those who say AC is irrelevant/dead/ho-hum...this was the first AC where non-sailors would tell me how interested they were in the series.   It was probably the same back in the 1980s with Stars & Stripes, Kokkaburra (sp?), Bondie and Connor...

I'll also take issue with those who say sailing is dead/dying/life support....  Most participative sports are seeing smaller numbers (golf, tennis, sailing, baseball, soccer...you name it) as people spend more time glued to screens.   The rise of foiling of boards and boats is bringing more users and engagement, and boat manufacturers, far from dead, are pushing designs that require fewer crew...

As sailors, we need to be excited and sharing that with newbies.   If not, bugger off, stay indoors, moan to yourself.

 

shanghaisailor

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Shanghai, China
OneWorldSailing said:
Well that makes sense.

Of course you didn't. Perhaps the reason could be attributed to the fact that the UK's has been irrelevant to the Cup since the first go around.

And the vast majority of SA members are certainly not in  NZ or your neck of the woods.
Just proven yourself to (EDIT) have little or no knowledge of America's Cup history. (I was initially a lot less complimentary but decided to not be so cutting as you might be a minor.)

A little bit of education required my dear septic (from septic tank, rhymes with yank).

We have just seen AC36. Of those 36 Cup iterations 21 had (either as one of many, but mainly on their own) a British Challenge. So your statement that "the UK's has been irrelevant to the Cup since the first go around" is a total fiction. In fact it was the likes of Dunraven, Sopwith and Lipton that kept the Cup alive in the early part of its life.

Without the British "irrelevance", where at times early in the last century Police had to be called in to control crowds in London watching British progress across the pond the Cup would perhaps be gathering dust at the back of a NYYC trophy cabinet. 

Shit, a Brit even skippered your defender 3 times around the start of the 20th Century.

Do us all a favour and do a bit of reading before you type such rubbish.

You perhaps don't have the mental acuity to read something like "An Absorbing Interest" (the AC's definitive history) but a recent potted history on the INEOS website might give you a bit of a start.

https://ineosteamuk.americascup.com/en/articles/328_The-History-of-the-British-Challenge.html

 

terrafirma

Super Anarchist
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Melbourne
This Article by @Editoris complete crap. It is on of the reasons Sailing Anarchy is going down the tubes at times!
Epic Fail..! Haven't you heard of anarchist David? He goes under many names or did?  Not sure why Anarchist David get's so much air time at SA? Anyway onto the matter in hand I think Grant Dalton needs to be very careful with what he has in mind? Also what percentage of Dalton's care is entrenched into the future of the team vs Financial Interests of his own or other parties? When large amounts of "MONEY" are key to the issue in question the skies become clouded and ulterior motives come into play IMO. The Americas Cup could well capitulate because of money and the impact of COVID. Dangerous times ahead for the lovers of ETNZ and the event itself.!

 

Sailbydate

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Kohimarama
The Americas Cup could well capitulate because of money and the impact of COVID. Dangerous times ahead for the lovers of ETNZ and the event itself.!
Hmmmm. Notwithstanding 5 or 6 major wars and a flu pandemic, the Old Mug has proved tolerably hardy since 1851. Just sayin.

 
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