The 36th America’s Cup is less than 90 weeks, or, like, a year and a half away — though, in reality, the hype around the event is about to ramp up. We are starting to get our first headlines and occasional glimpses of the AC75, one of the most ambitious boats ever conceived in the nearly 170-year history of the Cup, and what we’re pretty sure will be the largest fully foiling monohull ever.
“Emirates Team New Zealand and the three heavyweight challengers — Luna Rossa, INEOS Team UK, and American Magic — are all finally set to splash their new AC75s in coming weeks, with the Kiwi boat due to be unveiled early next month,” reported stuff.co.nz yesterday. A few weeks before, American Magic released footage of their shrink-wrapped AC75 crossing a bridge over Narragansett Bay. “The concealed 23 meter [that’s 75.4593-ft] racing yacht was transported from the team’s construction facility in Bristol, Rhode Island, to its sailing operations base in Newport.”
So here we go. We are taking a moment to enjoy the quiet before the storm. There will be viral videos (of the boats actually sailing instead of being schlepped around) of the next-generation AC vessels ripping through harbors around the world. There will be buzz about early favorites. There will be breakdowns and crashes. There will be controversy. There will be, in keeping with the tradition of the Cup, lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits. And then there will be existential debates about where what is by default sailing’s greatest platform is going. One side will say, “Speed isn’t everything, it’s boring to watch; I miss seeing sail changes,” while the other side will say, “This is cool, get with the times.”
And then, before we know it, there will be the Match itself. Will SailGP still be around in two years? Will another team wrestle the Auld Mug away from the Kiwis and conceive of an even more radical boat? These are all valid questions.
We are in no hurry for the answers.