Calls for foiling mega-boats to be ditched in America’s Cup

A growing number of names in the sailing world are calling for the America’s Cup to rid itself of its current foiling boats and return to a more traditional form, according to the New Zealand Herald. But, as ever with the America’s Cup, an online spat is developing, with ‘old farts‘ being accused of threatening the future of the cup.

The last three competitions for the America’s Cup have been contested by boats with foils, which has both increased the pace and cost of racing. Some members of the sailing community argue that a return to more traditional boats will provide a better spectacle, quality of competition, and increase the number of contenders.

The paper cites New York Yacht Club commodore Chris Culver, who told Sailing World, that if American Magic (pictured above) wins this year’s cup they would “put the boat back into the water”.

“It will be somewhere between 80 and 100 feet in length. It will be a displacement monohull that is good for traditional match racing. You need to be able to see the boats from a distance, and the boats need to be majestic.”

Culver’s opinion is backed by Italian sailing legend Riccardo Bonadeo who told La Stampa that foiling boats were taking the sport too far away from its definitions.

“There must be technological evolution, but on boats that sail. I share the New York Yacht Club’s idea of ​​new 80-100 displacement hulls for the next edition,” says Bonadeo.

“With the AC75 we have entered another dimension, where aerodynamics are more important than hydrodynamics.

“In fact, we speak of flight, not navigation. And the seafaring skills of the crew are no longer enhanced, but other characteristics are required of the latter.”

Bonadeo, the former commodore of the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club and president of the Azzurra campaigns in 1983 and 1987, echoed the opinion of his skipper from those campaigns, Cino Ricci.

“I don’t see the sails changing, I don’t see the men moving together on board to carry out the intuitions of the tactician and the helmsman,” Ricci told La Stampa.

“In short, I don’t see the art of sailing. Which for me means taking advantage of the wind according to its variations and the sails I have available.”

According to Culver the extreme cost of AC75s has taken national competitiveness out of the sport.

“The America’s Cup needs to be about national and country pride.

“We want to see more challengers, and this will happen if we make the cup more economically feasible. If you reduce the time it takes to design the boat and campaign it, the costs will be lower.”

However, not all in the sailing world back the cup’s return to a more traditional form, says the New Zealand Herald.

Team New Zealand are obvious proponents of the AC75 and Luna Rossa helmsman Francesco Bruni has been outspoken in his support for the class.

“Three years ago I was sceptical about the new class. I said to myself, too many computer simulations and little sailing, but now that we have them, and we are sailing, well, I must say that it is a very successful boat, a good project,” Bruni told Fare Vela in December.

“They are amazing racing objects, which surprise us too and give us great sensations. Especially upwind, when we reach 35-36 knots with VMG close to 30, we are amazed.

“I have to say that I would like them to remain as an America’s Cup class regardless of who wins the cup.”

However, only the holder of the America’s Cup may choose the rules of its engagement, so until that moment happens, it’s all moot anyway.

11 responses to “Calls for foiling mega-boats to be ditched in America’s Cup”

  1. Andrew Craig-Bennett says:

    Bring the competition back to where it was for the first eight decades. How about the J class?

  2. Tom Armitstead says:

    The Cup has become totally boring. It’s about as much fun as watching Olympic speed skating.
    Bring back some proper seamanship, sailing actually IN the water, and some inventive courses where boats have to cntinually cross in front of each other. Then we shall see who has the greatest skill.

  3. Ian Stewatt says:

    I think the Americas cup should revert to monohull in the water racing. Then there should be a new World Cup Sailing race for ac75’s.

  4. P whitrow says:

    Yes its more like formula 1 now, lets get back to proper monohull racing.

  5. Linda Ingram says:

    I agree totally with Tom Armitstead and all the other exponents of getting back to conventional sailing of monohulls ON water and not hulls above.
    The competition has become more of a speed trial than a test of sailing skills and tactics.

  6. Julian Hawe says:

    The ac 72s were the greatest in both sailing and in the nimber of viewers especially new viewers bring these back with the wing masts etc machines that bought the genral public in with good reason 😀

  7. Silvan marty says:

    Was sagen da gewisse segel-dinosaurier..
    Dass diese boote nicht segeln! Sind es jetzt motorboote oder was?
    Der AC war schon immer luxoriös,teuer,hig-tech und nur bestreitbar für kompetente teams!
    Alle anderen sind nur punktelieferanten!
    Jedes mal die gleichen sprüche und aussagen.
    Was wäre AC ohne jahrzehnte der NewZealander und schweizer-geldgeber oder italians etc.
    Die letzten Americas Cups waren immer spektakel und faszinierend!
    Ausser der in emiraten. (Alingi vs Oracle)
    Auch die in neunziger jahren waren spannend.
    Doch zum glück entwickelt sich der Cup
    Darum ist er ja on the edge of technologie und gthe best sailors!

  8. Geoff says:

    Foiling boats are getting mainstream, why should we go backwards, back to 3 strand manilla rope where would we stop? . Even the Vendee Globe uses foiling craft.

  9. John Pierce says:

    What rubbish..the Americas Cup should be at the cutting edge …it should be the best and fastest…it will hardly be that if a moth can beat them around a race course

  10. Carl Clampitt says:

    As a former small boat racer, some of it in Olympic class boats, I too miss; the changing of sails, the pre-start dance, the sending of a crewman up the mast to look for wind and tactical measures of blocking the wind and tacking duels. The speed of the foiling boats is astounding and has probably brought a thousand times more people to watch the races but it’s not as exciting.

  11. Gord Kirk says:

    All of the aforementioned simply restate my written opinion of November 2020.

    Thousands of others respect the AC 75 for what they are. But those of us who appreciate the skills of seapersons who manage the displacement monohulls shall rejoice with a return of this masted craft.
    The excitement of these vessels is irreplaceable!