America’s Cup is Sport – Racing on the water re-invented

September 9, 2013

in innovation

Have you seen America’s Cup? If not you are missing out. I spent the weekend at the America’s Cup Village enjoying both the atmosphere and the on-the-water racing. Sunday was some of the most exciting racing/competition I’ve ever seen in any team sport. When the ETNZ lost the fourth race it was 8 seconds and they cruised across the line. The America’s Cup may not return to San Francisco and it may never again be in this format. Everyone in the crowd knew it and felt it was a once in a lifetime type experience. Events like these really don’t come along very often. It’s worth watching even better if you can get down to the village.

Afterwards I watched the races over on TV. For the first time there’s a sailing event that is made for TV. It’s hard to believe the production values that have gone into this event. Literally from setting the course, to the penalties, and on-boat cameras. The control room takes production to a completely new level setting a new bar for any sport.  While in the crowd half of us were trying to stream NBC or the America’s Cup app at the same time. Even that showed how technology is changing the experience.  Everyone was calling out details. Each time the boats went out of view – how close?, how close?. Being at the grassroots epicenter was a great experience and embeds the whole event in the larger than life proportions it represents.  They have come close to translating that to the small screen.

However the racing finally finishes up credit must be given to Larry Ellison and Oracle for designing an event that was impossible just a few years ago. While it might be seen as a big expensive exclusive party (sort of is) it brought both sailors and non-sailers out to the bay. It’s much more exciting than a Formula 1 race or Nascar. It’s also turning out to be about people and teams and perhaps less about the boat. That’s probably good for the future of AC.

It may be all over by next week. By then I hope the Kiwi’s will have it wrapped up. Still I hope that before they go and change all the rules again they reflect on the magic that they are part of.

  • Graeme Swan

    The event has been dogged by negative criticism, now those critics are having to eat their words and possibly a hat or two. It is spectacular not to mention nerve jangling.

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