It’s the America’s Cup or the 2017 version of David against Goliath? “There are five teams that want us dead now, not one, only because we’ve ruined their little parade”, ETNZL commander Grant Dalton couldn’t have been more direct. Emirates Team New Zealand will fight in Bermuda against the five powerful teams that shares the same vision: one defender, Oracle Team USA, and four challengers, Land Rover BAR, Artemis Racing, Softbank Team Japan and Groupama Team France.

The article published today on the New York Times website it’s a worth reading to understand what we are going to watch next Spring in Bermuda’s Great Sound. En epic battle between two totally different visions about the future of the oldest Trophy in the sport. “The danger of being a lone wolf, of course, is that there’s a lot of people, not just Oracle, that don’t want us to win this time,” Dalton said. “One would hope we don’t get sent to the bottom of the ocean by a boat — ‘Oh, that was a mistake; sorry about that’ — one day with no form of redress in the rule. And that’s a very big concern for us”.

Team NZL AC50 training in Auckland. Photo Bowers/ETNZL

Team NZL AC50 training in Auckland. Photo Bowers/ETNZL

Can Team NZL win the Cup? Indipendent observer think that the “cyclists” move, with four grinding-cyclists on board, could give the kiwis more power, probably a 15-20% more than a traditional grinding system, to adjust the foils and the wing in the 20/22 minutes breathtaking races. In will be enough?

Juan Kouyoumdjian, a design guru and Volvo Ocean Race three times winner, declared to Fare Vela that “The pedals idea was excellent and the kiwis could take a real advantage from that”. Here the interview (in italian).

Thanks to the kiwis we will have a real battle out there and… a really hard one to call…


Luca Devoti’s opinion:

Grant Dalton voices his concerns. One Oracle crew flies out of the cat while training and is alive by miracle. Spithill uses that fall to create some sort of myth about the danger as if risking life at sea was something to be proud of… and in our opinion forgetting about his duties as a captain and ignoring all legal liability issues connected to his role…

All sailing future is in the hands of the kiwis, they have been pragmatic and tough, they have cleaned house and restarted. A mix of pragmatic approach, tecnology and common sense and they are far ahead in the game. A good well trained grinder can produce 300 watts for 20 minutes, a 100 kgs cyclist probably twice as much, so kiwis work with 2400 watts and others with 1200. Not only, the aero drag of the bikers is far less than the one of the normal grinders, to me the only surprise is that such a clear and simple idea has come about only with TNZL. Coutts just looking at the event aspect, has taken away from Oracles day by day a real innovator and a free thinker.

And so, if BAR or Oracle or Artemis win that will trigle down all the way to olympic and youth sailing, but if the kiwis will clean sweep, common sense will prevail and we will be back with a sport were sailors deserve that name and are not human engines powering rotary pumps, risking their lives in a totally unacceptable way, completely disconnected from the action of the craft… and Andrew Simpson is a name for all of us to remember.

The America’s Cup will again determine the future of sailing, even if we don’t like this carnaval racing we will have to really look and wait to see who will be the winner in the Great Sound…