(Cross-posted from Wetass Chronicles on Substack).
If there isn’t another COVID setback, the 36th America’s Cup will start tomorrow in New Zealand (tonight, really). I know a lot of sailors, and most non-sailors, couldn’t really care. And they might be right. Team New Zealand is the heavy favorite, and if all the pundits are correct, and TNZ has a meaningful speed advantage, then it won’t be a very exciting affair. That is simply the way of the Cup. The fastest boat almost always wins, so if there is a fastest boat, then there is not much drama or suspense.
But you never know until they actually line up and go sailing. So I am certain that the first pre-start, and the first 5 minutes of the first race will be very exciting. And I am definitely rooting for the Luna Rossa Challenge to come out and punch TNZ in the face. Then we’ll see.
For setup, here is commentator Nathan Outteridge previewing the showdown:
And if you want to go deeper, I highly recommend Shirley Robertson’s Sailing podcast. Here’s AC36 Preview Part 1, with Luna Rossa’s Francesco Bruni and TNZ’s Ray Davies. And Part 2, with Ken Read and Team UK’s Freddy Carr. You’ll learn just about everything you need to know.
Is all that enough to get you interested? No? You are still stuck back in the glory days of the 12-meters? Ok, I’ll throw you a bone. Here’s a bunch of rich, old, white guys frothing over the bygone class, with the help of Gary Jobson (I concede that the boats are, indeed, beautiful).
The Other Extreme Of Sailing:
A universe apart from the $150 million, high-tech, Formula One speed-demon cult of the America’s Cup is Liz Clark and her Cal 40, Swell. Clark has been voyaging the Pacific, mostly solo, for the past fifteen-plus years, in search of meaning, alternatives to the planet-wrecking consumerist lifestyle, and tasty waves. Lots and lots of tasty waves.
I just finished her book, Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage Of Awakening. I didn’t really have any expectations for the book, but it totally surprised me. In fact, I’m going to just come out and say that it is one of the best contemporary voyaging journals I have read.
Clark is just in her mid-20s when she sets out, yet she overcomes endless setbacks—weather, boat problems, problem men, injuries—with an unyielding persistence and a relentless desire to learn and grow that is both moving and inspiring. She combines insightful descriptions of sailing, the oceanscape, and weather, with a Moitessier-like journey of the inner soul. And pulls it off. Despite her constant self-doubt, she is clearly a remarkable human being. That’s all I’ll say. Read it and see if you agree. Here’s a teaser:
Moment of Zen: The Flying Ship
Wait? What? Here is an unedited photo, taken by a perplexed walker along the Cornish coast.
It is known as a “superior mirage,” and you can read about the effect and the photo here. Or you can skip the explanation and enjoy living in a world where enormous cargo ships float in the air.
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