Attention billionaires, it’s America’s Cup time again. Time to show off just how far sailboat design has been corrupted since the days of the lovely USA 76 (shown here giving paying passengers a true “bucket list” ride on San Francisco Bay).
Since 1851, when the schooner America won a race around the English Isle of Wright, thus claiming the trophy and renaming it “America’s Cup,” controversy has floated around virtually every race. The brouhaha this year is over the dramatic change in design from 84-foot monohulls (like former contender USA 76) to 44-foot long, duel-hull catamarans with 132-foot tall masts sporting rigid “wing sails” as opposed to fluffy canvas ones. Catamarans, fitted with extremely tall masts and heavy wing sails can capsize.
The 2013 America’s Cup final races begin in San Francisco Bay from Sept. 10-21 and will be televised internationally.
Photograph of USA 76 by theleestudio.