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August 13, 2023

When it comes to satire, Grant Dalton and the Emirates Team New Zealand mob put Monty Python and Saturday Night Live in the shade. Their latest promotional effort – a media campaign trying to sell their instantly obsolete stock of AC40 foilers – packs more laughs than W.C. Fields and Eddie Murphy combined.

“Never before in our sport have private owners been direct beneficiaries of current America’s Cup technology,” quoth the sales pitch. Never before? Dunraven, Lipton, Sopwith, Vanderbilt, Packer, Baron Bich and Bond weren’t “private owners”?

“The AC40 is a new and thrilling One Design class,” says the new-born AC40 Association, that “marries technology with the fundamentals of sailing.”

Just so we understand those fundamentals we’re told that all sail and foil controls are driven by hydraulic systems powered by onboard batteries. Those, in turn are driven by onboard software for the foiling autopilot and altitude and pitch controls. Sounds just like “fundamental” sailing to me!

Any upgrades are to be provided by Emirates Team New Zealand and the exclusive builders, McConaghy Boats. There’s nothing like keeping things in the family.

But of course there’s no mention of price. In truth, I suspect Dalton & Co would be happy for you to just take one of these utterly useless boats off their hands before they dream up an even more extreme and expensive class for AC38.

And what a contrast this all makes to the 12 meters, which were sailed in the America’s Cup for almost 30 years. Many of the yachts from that era still provide splendid racing today, and will continue to do so for decades to come. Where will these surplus-to-requirement carbon hi-tech A40s be then?

– anarchist David