The 34th America’s Cup is revolutionary, but like many first time defenders in the past, the Golden Gate Yacht Club and the various arms of management have embarked on a revisionist agenda to re-write the sport of sailing’s histories.
One of the myths that Russell Coutts and other visionaries driving the ‘New Deal’ America’s Cup are keen to challenge is the idea that the America’s Cup is not accessible to young sailors. When Coutts announced his grand plan, including the development of a ‘Youth America’s Cup‘ it probably wasn’t as obvious that young sailors would have more access to the Cup than ever before thanks to the athletic nature of the boats being used.
Despite more young sailors than ever being represented at the big-game level, organisers have pushed ahead with the Youth America’s Cup. Youth sailors who can ‘borrow’ an AC45 from a competing team get an automatic entry, but sailors who want to charter one of ORACLE Racing’s spare cats had to challenge for the right to be on the start line later in 2013.
Keep in mind that this event is about giving young sailors a career path to the big event. This is a way to promote the future of the sport – to encourage new nation into America’s Cup style sailing, to show the big teams who the talent is.
So how much does it cost?
One of the American Youth America’s Cup teams is currently trying to raise half a million dollars.
It says, that the money is to:
…cover the entry fee (AC45 boat charter), insurance, travel and living expenses while training and racing, and coaching expenses.
$500,000 for four days racing in one place!
Perhaps the idea is to train young sailors about the bubble that is the America’s Cup where real-world economics don’t apply. Rather than give teams an event that is commercially viable, the Youth America’s Cup will continue to force sailors to be dependent upon rich benefactors.
In the end, the selection process chose teams from nations where the America’s Cup is well established. Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Switzerland are places where accessibility to the America’s Cup is not that hard if you know the right people and you have a bit of talent. Missing from the competition will be the flags of China, Korea, Oman, Brazil, Russia and a host of other places where the sport’s future is.
There is one winner out of the Youth America’s Cup though – the sponsorship savvy – Red Bull.