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Saturday, June 10, 2017

AC35 and The Big Flop

I was determined not to write about the AC35 this week but I feel I must make an observation about the big talking point that occurred this past week.

Winds in the Great Sound were up at 21knts and there were white caps. The race was on so it made compelling watching as there was no room for error. The captains were on their game as they handled their spirited boats. Remember these boats potentially can get up to four times the wind speed.

I am very familiar with Great Sound sailing. Conditions can be extremely volatile in that relatively small enclosed body of water. During an all out hurricane it becomes like a boiling pot of water as the waves can get up to quite challenging proportions.

The day was going fine with race after race elapsing the course in great time. For all of us who watched it was the start of the fourth race of the day, Emirates vs Land Rover BAR. The boats approached the start with Land Rover ahead when suddenly a freak gust struck Emirates and she appeared to rear up as though on her way over backwards but skillful handling caused her to change her mind but instead she dug  her head down deep into the trough and just came to a dead stop. It was sort of like watching a horse in a jumping event suddenly refuse to jump the hurdle, instead digging its forelegs into the dirt sending its rider flying.

It happened so fast that no one saw the captain and the navigator and one of the grinding crew go flying but there they were, in the drink. The good news was that none of the crew suffered any physical harm that was obvious, but they must have suffered shock, as did all who watched. It seemed to me to be one of the worst types of dunking which looked like it destroyed the boat.

As someone said it was a real shame and I'm sure no one wanted to see that happen, but it certainly did make for good television. I didn't have to include that in this blog as it has been widely reported, as have other exciting incidents.

The reason I decided to return to AC35 was because on hand to witness it was a very special visitor who, it is believed arrived on a private jet. Normally, during a six week period Bermuda is not visited by a great number of private jets but over this racing six week period some 250 private jets will fly in and out. What a difference.

The thing about Spain's King Juan Carlos I (Retired) is that is was his country that originally discovered Bermuda. One of Spain's explorers, Juan de Bermudez, from Cartagena first came upon the uninhabited island back around 1509. He apparently did not remain there that long, but in the custom of Spaniards he left Bermuda some jamon in the form of live pigs. He claimed the island for Spain but could never find it again. Consequently Spain renounced its right to the island.

I suspect that the retired king must surely think what a mistake that was. He certainly saw it at its best. In fact most people living there were seeing it at its finest. It's not everyday we have AC racing on the Great Sound.

If the king should ask Britain to return Bermuda to Spain I say let them have it. Bermudians, under Spanish rule your lives will take a turn towards continuous excitement because here in Spain we live for the fiesta.

However, some of Spain's fiestas might take a bit of getting used to, but try them, you'll like 'em.

Trust me!

Incidentally, Emirates and Land Rover BAR did resume their race two days later and Emirates handily beat Land Rover BAR. That just might have been a matter of winning their pride back.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

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