At the thought of yachts, the rolling white sails appear, which are guided by Hemingway’s words “A man is never lost at sea”. This vision is clearly far from the current contrast to elite sailing during the America’s Cup, which is an almost-200-years-old sailing competition that has taken this to a new level. Now, this competition is the adrenaline in X Games and the face-off is unlike that of Formula 1; just like modern motor sports, sailing as a sport has taken a step into the scientific world.
A well-oiled machinery
When Team Oracle USA was preparing the boat from the exit of Battery Park in Manhattan, this team was dressed in nylon, full of sponsor badges like a well-oiled machine, almost mathematically calculated in every move. The forty-five-foot catamaran AC 45 presented what was only hard lines and threatening high sails; a beast, ready to take on its contenders. The design of these boats is not only for a stylish look, they are also made to maximize the aerodynamics of the vessel, giving them power to jump on the water not unlike a group of festive barracudas.
In recent years, the sport has undergone a massive transformation, hugely thanks to the arrival of hydrofoils known as dagger boards. By reducing traction and engaging forces, these dagger boards lift the hulls of vessels from the water, increase speed and so the boat begins to skim on the surface and virtually fly riding on both waves and winds. It is almost unfair to classify these flying machines as boats when they go on full kareta, the speeds have increased since the dagger boards came in and there seems to be no signs of staying where they are now.
A sport for the rich
It is the mix of being on the border with the prehistoric heritage that has given the sailing its cultural knowledge, and New York is, above all, a special historical place in the sport with its giant skyscrapers. German sailors sailed as a pastime in the 17th century, at the same time as the first Germans reached New York’s port. From the very beginning, yachting was a sport only for the slightly richer people, if one belonged to a lower class, one simply couldn’t afford it. The exclusivity that was created was one of the things that made people attracted to the sport; in edition of The Lotus Magazine, the word yacht itself was described as a mix of German derivation and connected to the Norwegian word jaegt, a word that signaled the transport of a royalty or a person of distinct rank. There was an idea on how exclusive it was to even put their feet on such a boat, and rich men kept their heads high in the glow from the envy gaze. And nowadays, however this beloved sport is, one still has to confirm that in order to move forward, a considerable investment should be made; it’s much harder to own a boat than it is to buy a pair of sneakers.