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Living in the Scuttlebutt World

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
There was a recent story which cited the threat of sea level rise to the city of Newport, RI. The message was to gather the agencies as solutions require collaboration, but it all felt like a hard sell. How do you spend money to fix something hard to see when other issues are always more pressing?

It reminded me when we found our house wasn’t sufficiently tied to its foundation, and that a decent California earthquake could do some real damage. While the house had already stood for 70+ years, and the significant cost to repair would offer no visual joy, I wrote the check. However, I sense that some mansions will need to fall into the water for Newport to act. Hope I’m wrong.

Recognizing problems is not always easy, as like the rising sea level, change often occurs slowly, but I remain hopeful about the response in the sport. Whether it is about getting more sailors offshore, providing new opportunity at the elite end of the sport, or recognizing the need for a class to secure its future, these are the kinds of decisions that keep the house from rattling off the foundation.

As I contend that the focus of windward-leeward racing has done the sport no favors, it is pleasing to see  support behind events like the Worrell 1000, Race to Alaska, and the Clipper Race. These competitions offer the kind of experiences and memories that far outlive doing laps around sausage courses. Keep it up!

As this is an America’s Cup year, it is always intriguing to see the new boats getting launched, even if they look like nothing we’d ever sail on. With New Zealand and the Italians now showing their hand, the assessments begin on the ideas for how an AC75 can swiftly sail through the turbulent waters of Barcelona, Spain. Much more to come.

However, it is notable that following the Kiwi defense in 2021, a study found that spectator boats can do harm to the environment. It remains a mystery to me why people would watch these races on anything other than the broadcast, as the speeds and course size extend well beyond any reasonable viewing. Maybe Greenpeace will protest the event as they did at the 2002 America’s Cup. You heard it here first!

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