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RC44 Class: Ha ha ha ha ha!

MORGES, SUI – Oh, this is delicious. This afternoon, the RC44 Class Association issued a 1,100-word release headlined, "RC44 crews cross fingers for a single-hulled 36th America's Cup." Oh boy. If ever there were a time for an emoji, it's now. The ROFLMAO one. We get that monohull sailors hope that the America's Cup goes back to monohulls after three editions in multihulls. But the irony of this missive is just too much.

The RC44 class, of course, was founded and co-designed by Sir Russell Coutts, the five-time America's Cup winner who took one on the chin last month in Bermuda from Emirates Team New Zealand and its CEO, the feisty Grant Dalton.

Coutts and Dalton have been rivals for years. It's probably not too strong to call them arch enemies. They do not like each other and have never been shy about saying so.

The RC44 class is loaded with guys who've sailed in the America's Cup. If the class is somehow hintinng that it would like to become the class used in AC36, forget it. There's no way on God's green earth, especially in the land of the long white cloud, that Dalts & Co. would pick anything with the initials "RC."

If they're merely hoping for more jobs in the America's Cup, well, OK, but it's still a bit of a whiny way to approach that. Why not just wait until ETNZ and Challenger of Record Luna Rossa announce the protocol, and with it a class of boat, and then start peppering the teams that emerge?

That announcement could come any day now, but then SI believes it is more likely to be a couple more months. There is widespread speculation, and certainly the hope of most traditionalists, that the AC will go back to monohulls.

If anything, it would be radical if the AC were to use the new foiling-assisted Volvo Ocean Race boats that will make their debut in 2019. Those boats will be able to be transformed into a Vendee Globe-compliant Imoca 60. Or so VOR CEO Mark Turner announced last week.

Dalton himself said that at the final AC35 presser in Bermuda that the sport is too fractured and needs to be brought together, and in the same breath he mentioned the VOR, Vendee, and even World Sailing. Could those VOR/Vendee boats be converted for use in AC36? And then maybe also used, in some configuration, for an offshore Olympic event that is being bandied about by World Sailing? Hmmm....

At SI we think it's more likely that the world's major religions will all start praying to the same prophets – in other words about as likely as Sir Russell Coutts heading up the AC36 organizing committee in NZL, or becoming the next Queen of England. But then we never expected to hear the class that RC invented go public with their opposition to his AC multihull vision.

RC44s racing in Porto Cervo, Sardinia last week. If they had their way, it would back to the future for AC36. Photo: Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio.

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