Sunday, June 5, 2016

The yachts of America’s Cup are faster and weirder than ever

When I think of yachts, there are billowing white sails helmed by a steady skipper from the stern, smart deck shoes, and Hemingway’s macho protagonists who toil under harsh conditions in briny sea air as they muse, "A man is never lost at sea."

My vision stands in sharp contrast to the current state of elite sailing at the America’s Cup. The 165-year-old contest is yachting on the next level, a cross between X Games adrenaline and a Formula One face-off. Much like modern day motorsports, sailing is a sport steeped in science.

I recently had an up-close view of the Cup’s yachts, among the most technically advanced in the world, in New York City. From the vantage point of Battery Park in lower Manhattan, I watched Team Oracle USA’s crew,...

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