American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson thinks the minimum wind limits for the upcoming summer of racing should be raised, to create a superior spectacle.
The minimum wind threshold came under the spotlight during the first contest of the aborted Prada Christmas race on December 20, with Team New Zealand unable to finish within the time limit as the breeze died.
The final race of the America's Cup World Series also provided a curious spectacle, with Te Rehutai and Luna Rossa spending prolonged periods off their foils in the lighter air, before Team New Zealand charged ahead as the Italians remained becalmed.
The wind limits for the Prada Cup round robin and semifinal stage are 6.5 to 21 knots. For the final the upper limit extends to 23 knots.
Hutchinson feels that raising the minimum wind limit – to 7.5 or eight knots – would be a win-win scenario.
"There was a lot of discussion from the defender and they worked really hard to make sure that course C was a course for the America's Cup and a lot of that was under the context of 'let's do something that is a good show for people'", Hutchinson told the Herald.
"If you raise the wind limit a knot – or a knot and a half – from the standard right now, the only thing you are going to do is guarantee better racing.
"[With the] effort and discussion that has been put into having a good event, just let common sense dictate it. It's not that hard."
Auckland's breeze typically drops as the summer progresses, which all four syndicates have planned for. But Hutchinson wouldn't want to see a repeat of the scenes in the final World Series race.
"[That day] was a steady 8-9 knots, [but] we still saw a race decided by two boats that fell in the water and the boat that was behind got the breeze first and sailed around the boat that was in front," said Hutchinson. "Is that really the America's Cup?"
Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling says the wind limits have been a "talking point" between the teams for a long time but the parameters provide the right balance, saying the Christmas Race with Ineos Team UK showed what is possible in a light breeze, before it was abandoned.
"We were just about on the wind limit when we started the race and the boats could foil fine," said Burling. "We got round the first three legs fine and then the breeze completely died out and we obviously didn't make the time limit to finish.
"But if the wind limit was higher, we would have sat there tied to a chase boat all day and I don't think that's really what people are wanting to see as yacht racing."
With the new AC75s, leads can evaporate rapidly as the breeze diminishes but Burling feels that is nothing new.
"The gains and losses in the lighter end of the spectrum are pretty massive but it's always [like that]," said Burling. "In Bermuda it was exactly the same; if you are good in the lighter air you can go round the course over double the speed of someone else. If you are not, you really struggle."
Hutchinson would support an adjustment of the wind limits but isn't holding his breath.
"Our boat is set up and designed to perform across the parameters that were set," said Hutchinson, who has four Cup campaigns behind him. "[But] if I was thinking about having a better event, I would raise them."
Any change would have to be agreed between the defender and the challenger of record (Luna Rossa) and Burling confirmed alterations were not on the agenda.
"For us it is something that has been set in stone for quite a long time so I can't see it changing," said the 30-year-old.
The American Magic sailing team had a three-day break over the festive period before resuming a full operational schedule on December 28. Patriot was out on the Hauraki Gulf on Wednesday afternoon, her fifth day of sailing since the Christmas break.
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