The America’s Cup and its effect on sailing at Belfast Lough, 1897

Did the America's Cup destroy Belfast Lough Sailing

I don’t follow racing by choice – I’m interested in the technology but can’t bring myself to care who wins. But even I know that the America’s Cup seems to be endlessly controversial and often seriously troubled.

And in Belfast in the last years of the 19th century it may have done more harm than good, or so this piece argues. And there’s some nice news about a restoration of a grand old boat too…

My thanks go to boat designer and home boat building guru and sailmaker Mik Storer.

Here’s the publisher’s introduction:

‘The 35th America’s Cup series will be staged in Bermuda in 2017, and already the first team – Ben Ainslie Racing – is starting to settle into its base in the islands at the beginning of a developing process which, it is hoped by locals, will contribute significantly and sustainably to an economy which is by no means as prosperous as the popular image of Bermuda would suggest.

‘Yet past experience of being involved with the America’s Cup circus suggests that while there are definitely immediate and highly visible benefits, they’re ephemeral and are more than offset by a hidden but very definite downside. And the pace of the event at its peak is at such a level that almost immediately afterwards there’s a sense of anti-climax and recrimination which can poison a sailing centre’s atmosphere for years. W M Nixon considers how sailing’s most stellar event affected Irish sailing, looks at a more recent continuation of this story, and then takes up the tale of an old boat whose class’s health suffered collateral damage from America’s Cup fallout.’

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