From the Boathouse: Did Team USA just get more American?


Big announcements for the 35th America's Cup races were released this week about new racing protocols and the downsizing of the boats' overall lengths for the 2017 races.

You might recall from my columns during last year's races that my show manager, Brenda Barnes, and I were reporting during every race from the media center located at America's Cup Park on Pier 27 overlooking beautiful San Francisco Bay.

The race did leave many people questioning some of the rules, such as the short time limit to finish a race. However, I saw two major concerns that had to be solved early enough for the teams to prepare for the upcoming qualification races.

First on my list were the America's Cup boats and whether they were so big and powerful that it was too difficult and dangerous for the crew. Additionally, were the boats so costly that many teams simply could not afford them and support crews?

Then I received countless emails with people asking me how Oracle Team USA could win for the USA while the race crews were all foreigners. Good question, and this week's announcements have started to address my issues and a host of other protocols whose details I will not bore you with.

You will see the boat size change from the AC72 to a new AC62 that will remain a foiling, wing sail catamaran with only eight crew members. We will see how the new AC62 will perform, which is still a big leap up from the AC45s that are sailed in the qualifying races.

The next major rule, and one that may set a precedent for professional sports, is a new crew nationality rule. For the actual America's Cup race on the AC62s, the crew must comprise at least 25% of nationals of the team's country. The law of unintended consequences dictates that we can expect few professional sailors from New Zealand to become citizens of the USA in the next few years.

Jimmy Spithill, who is the winning skipper for Oracle Team USA, says, "We're going to have our work cut out for us, that's for sure," as he begins preparation for the upcoming series.

The entry period to find a yacht club sponsor and host your own America's Cup team lasts from June 9 to Aug. 8. See you at the next cup races.

Tip of the week is what show to attend this weekend.

The Antique & Classic Wooden Boat Show is Saturday and Sunday at the Lake Arrowhead Village. This show is a very nice day trip that is only a couple of hours away, a mile high up in our local mountains.

Saturday, you can visit the 1st annual BYC Wooden Boat Festival at Newport Beach's Balboa Yacht Club. Oh, wait, how can one have a "1st annual" in the title of their event? Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn't the title be "Inaugural BYC Wooden Boat Festival" or just "BYC Wooden Boat Festival" until next year, when one can proclaim the "2nd annual"?

I digress.

For those who venture under the waves, the Scuba Show is happening this weekend at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. The 27th annual show is known as the largest diving show in the nation.

If your travels are taking you across the globe this weekend, then you can visit these events. The Progressive Insurance Chicago In-Water Boat Show will be held in Chicago, of all places. The show is located at the 31st Street Harbor at Burnham Park.

Jump across the pond and you can attend the Portsmouth Multihull Show in Gosport, Hampshire, England, or you can travel a little further to the Indonesia Yacht Forum in Jakarta. Lastly, the Volga Boat Show will conclude June 7, and this show is held at the Yacht Club Friendship in Tolyatti, Russia. I think the entrance admission to the Volga show includes a shot of Stolichnaya, commonly known as Stoli Vodka — "Na zdorovje," as the Russians say.

Lastly, what is my prediction for the boating weather this weekend? I think that we will have similar coastal weather as last weekend, and the seas will be a mixed set with 2 feet from the west and south.

As always, just keep an eye to the weather for any changes. Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsibly and look behind you before you turn the wheel at the helm.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network. See times at, and

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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