'A Fine Mess'

The editorial "A Fine Mess" (Dec. 5) laments the choice of J-boats over 12-meters for the next America's Cup competition. Unfortunately, this editorial perpetuates the myth that 12s are fast and efficient yachts. The 12-meter rule with its weighting of sail area, waterline length, displacement, chain girth and other dimensions severely restricts the designs, resulting in overweight, under-canvased day-sailors. In 12-meter campaigns, millions are spent on breakthroughs that are meaningless outside 12-meter competition. The developments that find general application (sail and materials technology, for example) would be produced under any design rule. J-boats, restricted only in length, will provide the speed, excitement and innovation that the America's Cup deserves. The 12s, not the Js, are the nostalgic choice.

LARS ROSENBLAD

Long Beach

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