These are incredible machines. The men and women who sail them have my respect. But, I would be much more likely to follow the AC races if they were sailed in 45-foot production monohulls with symmetrical spinnakers, without any of those foils or other exotica. Then I could identify with the racers as they go around a course. As it is, I'll probably just keep ignoring the whole thing.
I know what you mean, Christian, but I enjoyed watching the 12-meter racing. It was something I could identify with, vicariously. Tacking, gybing, fancy spinnaker sets, crews sitting on the rail quietly discussing tactics, playing the wind shifts and currents. Now it’s all balls-to-the-wall drag racing, with the sheets permanently hauled in. Boring.
I have good memories of the 12-meters. In 1986, when I was living in San Francisco, I drove down to the St. Francis YC at night and snuck aboard Tom Blackaller’s US-61 (the one with fore and aft rudders). I spent an hour poking around and admiring the exotic gear, then snuck away. Nine years later, I was a lowly GS-13 at the State Department in Washington. When the Kiwis won the Cup in San Diego, I called the NZ Embassy and cadged an invitation to their big party. It was like Bedlam, the beer flowing in torrents. Chatted with Russell Coutts and Peter Blake. Then they wheeled in the AC and Louis Vuitton Cup. Both were filthy, so I added my dirty fingerprints to all the rest. When I left, I was handed an apple! It was great.