Ken Read's top 4 highlights from the ACWS Gothenburg


Observing the Speed Run

On Saturday afternoon after everyone had finished racing the America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, the crews agreed to do what is called a ‘speed run’ after they had been debriefed and got changed. The event was as much for spectators and fun as anything.

The crews hopped back on their boats post race debriefs and did the speed run down a 200 meter-wide channel right next to the peninsula where the World Series event was being staged, sailing very close to the shore. There were of thousands of people lining the shores and loving it. It was absolutely spectacular.

It’s the sort of thing that these events need to do more of as the America's Cup moves into the mainstream. It would have been easy for the teams to say it was too hard, but they did it and showed the supporting crowd what these boats can really do. I think it is great for the America’s Cup and its great for sailing. It was my highlight of the weekend.


Watching the stadium sailing

The America’s Cup is evolving to the point where the sailors don’t mind when there is a rock island in the middle of the racecourse! (The course in Gothenburg was tiny and dotted with many rocks, which meant teams couldn’t always play the weather as they had real, rock hard obstacles to dodge.)

We have come a long way as that is a big change in the general mentality in sailing  – it means that the stadium sailing concept has evolved to the point that the sailors have bought into it and we seem to have a formula that is engaging people. I think that is exciting for the future of the America's Cup and what we might be able to achieve as a sport.


Working hard on the TV coverage

From a personal standpoint, I am at these events primarily to commentate for the world feed and I think (and hope!) that the overall TV show is getting better…. It's hard to do something like this as you just start to get decent at it but then you take a month and a half off and when you come back you feel like you’ve started from scratch again. Despite beginning to get into our stride a bit, we do have to work harder at remembering where we left off when we start up again.

On the TV side of things in general, I do find it hard that people are criticising the America’s Cup TV programming as broadcasters are taking it very seriously. Lets be honest, there are always going to be ways  ​that programmes like this​ can improve and do better​. And what people have to understand is that  fundamentally TV ​programming ​is not free to create and produce​. There are rights restrictions all over the world, different rules in different countries. I wish everyone could just pull up the show on their 65 inch flat screen live but in some places that unfortunately isn't a reality.

​I believe that this is the best TV ​production ​that sailing has ever seen, especially with the on board cameras.​  Perfect? no. Really well put together? yes.​


Seeing the America's Cup teams develop

Watching the America’s Cup teams learn how to sail better in tight spots is interesting. There is certainly some learning and developing to be done – look at the near misses between boats or the grounding when Team NZ hit a buoy being towed out to the start and had to be towed back in and have some repairs done before racing. It has become an important part of all this – it’s not just the racing; you have to get your boat out (and back) from the racecourse in one piece with a wing up in the air at all times. Hitting the bottom didn't affect Team New Zealand, who went on to win the ACWS in Gothenburg, but still, it's a good learning for the teams that the simple things like getting out to the course and back isn't to be undersold.

As stadium sailing develops further this is going to be an interesting part of the whole process. It is a lesson for all trying to put a winning America’s Cup campaign together too – no room for errors anywhere whether actually racing or not. It's the little things that always become the deciding factor.