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America's Cup Fever: An Inside Look at 50…
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America's Cup Fever: An Inside Look at 50 Years of America's Cup… (edition 1980)

by Bob Bavier, Rod Stephens (Foreword)

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141683,257 (3.75)1
Member:ABVR
Title:America's Cup Fever: An Inside Look at 50 Years of America's Cup Competition
Authors:Bob Bavier
Other authors:Rod Stephens (Foreword)
Info:Encore Editions (1980), Hardcover
Collections:Your library, Read
Rating:***1/2
Tags:yacht racing, America's Cup, @Living Room, read in 2013, maritime history, boats

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The America's Cup: An insider's view--1930 to the present by Robert Newton Bavier

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When it comes to the high-powered world of competing for sailing’s most prestigious trophy, Bob Bavier has been there and done that. He skippered Constellation to a 4-0 victory in the best-of-seven series of races in 1964, and was skipper of Courageous (the eventual winner) through the early stages of her campaign to be selected as defender of the Cup in 1974. He served on the selection committee that chose the defender in 1977 and 1980, and observed the Cup races as a representative of the North American Yacht Racing Union and the International Yacht Racing Union. He knew the great skippers and designers – American, British, French, and Australian – of the post-WWII era, several of whom (like Bavier’s father) had raced for the Cup aboard the magnificent J-class yachts of the 1930s.

America’s Cup Fever is Bavier’s episodic, highly personal commentary on the America’s Cup competition as he experienced it first-hand. It isn’t -- and doesn’t pretend to be -- a comprehensive history, and that’s fine: other people (including three-time winner Dennis Conner) have written excellent histories. Bavier writes, instead, about the people he knew, the races he witnessed, and (above all) the aspects of America’s Cup competition that intrigue him. There are sketches of both skippers and designers -- not just biographical summaries, but assessments of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities -- and a heartbreakingly honest description of what it’s like for a skipper to be sacked in the middle of a campaign (as Bavier was in 1974). There are analyses of three famous protests over infractions of the yacht-racing rules, race-by-race narratives of the Cup competitions the United States nearly lost (1920, 1934 and 1970), and -- since Bavier is a helmsman, not a designer, at heart -- a lot about tactics and relatively little about technology.

All of this is fascinating if you’re a fan of high-powered yacht racing in general, or the America’s Cup in particular, and Bavier (to his credit) recognizes that his audience is going to consist almost exclusively of people who are, themselves, sailors. There are no digressions to explain the difference between a floater and a reaching spinnaker or diagram the meaning of “safe leeward,” and no glossary to help neophyte readers tell port from starboard or a topping lift from a throat halyard. Bavier simply assumes that you know how a sailboat (and a sailboat race) works, and goes straight to the good stuff. Reading the book is, as a result, like having a long dinner with the smartest guy at the regatta . . . and finding him warm, charming, and funny as well as incredibly knowledgeable. ( )
  ABVR | Jan 16, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Newton Bavierprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stephens, RodForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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America's Cup Fever was the title of the 1980 and 1983 editions; The America's Cup: An Insider's View was published in 1986 and was revised to reflect the loss of the Cup to Australia in 1983.
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