Winging It: Oracle Team USA's Incredible Comeback to Defend the America's Cup (Anglais) Broché – 1 janvier 2014
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To say the 2013 event was confusing is an understatement, even considering that I had the good fortune to be as close to the event in San Francisco as one can get without actually being on a team. I was hoping that someone would write and publish a book about the event that could clarify what we were all seeing, without the guesswork that we were getting from the TV broadcasts, newspaper and most internet coverage, as well as the super-secretive "don't dare give anything away!" info that was doled out on the official news websites.
Winging It is definitely "that book."
It covers everything a fan, or even the casual observer, could want in an event-specific re-telling of a very complicated story, written in language that doesn't confuse with buzzwords or puzzling insider lingo - something which sailboat racing chronicles are far too often guilty.
Even though for much of the event I was right there, close enough to touch the boats while working as a photographer for a sailing website, Winging It explains it all in a way that - literally - gave me goosebumps in the opening paragraphs, not only providing new information on the 2013 event itself, but including some of the best historical references to earlier Defenses of the America's Cup I have ever read, and I've read lots of AC history. Since the book primarily deals with the 2013 Defense, the history section is limited to those previous America's Cup events that were germane to the 2013 event. In other words, a "this is what led to that" type of thing, which is a style of historical writing I've always enjoyed.
One huge advantage Winging It has over other books on the subject that will surely follow is that it was written by three people who have been closely involved in reporting on the America's Cup online for a number of years. Their work on a self-supporting America's Cup website called CupInfo.com is legendary amongst both avid and casual fans, as well as AC insiders. The style and substance at CupInfo.com has always been to report and not condemn, in the true spirit of neutral journalists, and that style is evident, and very welcome, in Winging It.
The politics, legal skirmishes and finger-pointing associated with the event are well-known, and in many instances over-reported. But the authors of Winging it skillfully, and wisely, avoid taking sides, allowing the reader to make their own decisions.
There are enough easily-understood and important graphs and charts to keep the tech-wonks happy, without being too technical. And, as mentioned, the concise AC "history-as-it-relates-to-2013" section is a bonus, filled with enough novel and well-researched tidbits to make the purchase worthwhile for that alone. The individual 2013 races themselves, including the prelude Louis Vuitton Cup events, are all presented in easy-to-understand, well-researched fashion, with plenty of interviews with designers, crews and insiders to give the narrative both drama and veracity.
My only disappointment is a minor and unavoidable one. Since Winging It is paperback, the original color photographs by official event photographers, including Gilles-Martin Raget and others, had to be reproduced in grey-scale, due to the difficulty of printing color on non-glossy paper. But even in black-and-white, they are still outstanding photos.
Until now, my all-time favorite book on the subject has been Upset, which detailed the 1983 America's Cup loss by Dennis Conner to the Australians. Winging It is definitely that book's equal in my estimation, and in many ways surpasses it. If there's anyone on your Christmas list who is even slightly interested in the 2013 America's Cup, this is THE gift to give. And if there are ardent AC fans on that list, giving it is an absolute no-brainer.
Readers hoping for an expose on Larry's dirty tricks will come away disappointed. The authors say Oracle's come-from-behind victory was mostly due to improving crew work and tactics, although fellow reviewers point the finger at the foils. Since reading the The Forty-Knot Sailboat: Introducing the Aerohydrofoil, I have a much better understanding of these boat mechanics, and would agree that foils possess a veritable power.
I recommend Winging It to anybody regardless of your expertise in sailing and the America's Cup. You will get a whole new understanding of the America's Cup, what led up to the 2013 race and especially details about Team USA's incredible come from behind defeat of New Zealand.