Racing success on an America's Cup Twelve Meter Yacht depends on the perfection of many factors. We hear speculation about the dominant role of either design, skipper, sails or crew. Such an argument is useless because the various orders of merit unite as the links of a chain toward victory or defeat. In 1974 COURAGEOUS was the fastest Twelve Meter at Newport. Her sails became excellent. Her skipper was uniquely talented. Her crew was trained to a high point. She still could have lost selection, but the other necessary links of the chain were present both for the "sudden death" win over INTREPID on September 2nd and for the Cup Race victories over SOUTHERN CROSS.
Participation in an America's Cup campaign has no composite parallel. The boat is doctored like a missile readying for blast-off. The crew is similar to a football team girding for the ultimate test. The designer functions as scientist, engineer and practical expediter. The skipper is both Father and race driver in the same sense as an automobile racer. The "handlers" from the tender, boatyard and house are as important as the handlers present around a prize fighter.
A frantic three ring circus ensues toward developing perfection which by definition cannot be frantic. There is never enough time, but the calendar turns and the boats race during the period of development. One witnesses parallel contributions of strength, finesse, logic, endurance and some other things generally grouped under the category of "luck."
Technical and human aspects combine to a most absorbing season that is only really good if you win.