The America's Cup: Auld Mug's Game

Auld Mug's Game Winning the Cup depends on years of high-tech teamwork

On a wild strip of sea called Gage Roads, 22 sailors perform exhausting, dangerous and precisely choreographed routines. Pitching through the lumpy seas, skippers lean into the wind trying to see if the opponent is tacking. Sewer men, who work below-decks, clamber about readying sails; tacticians rinse salt from their eyes to scan computer screens. Muscle-bound grinders, crewmen who trim sails with highly geared winches called coffee grinders, grunt and puff against tons of load.

For decades the America's Cup was a millionaire's mannered contest played on wood decks in the light winds off Newport, R.I. But when a wicked winged...

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