What I love about the way the AC has gone is the accelerated "trickle down" of technology. I am convinced that w/o the AC driving foiling technological and design improvements then we would not be seeing foiling beach boats like the Phantom 18, the Stunt (or S)14, the F101 tri, and quite a few others. We are seeing foiling Vendee Globe boats, and several smaller keel boats with lifting foils. Had they stayed with the IACC boats, foiling would be years behind.
Agreed. People have been tinkering with foiling for decades (Jake waves at Dave Carlson who's grinning). The modern era of foiling just wouldn't have happened without the AC pushing the limits and widening the performance window. It's still a pretty narrow window, in my opinion, but getting better. I don't think it will be the end-all - just another unpreventable splintering of our fleets as people search for excitement in an ever evolving technical world with ever shortening attention spans.