Thursday, June 28, 2007

Layday Bloody Layday



I figure the whole Rule 31.6 protest about being able to lower a mainsail to the deck "without the necessity of a crew member going aloft" was all about Emirates Team New Zealand seeing a man aloft on Alinghi when they dropped their sail at the request of the measurement committee and—without really expecting there was any serious skullduggery—decided to lodge a protest, because, why give Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth an unfettered night's sleep?

And why not take a shot, just in case there's something there? And why not give the media something to write about other than that race you just lost?

There's been way to much ink on this already, and as of Thursday evening we've just been told that the jury will issue a written account of their split decision, dismissing the protest, on Friday morning. Those of you who care have access to plenty of analysis (try BOB, Tom Ehman's BMW Oracle Blog, which tells you what you need to know about the major nonevent of post-Race 4.

Images in the House of the Cup

I wrote a while back about disappearing images of Cup heroes at the House of the Cup here inside the racing venue. More recently, I noted the return of the portrait of three-time winning Cup skipper Russell Coutts, the man that the rumor mill keeps linking to Larry Ellison's next campaign, but you already know that.

After writing about the return of the Coutts pic, I found this note from Michel Hodara, AC 32 COO, among the blog comments, and I think it is important to move it up and share it here, because it tells a story that is different from the one I told.

Dear Kimball

You deserve to know the whole story about the portraits of the House of the Cup.

Few years ago, Louis Vuitton commissioned a series of those unique "polaroid" type portraits.

LV then loaned them to us—organizers of the 32nd America's Cup—to be displayed in the House of the Cup.

We commissioned as well another series with the personalities of the 32AC.

In the LV lot, there never was a picture of Paul Cayard, explaining why not displayed.

For Russell, the picture was displayed until January, when LV asked us the portrait to be featured in Paris at the America's Cup exhibition in the LV Store on Champs-Elysées.

Once this exhibition finished, LV forgot to return the portraits to the House of the Cup.

When the portrait was finally returned, it was immediately put back in place.

As you can see, no bad intentions.


Michel Hodara
JUNE 28, 2007

An Absorbing Interest

I think maybe it was one of those conspiracy things. Bob Fisher writes a book that costs so much, not every bloke can see his way clear to buying one, but the cagey Fish brings it out right before the America's Cup, and so we have Louis Vuitton's Bruno Troublé buying scads of the things to be given out as special gifts and even given as prizes to the Luna Rossa guys that lost out in the Louis Vuitton Cup to the Kiwis. I think maybe I'll hit up Fish for a loan. For the rest of you, here, below is what I wrote by way of a mini book review in the July issue of SAIL. Mini, yes, but enough to say what needs to be said:

If you're going to write yet another history of the America's Cup, you're going to have to justify it. When I took in hand An Absorbing Interest by one Bob Fisher, a sailor of accomplishment and a journalist/author known as "the Fish" in every sailing haunt and worthy watering hole on the Blue Planet, I measured the book by what it told me that I didn't already know. It measured up. I speak as someone whose personal history of the Cup covers 17 percent of the total.

At 425,000 words in two volumes, richly illustrated but to a degree ("It's meant to be read; if I had wanted a coffee-table book I'd have put legs on it"), An Absorbing Interest is aimed frankly at the absorbed. You know who you are. The value will remain long after the price is forgotten.

An Absorbing Interest: The America's Cup. A History 1851–2003
By Bob Fisher
John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

News point

Karol Jablonski, the Pole who did well as helmsman for Desafio Español, has been named skipper of United Internet Team Germany. Jablonski won the Admiral’s Cup in 1993 and the Mumm 18 World Championship in 1999. He became Match Race World Champion in 2001, currently ranks fifth place in the World Match Race Ranking, and took the Spanish team as far as the semis in America's Cup 32.

So, on Friday, we sail Race 5 and break the tie. Emirates Team Boss Grant Dalton is still making noises that the protest is not quite over, so we'll have to see if the measurement committee has any special requests to make at the end of the race—Kimball