Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brad Butterworth is the world's canniest sailor

A picture from Sail-World by Richard Gladwell, in the first race
of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series final, won by Alinghi (SUI).

All of us have harassed Alinghi (SUI), sailing team of Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) of the Cold Water Nation, Home of the Swiss.

We have slammed the Prince Himself, Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), founder and chief of Alinghi, the Ugliest Holder of the Cup in History.

We have slammed the noisemakers of Alinghi, an assortment of aristocrats, gentry, and upperclassmen, most of whom act like sophomores.

We have alternately harassed and respected professionals like Brad Butterworth, skipper of Alinghi, originally from Te Awamutu, in the Waikato, which is a great place to be from, in the Great Nation of New Zealand.

At this remarkable stage in the proceedings of the fabulous Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, we are obliged to say two things: (1) Brad Butterworth is the world's canniest sailor (we have said this before) who has routinely outfoxed opponents on the water, in the media room, online, and behind the stage, in one America's Cup after another.

You have to hand it to Brad. He's a power figure. 

After all, he secured the Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ)'s best boat, NZL-92, for the LVPS final. That took brains and chutzpah.

You also have to say: (2) Brad knows how to sail. He knows how to sail in Valencia, and he assuredly knows how to sail on the Hauraki Gulf. He won his race today. He has three, or more, to go. Can he do it? Of course, he can. Can ETNZ? Yes, they can.

Are we amazed about this?

No. Very few sailors have achieved what Brad Butterworth has, perhaps ever. He is unique.

So we invite critics and fans alike, whatever may happen between now and the end of the series, whether we like it or not, to congratulate this amazing sailor for his leadership, his persistence, his focus, his loyalty to his team, and his sailing savvy.

And while there are a lot of things that Kiwis and other fans are insane about, particularly when it comes to Brad, let us do this.

Let's give him a break for being the great sailor and great leader he is.

Cheers to Brad.