Friday, July 31, 2009

The Dumbing Down of America's Cup 33

Nobody has noticed this.

It’s been going on for a while now, no, really, for some time.

It’s not about the New York Courts.

It’s not about Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), the Prince of Alinghi, head of the America’s Cup sailing team of the cold water sailing club Société Nautique de Genève (SNG).

It’s not about His Excellency the Honorable Voicebox, Fred Meyer, Vice Commodore and Yammerer-in-Chief of SNG. (It should be noted that Commodore Meyer cheerfully takes the heat for his Commodore, Pierre-Yves Firmenich, a gentleman of the old order who tends to his fragrance business and adopts a profile approximating that of the water level of Lake Geneva.)

It’s not about Larry Ellison (USA), founder of BMWOracle, the biblical Lot of the sailing world, an individual who can suffer multiple afflictions (including Ernesto, SNG, and the Courts of New York) and still get up in the morning, dress, organize his life, and go to work to brilliantly and successfully guide the global corporation he created from scratch, an organization that virtually defined the database software industry. Could you do that?

It’s not about Marcus Young (USA), apparently a very nice man, who works in the public relations industry, whom virtually nobody has ever met, who adopts a profile approximating that of Pierre-Yves Firmenich (actually lower, on San Francisco Bay), and is known to the America’s Cup community by his signature on beautifully phrased, coolly rational, and utterly logical letters to his Swiss counterpart (well, counterpart but one) HEHV Meyer, YIC.

This amazingness, frankly, is not even about Sir Russell Coutts (NZL), chief executive of BMWOracle, whose appellation of knighthood was restored to him and scores of other extraordinary Kiwis by the new Prime Minister John Key, just recently.

It’s not about Brad Butterworth (NZL), for crying out loud, the canny sailor we love to hate, who not only is Coutts’s great friend and counterpart at Alinghi, but who, despite what everyone says back home, is still a great Kiwi, a great sailor, and a genius who comes from the Waikato, after all. And all of us appreciate that.

It’s not even about the Cold Shudder of Lawyers, all of whom are doing very well out of the America’s Cup.

Actually, it is about all these characters, all of whom actually command America’s Cup, all of whom like to think they control the America’s Cup, but . . .


America’s Cup has become such a casino that nobody knows how to talk to anyone, anymore.

Nobody knows how to address anyone in civil terms. Nobody even wants to talk to anybody else, anyway, about anything under the sun whatsoever, especially America's Cup 33.

People have forgotten how to talk to other people, even if they wanted to do that, which they don’t, and if they did, they'd call the lawyers. Which is ridiculous.

It’s literally Alice in Wonderland. Toad of Toad Hall. Craziland.

We don’t know anything more than you know, and we know that you know nothing. But we do know that everyone on the planet hates what is happening to America’s Cup, with a passion, including you.

We wish sanity would prevail.

Which includes a lot of great sailors and great pontificators, on both sides of the issue, and on both teams.

Which includes us.


In our view, there are three ways to move forward:

(1) Ernesto and Larry -- or Larry and Ernesto -- personally and exclusively have the power to get together and agree on the outcome – a victor who can win fairly – and then decide what that actually means. Absolutely, they can.

(2) Then, they can adjudicate the details between themselves, by themselves, leaving the panjandrum of fakirs of both teams behind, all of whom can take their coffee and their baco-cheese panini elsewhere.

(3) When Larry and Ernesto ultimately come to terms, they can tell the world that the race is set, where it is will be staged, what the competing vessels must adhere to and not exceed, and when everyone has to get together to make the contest happen, including all of us who are sitting on the sidelines railing about everything about AC33 and about everything else under the sun, including hemispheric venues in nasty (and pretty) places.

Larry and Ernesto -- or Ernesto and Larry -- can make this happen by lunchtime.

Let’s encourage this.