©03 The Media Desk
Talk about missing the boat.
The Desk had been watching the progress of the America's Cup Regatta up until recently. Nevermind the reasons, it simply got sidetracked.
In any case, during a quiet time at its day job today (19 March) it managed to go out and see what had happened.
And then the Desk got a shock.
That 150 year old trophy The America's Cup, Queen Victoria's 100 Guinea Cup (134 ounces of Silver), is now in Switzerland under the watchful eye of moneyman Ernesto Bertarelli who backed the team for the challenge.
Yes. That land locked country in the middle of the Alps. Better known for Don't Ask- Don't Tell banks and yodeling has won the greatest sailing contest in the world by beating New Zealand in five straight.
The Defenders had just about everything that CAN go wrong with a sailboat, shy of sinking the fool thing, GO wrong. Oh, that's right, it seems the black boat did try to sink in the first race, right before a boom broke off the mainsail. They even managed to break the mast itself in the fourth race.
To earn the right to race the hapless Defenders, the Swiss Team Alinghi on their boat SUI64 ran past the field in the Challenger Series.
The other teams including Dennis Conner and his crew, Oracle, Prada from Italy, and the Swedes simply didn't see a serious challenge coming from an outfit in a rebuilt three year old boat.
The Alinghi team did everything they had to do to win the Louis Vuitton Cup and move on to the America's Cup. They did it, and they did it well.
They never missed a beat, including running the first race start to finish almost as hard as they would if the New Zealanders were hot on their transom even after the Defenders had called for assistance from the support boats as waves broke over their side and the crew bailed desperately with a small blue bucket to keep NZL82 from going down. The Swiss didn't push their boat to the breaking point, evidently as the home team did, but they kept it moving and worked together as they had in the Challenger series.
Could it be the Swiss simply had a better boat? Yeah, you could say that. Even with the New Zealander's secret weapon- a hull 'hula' appendage. At least the Swiss yacht didn't come apart during the races that mattered in the Final.
Is the Desk surprised the Swiss, of all the teams, carried the day? No. Not really. Of all the teams, they seemed to be the ones with the most to prove: That Switzerland, with no salt water coastline at all, could be a world class sailing nation. And now they are.
And now the debate begins. Where will they host the Cup in 2007. Off Italy where the Prada company is talking about dropping sail on their program for keeps? Seems the boss of the fashion house who was the sole sponsor for the effort has a bad case of sour grapes. Oh well.
Maybe off Spain or Portugal? There are several coastal cities already touting their wares to the Swiss who could do it anywhere they want, and there will doubtless be a long battle of ports and facilities bidding to host the regatta.
Will Dennis Conner put up another boat? Let's hope not. There has GOT to be another multi-millionaire out there with nothing better to do with his time or money.
In any case... The Desk will be watching.
The home page of the winning syndicate. http://www.alinghi.com
Official Site of the America's Cup www.americascup.yahoo.com
[NOTE: The Desk is in No Wise affiliated with Anything to do with the Cup or its syndicates other than being a land bound fan.]
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