Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Another America's Cup Rant

In response to various sordid announcements about the formerly sporting event known as the America's Cup, various sailing writers and bloggers have debated the pros and cons of proposals for the Deed of Gift match. Some have even praised the advances in technology that may result from the demolition of old rules and traditions.

Team Alinghi will have a motor on their boat, and have unilaterally suspended some of the racing rules of sailing (with some apparent International Sailing Federation connivance, and without Mutual Consent). If sailing anarchists are to be believed, Team Alinghi have apparently proposed a racing site in a predominantly minimal-wind area in the United Arab Emirates near the Straits of Hormuz. Yeah, Ras al Khaymah northeast of Dubai, as in not at all far from Iran, Iraq, the Gulf War, terrorists, war, insurgency, .... duh! Bertarelli would have the Deed of Gift match within about 85 miles/140 km from the nearest Iranian mainland port and within about 40 miles/65 km of the nearest Iranian island.

Yacht racing facilities in the area may be somewhat limited, but perhaps if the match is approved then Bertarelli and his cronies can build the world's first yacht club where membership is restricted to billionaires and oil sheiks only. (Quite possibly, members of one particular religious faith would not be welcome... guess which!) Is there perhaps also a plan to defray campaign costs by taking local sheiks, emirs, and other notables on some very expensive boat rides?

Oh yes, one of Alinghi's rule suspensions would seem to allow Alingi to apply chemicals to their boat or dump them in the water, in a bid to reduce skin friction, which could be useful in a place where wind is minimal. Or does maybe Alinghi plan to use chemical weapons to protect themselves from terrorists or to intimidate their challenger?

Or is Alinghi preparing a new, secret racing rule to make floating minefields part of the course ... and only Alinghi will have a map of where the explosive mines are placed?!

Not that the judge would likely allow Bertarelli's choice of venue, but would Alinghi's motor (used for trim and to generally replace muscle power) be more effective if the match were to take place in the flat-water, low-wind UAE waters near the Straits of Hormuz?

Maybe the Alinghi brain trust calculates that the Straits are a place where pollution from polymers would be less noticeable. But then, the pollution and debris from a sunken catamaran wouldn't be excessively noticeable there, either.

I also wonder whether any terrorists are having a marvelous fantasy about just what to do if a couple of western infidel billionaire capitalists show up near their neighborhood?

Does perhaps Bertarelli plan to bring a Swiss Red Cross representative to very politely and considerately ask the region's pirates, terrorists, mujahideen, insurgents, revolutionary guards, and assorted armies to be nice, take a vacation during the sailing match, and not come over to his side of the Gulf?

Or does maybe Alinghi plan to turn their catamaran into a pirate boat and try to blockade the Gulf and threaten to cut off oil shipments unless we award Big Ernesto the Cup in Perpetuity?

And, if the judge were to force Bertarelli to choose a Southern Hemisphere venue, may I nominate Kismanyo, Somalia, just south of the Line. Lousy sailing, hot as hell, plus convenient, easy access for terrorists and pirates -- all the sorts of things that should delight the Alingis.


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