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I Was Wrong

wheatley’s world

I Was Wrong

Far be it for me to blow smoke up the Editor’s arse but I did snigger at one of his recent posts about the Audi Med snore-athon and how most of us are completely bored by it. I can’t really put my finger on why, but the circuit just doesn’t really do it for me anymore. Sure the boats are awesome, the crews are amazing but it lacks a certain passion and it seems like anyone can win if they throw enough money at it. First off it was Russell “Trimaran” Coutts sailing Torben Tongue-Twists money pile to victory when it was quite a fun circuit, then the works Quantum lot arrived and bored everyone into submission and now the Kiwis (bless them) are storming around with Dean “Who” Barker collecting the choccies. I don’t know, but unless the powers that be shake this up a bit and get a better, more interesting format it’s in danger of becoming a euro-playboy’s playground and you know what happens when that lot get involved in anything…Audi – listen up, before it’s way too late.

Now it’s not often that I admit to being wrong and it’s also as rare as rocking horse poo that I apologise with any degree of sincerity, however I am getting increasingly excited about the next America’s Cup being sailed in monster cats and tris. I was scooting around the Oracle website yesterday and looked at the video where one of the nicest guys in world sailing Ian “Fresh” Burns gives an update on the team in his inimitable style. I just love the way he pronounces the word “Project” as “Prowject” but that’s an aside from the awesome sight of the boat in action. It’s a masterpiece of design and it’s going to be fascinating to see how it all shakes up. I have also, dare I admit it, sat back in awe at the Alinghi cat. I really love it and I apologise to the beardy-weirdy cat sailors who I continually annoy by suggesting they can’t sail. They can. I’m over it.

I also truly herald the choice of the United Arab Emirates as a venue. I’m a big fan of the Middle East and I genuinely like the Arabian people despite their propensity to shun alcohol. I think they’ll put on a mind-blowing display and will welcome the world with open arms. There is something quite beautiful about the Arabs and I love the whole “brave new world” feel to the place and the simmering intellect of the people – it is an awesome choice of venue to hold the AC. Plus, and it’s a big plus, we don’t have to put up with that awful Barbara of Valencia and all the euro-nonsense and nonentities that came with that dreadful place. The UAE is the most exciting development in the AC since wing keels and I, for one, can’t wait to see it.

The only fly in the ointment, surprise, surprise is the ISAF/Alinghi cabal to rig the rules and ensure a Swiss victory. Rusty was right to issue his open-letter questioning absolutely everything and it’s a sad day for the sport when King Larry is forced to say “We probably will be ruled out of every race.” What complete and utter tossers Ernesto and the ISAF stooges are. The next AC has all the hallmarks of being a killer event, putting it back on the sailing map and being heralded in the pantheon of sport. But oh no, the morons at ISAF have to weigh in and stick their stuffed-shirts where they’re not welcome. What’s all this nonsense that the race jury have to be bilingual in English and French? French? Why on earth would anyone want to learn the language of those cheese-eating surrender monkeys? And can you imagine the decisions these jurors will make? It will be all Gallic shrugs and “mais non, mais oui” and the protest room will stink of garlic…I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous and if the sanity and sportsmanship of Ernie and his arsehole team were ever in question, this decision just confirms my belief that he’s an arrogant euro buffoon who simply doesn’t get it.

Another one on my radar this summer that just gets my goat is, I hate to say it, Keith Mills and his woeful, embarrassing attempt to bring the Cup home to Britain. I just don’t understand who is advising this clown. He’s chucked a fortune, and I mean a fortune, at his campaign even buying an old IACC boat off Ernie who must have been laughing his socks off when the cheque cleared. Can you imagine telling your missus that you’ve just blown £6 million of the kids’ inheritance on an event that you can’t enter and bought a boat that you can’t race and can’t sell? Plus you’ve gone and hired a load of talent that are just in it for the pay cheque and humour you at every photo-shoot. I know what Mrs W would say and do and I’d be talking with a very high voice begging to get my bollocks back. It’s quite incredible.

Keef has now, embarrassingly, gone all “green” on us by involving the Carbon Trust and I just squirm every time I see him – which is a lot – in the national press giving us a load of old waffle about bringing the Cup home. It’s as though he’s already won the damn thing and he keeps going on about re-generating a south coast town when they host the event! I admire his enthusiasm but it’s the blind optimism that I can’t stand and I pity poor Ben Ainslie and Moose Sanderson who have to stand next to the guy at every possible media “opportunity” in their pristine Origin shirts and fake a smile…I’m sure they know that this guy is just barking mad and on totally the wrong track but it seems that no-one has the guts to tell him. Who on earth is advising him? I really want to know. Plus there are already all sorts of rumours, typical in a British campaign, of internal strife, jealousy and friction. It’s just pathetic and I can’t understand why the idiotic yachting press in the UK give him so much airtime. It’s a complete joke.

I just wish that the Brits could put together a really aggressive, nasty bid for the Cup and play a bit of hardball rather than waffling and trying to hog the headlines with stupid initiatives. We’ve got some great talent in the helming area and design fields but will probably have to hire the crew from overseas as all our trimmers, grinders etc are has-beens living on the past but we’ve got a good starting point. It just needs some aggressive management, a respected figurehead and a big pile of money. As soon as you try and get the corporate shilling, it becomes a nonsense. So my mantra is: if you can’t compete, don’t compete and if you can’t take on the big boys on the money front then don’t do it and take up golf.

By the way I hit an 82 with my new Callaway graphite irons over the summer…roll on the United Arab Emirates, I hear there’s some nice courses there! – Magnus Wheatley.