Computer supergeek Dr. Jim Clark has been in the ‘mine’s bigger’ game for a long time. His three-masted gaff schooner Athena is the world’s largest privately-owned sailboat, and her systems – from sail-handling to remote monitoring to fly-by-wire everything – were actually developed largely by the dot com boomer and Netscape founder himself. But Clark decided to pull his new J-Class Replica Hanuman out of the racing at Antigua Classics Week.
The reason? Because the other two J-Class boats had higher-paid crew than he did, apparently. And never mind that Antigua isn’t sailed under J-Class Association rules for owner/driver or crew – apparently, Clark doesn’t bother with silly things like reading the NOR, nor does he care that the ‘fine men who came for the pleasure of sailing’ with him don’t get to race at all. Here’s a bit of the whining from the letter Clark sent out to the fleet to announce his withdrawal.
I have come to the conclusion that racing in the so-called J Class Association is a complete farce. I learned from talking to the captain of Athena today that both Velsheda and Ranger have a complete, paid professional racing crew.
If I wanted to hire a paid professional crew, I would build a real, modern racing boat, or I would make a challenge for the America’s Cup. But that type of competition is not of interest to me."
Read the rest of the letter here. You might never have the same money as Clark, but at least he’s confirmation that the super-rich can be just as whiney as the worst of your local PHRF pals! Does he have a valid point? You decide.
Photo from Luiz Kahl.