It’s been a week of shocking revelations in the America’s Cup, with a 3-2 vote going against both the AC62 and the Auckland qualifying regatta and a heavily restricted ’45-50 footer’ likely for the AC35 in Bermuda. The two ‘nays’ are also the two most successful challengers entered, and one of them – Grant Dalton’s Emirates Team New Zealand, announced last night that they’d be taking the AC organizers to arbitration to try to get Commercial Director Harvey Schiller to honor his signed agreement to bring the qualifiers to New Zealand.
But in the biggest shock move of the decade, Luna Rossa has not only pulled out of the next AC and disbanded their team – they’ve sold the entire show to an American-based consortium with designs on forever changing high-end luxury sports sponsorship. The new team has purchased all of Luna Rossa’s assets in a deal valued at just under $20M. And as usual, we’ve got the exclusive scoop.
“The new Seattle-based Marley Progressive Race Team brings some of the most progressive companies and causes of the modern era to bear on a one of the world’s iconic competitions, but one that’s long been the province of robber barons and industrial tycoons,” said long time Sailing Anarchist and country music legend Willie Nelson. “We aim to change that forever; sailing should be more about enjoying our beautiful waterways with friends than about stroking aging billionaires’ egos.”
Nelson, the Non-Executive Chairman of the new team and a spokesman for social change, told us the team will be a clearing house for companies and organizations to unite together under the Marley Progressive banner, with title sponsorship shared between Progressive Insurance (whose founder contributed more than $40M to cannabis law reforms before his 2013 death), and legal cannabis juggernaut Marley Natural – already forecast to be the first (legal) billion-dollar marijuana business. “We are going to Bermuda to bring the America’s Cup back to the US West Coast where it belongs – the land of free thinking, progressive policies, and recreational marijuana,” said Nelson.
One team source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief the press, told us the team had already started to come together. “You wouldn’t believe how many of the world’s best sailors are already on board,” she said. “With WADA easing its marijuana testing requirements in 2013, the doors have been opened for some of the thousands of cannabis-loving professional sailors to reach the sport’s pinnacle, and we won’t have the salary problems the less progressive teams do. Our sailors will be in it for love, not money.” The insider did let slip the identity of the team’s principal designer, Juan Kouyoimdjian. “You can tell just how much cannabis Mr. Kouyoumdjian smokes simply by looking at his designs, so he was a ‘Marley Natural’ choice for us..”
When contacted by phone, a spokesperson for Bermuda Governor George Fergusson said the news was troubling. “Well, it’s sort of a tiny bit concerning for Bermuda you know,” said aide Nanny McPhee. “Bermuda is not quite known as ‘party central’ and we hope to maintain the tradition and heritage of the world’s oldest sporting competition on Bermuda’s waters regardless of who sponsors America’s Cup teams.”
AC Commercial Director Dr. Harvey Schiller was less circumspect, and in an unguarded moment with an unnamed ISAF official, Schiller was reportedly overheard to say, “I don’t care if the Russian Army wants to enter the America’s Cup, as long as they’re paying retail.”
In related news, our own Senior Editor Alan “Mr. Clean” Block will say goodbye his ten-year tenure at Sailing Anarchy this week for ‘greener’ pastures. “It’s been a hell of a trip here at SA, and I’ll miss this massive community with all my heart,” said Block. “But when Willie offered me the chance to run media for an America’s Cup team while promoting marijuana use for sailors everywhere, I knew this was the job I’d been waiting all my life. Thanks especially to Russell, Ben, Iain, and Franck for making the change to an affordable AC – this would never have been possible without you, and it’s a new era for the America’s Cup.
We’ll have a formal announcement of the team on Monday, including a video interview with the as-yet-unnamed Sailing Director.