The one thing we love about Brian Hancock is to do what so many of the pussy journos in this sport refuse to do – tell it straight-up. No dancing around the issue, no ass-kissing, no bullshit. Agree with him or not, he’s the real deal.
Oh and speaking of pussies, we have a nice little story coming up about US Ailing and their farcical “Leadership” forum…
OK I tried to stop myself from writing this but I couldn’t. I kept my hands in my pockets so that my fingers would not walk their way to my keyboard but to no avail. I can’t help myself and I really wanted to start this year out on a positive, upbeat note. Before I knew it I was typing the words… “Does anyone even know what boat won the Sydney Hobart Race?” Does anyone? (We did – ed) You would think that Comanche, that oversized, slab-sided, unimaginative super-maxi was the race winner but no, it was a TP52 by the name of Balance that won the race. Yes the overall winner was not Comanche but a boat just over half the size sailed by Paul Clitheroe, an British born money manager who apparently manages some $14 billion for clients. Nice work if you can get it but that’s an aside. I am sure he’s a nice guy and he and his crew were the true winners of the Sydney Hobart Race.
Let me continue by saying that I have always been a fan of Ken Read, the skipper of Comanche, and I have never met Jim Clark or his lovely (I’m sure) wife Kristy Hinze-Clark, but it really gets my goat when it’s all over the news that she became the first owner to win the prestigious Sydney Hobart Race. Yes she was on the boat that was first to get to Hobart. Truthfully it would have been an embarrassment had they not arrived there first. Other than Ragamuffin it was by far the biggest boat in the fleet and stacked with more sailing talent than you can point a stick at.
When you have someone like Jimmy Spithill (yes the same Spithill that won the America’s Cup) listed just as a crewmember you know you have a fairly talented team on board. And I give them credit, they did fix a damaged rudder (after retiring) and then asking to be unretired and then going on to be first into port, but did Regatta News, who in their final summation of the race, have to give Comanche well over twice the amount of ink than the boat that won the race? I think not.
You see I had my hands in my pockets and that was where they were staying until I watch live as Spindrift 2 crossed the imaginary line to complete their loop of the planet in their attempt to set a new Jules Verne record. Onboard Spindrift was another lady, not a trophy wife, instead one who inherited a bucket load of money. It’s not about the money, it’s not even about the trophy wife, it’s about giving credit where credit is due. Dona Bertarelli, the founder and owner of Spindrift Racing just sailed 29,000 miles non-stop around the planet. Now that’s an accomplishment worthy of some ink in the press. I am sure that she will get her fair share of accolades, but this is all missing the point.
Here is what I wanted to say and I am glad that my fingers found their way to the keyboard. I have been a massive supporter of women in sailing for almost 40 years. I recognized back when I started out as a professional sailor that there were some immensely talented women who were doing extraordinary things but getting no recognition.
Remember Claire Francis? Probably not, but she was the first female to skipper a boat in the Whitbread Round the World Race. How about Naomi James? She was the first woman to sail single-handed around the world. How about Kay Cottee? Since we are talking Australian (you can’t find a report that does not name Kristy Hinze-Clark as the “Australian-born” supermodel) let’s remember that Australian Kay Cotee was the first woman ever to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation. Not bad huh? I could go on and in fact I think I will. Who remembers Jessica Watson, the teenager who left Sydney (not to sail to Hobart) but around the world? She was 16 when she left and 16 when she returned after lapping the planet. Now that’s an accomplishment worthy of a cockpit load of ink.
So that’s my issue. It cheapens the accomplishments of some amazingly talented women when the press gushes that Ms Hinze-Clark was the winner of the Sydney Hobart Race. I call bullshit on it all and I salute Dona Bertarelli for sucking it up for 47 days with a bunch of smelly Frenchman to become the fastest woman to lap the planet.