Uh oh. Brian Hancock is cranky again…
So this is one of my pet peeves and I debated whether I should use this forum to air it, but what the heck there is not much going on in the sailing world this week (joke). A couple of days ago I got a press release from the Volvo Ocean Race. All of us in the media are prone to overuse superlatives and I am usually fine with it, indeed I am probably more guilty than most, but this I am not fine with. Here is the headline. “New Zealand sailing hero Peter Burling joins Team Brunel for Volvo Ocean Race.” Anyone else see what I see?
To me a hero is someone who runs into a burning building to save a child or someone who plunges into a roaring river to rescue a dog. A hero is a marine taking fire and giving it back in spades. Those are heroic acts and the people involved are hero’s. Now Pete Burling is a talented sailor for sure, but there is absolutely nothing heroic about sitting behind the wheel on an AC 45 in the turquoise waters of the Great Sound in Bermuda. Burling was born with some incredible sailing talent but that does not make him a hero.
For all I know he is probably embarrassed that the VOR media team framed the headline that way. If he wasn’t embarrassed by that I am sure that he was less than pleased at the media continually referring to him as the ‘young’ Peter Burling. Enough already, the man is 26, hardly a kid anymore and now he has joined Team Brunel for the Volvo Ocean Race. If Brunel manages an overall win in the upcoming VOR Burling will be the first sailor to win the so-called Triple Crown. An Olympic gold medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. That would be cool.
Speaking of Burling did anyone else notice that after he won the America’s Cup – and presumable enjoyed the homecoming in New Zealand – that he took part in the Moth World Championships on lake Garda in Italy? There were more that 200 competitors buzzing around the lake foiling at high speeds with dozens of wipeouts and more than few near misses. Very exciting stuff to watch. Well Peter Burling didn’t win the regatta, but he nearly did. He came second losing to Britain’s Paul Goodison in a close battle all the way to the last race. Goodison repeated his victory from last year to make it two in a row.
Also, in other news, has anyone been watching the Volvo 65’s in their Leg Zero battles? Leg Zero is a series of races that don’t count toward overall points in the actual Volvo Ocean Race, but it does give the top boat some bragging rights. So far they have raced around the Isle of Wight, the Fastnet Race and this morning the first boats arrived in St Malo, France after racing from Plymouth on England’s south coast. I am thrilled to see the Spanish entry Mapfre emerging as the dominant player. They were first in the Round the Island Race, second in the Fastnet and they dominated the race to St Malo. Let’s see how they do on the next leg to Lisbon, Portugal.
The reason I am thrilled to see Mapfre out front is because they were the first team to embrace the idea of having women on board. There are two women as part of the crew; Támara Echegoyen, an olympic gold medalist and Sophie Ciszek, one of the stars from the last Volvo Ocean Race where she was a key crew member aboard Team SCA.
There is another thing that is making me happy when looking at the results from Leg Zero. The one boat consistently near the bottom is Sun Hung Kai Scallywag skippered by Australian David Witt. The witless Witt boldly announced that he “would not participate in any kind of social experiment” and that he was going with a male-only crew, no ladies on his boat. What an age we live in where someone as prominent in the sport of sailing would have such a lack of self awareness that he would say something like that; out loud.
Uh oh. Brian Hancock is cranky again…