500 Million Euros & Italy?

Say it ain’t so, Joe. I mean, Larry. I mean, those rumors that are flying around that a city in Italy has promised 500 million Euros for the America’s Cup, the rumors that claim said city is on the brink of taking over America’s Cup 34. It’s serious enough that a member of the Long Beach [...]

2nd June 2010.
By Kimball Livingston

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

I mean, Larry.

I mean, those rumors that are flying around that a city in Italy has promised 500 million Euros for the America’s Cup, the rumors that claim said city is on the brink of taking over America’s Cup 34.

It’s serious enough that a member of the Long Beach committee—they want a Cup in San Francisco and a Louis Vuitton event in Long Beach—has written to the president of US Sailing, urging him to “use your bully pulpit of editorial comment to encourage the organizers to host the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay.” That would be John Sangmeister, veteran of the 12 Meter days, writing to Gary Jobson (likewise a veteran of the 12 Meter days, come to think of it).

As a matter of fact, Sangmeister rang my chimes too, which is how I came to be rattling the doors at BMW Oracle with a message on the order of: I know you can’t tell me anything, but tell me something anyway.

They didn’t, exactly. The responses were a mix of the calming and the cryptic.

Herewith their Director of Communications, Tim Jeffery, via email: “There are some interesting punts around at picking the venue: some so way off base you really wonder where these ideas come from; some public and known; some plausible but wrong. All of them are much farther advanced than the reality, as the options continue to increase.” Best, Tim

I would prefer to think that there is only one option, and that is to hold America’s Cup 34 on San Francisco Bay, in the home waters of Golden Gate Yacht Club, inscribed on the Cup itself as the winner of the 33rd match.

I’m sure that even in the midst of the European debt crisis, there are ports in Spain, France, or the home country of the Challenger of Record, Italy, that are eager to roll out a pathway smoother than any that lead through the quirky backalleys of San Francisco politics.

Maybe the Board of Supervisors should threaten to boycott Italy.

But—

If Larry Ellison wants to secure his place in the history of yachting, most of which is recorded in the annals of America’s Cup, he won’t be sailing the 34th Defense in foreign waters while there remains water lapping American shores.

I know there are people who think I’m softheaded to take Ellison at his word, but he’s made all the right noises so far.

I know there are people who are skeptical of the boat selection process and perceive ulterior motives in it. But I don’t see the evidence. I figure that’s yet another Rorschach test.

Misters Ellison and Coutts have sworn themselves to high standards, and we are watching and waiting with high expectations.

Say it’s so, Joe.


About the author:

Kimball Livingston

Profile
Kimball Livingston is a former senior editor, and now editor-at-large, for SAIL. His work also has appeared in Sailing World, Cruising World, Soundings, and more. Over three years, Kimball sailed the Centennial Transpacific, Centennial Newport-Bermuda, and 100th Chicago-Mac. His blog posts appear courtesy of his website www.KimballLivingston.com.
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