Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Tonight, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on the streets of Dubai, now the brave attempt by the plucky little United Arab Emirates to win the America's Cup has been cruelly dashed. In Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah and Sharja as well, the people will be commiserating one another. The simple yet brilliant race strategy of buying a New Zealand team to mount the challenge has failed. The plan was faultless in its planning and execution but, sadly for the proud folk of the UAE, it was not enough. The Swiss billionaire who held the cup was able to buy a better team, by abolishing the rule that team members had to come from the country they purported to represent. So he was able to compile a team that included only three Swiss. This seemed apt, since he was not really Swiss at all, but Italian.

Abolishing the nationality rules allowed the Swiss businessmen who is really Italian to avoid having to rely on Swiss sailors. This was a crucial part of his strategy. As of today, Switzerland still does not have a coastline, so its prowess in yachting is similar to the standing of the Netherlands in mountaineering. Instead, the businessman (who in fact inherited his business from his father) bought lots of New Zealanders, who were regarded as traitors in their own country for opposing the team of New Zealanders belonging to the UAE, or one of its airlines, or one of the airlines belonging to one of the Emirates, or something like that.

According to a respected information source, the America's Cup was once known as the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup or the RYS Cup for One Hundred Sovereigns. Later it was known as the One Hundred Guinea(s) Cup, the Queen’s Cup, the America Cup and the America’s Cup.

So tonight the America's cup, named after a boat that once won it by sailing around the Isle of Wight, is proudly back in the hands of the Swiss, who must be surprised: they only excel in one sport, skiing, which for them is really just a form of transport.

Meanwhile New Zealander and hireling Grant Dalton, who was in charge of the UAE team, has described losing as like having your heart dug out with a spoon, a statement which experts have described as "creepy and weird."

Funny old game, innit?


Uroskin said...

You would need to be careful in advocating nationality rules for sailors in the America's Cup or you might end up causing large unemployment among Kiwi sailors. And what about a requirement that a boat needs to be made locally too? Why should NZ boat builders be allowed work on foreign boats of sailors can't? It would amount to a restriction of trade, plus large losses for the NZ economy.
Be careful what you wish for

Paul said...

Good points, but mine was that the notion of national teams in the America's Cup is spurious, just a drummed-up chauvanism, created to sell the product.

We should accept that this is a game for billionaires and corporates. Our people have skills in boat-building and operation that make us useful to the owners, but they don't represent NZ.

I am always careful what I wish for; I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?

Lyndon said...

the onion has not unrelated thoughts

Sam Finnemore said...

I said before the final series that I didn't much care for America's Cup patriotism - but somehow I got all swept up watching TNZ against Alinghi. The power of a name, I suspect, and memories as an impressionable child in 1995. This post was a great antidote.

Shadows of the now legendary "Ellington Stadium" post from last year...

Dave J said...

"I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?"

The CD of Singles Going Steady?