Thursday, May 10, 2007

Laser Sailors in America's Cup

So now that the challengers for the America's Cup are down to the Final Four, I might actually start taking an interest. Up to now it's been so confusing with so many teams and so many "Acts", that following the competition would be as mentally confusing as trying to follow every team in Major League Baseball for a whole season of 162 games. I'm just not that much of a sports junkie. If I follow sports at all I need to focus on one team and root for them.

But who should I be cheering for as we enter the semi-finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup and then the America's Cup itself? As a British citizen I could support the British challenge. What? There isn't a British challenge? How did that happen? I thought we invented the America's Cup (along with soccer, dysfunctional royal families and Marmite). How come they won't let us play any more?

Oh well, I live in America so I shall cheer for the American team. They're probably like the New York Yankees in being prepared to spend more money than any of the competition so are bound to win anyway. Hang on. They've named their team after a German car company and they seem to have more Kiwis than Americans in their afterguard? That's not very patriotic. Seems like they're not really an American team at all.

So how do I choose where to place my loyalties? Well, this blog is mainly about Laser sailing so let's see if there are any Laser sailors among the Final Four/Five teams. BMW Oracle has Rod Dawson who was the Laser Asia/Pacific Champion in 1991; while the defender Alinghi has Ed Baird the 1980 Laser World Champion.

But it seems that the team with the deepest line-up of Laser sailing talent is Emirates Team New Zealand. Their afterguard team includes...

Ben Ainslie -- Laser Olympic gold and silver medal winner
Dean Barker -- Laser World Youth Champion in 1990
Kevin Hall -- Laser North American Champion in 1991 and 1995
Mark Mendelblatt -- US Laser sailor at the 2004 Olympics and second place at the 2004 Laser Worlds.

I don't think any of the other teams can compete with that. I figure that anyone who can excel in Lasers must be good at sailing one of those fancy-schmancy AC leadmines so that's it. The decision is made. I'm rooting for ETNZ.

Now where can I buy an ETNZ cap?

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