Who would you rather be, Ernesto Bertarelli or Reid Stowe?
In case you've been living under a stone for the past few months and don't know who the hell I'm talking about, Ernesto is the head of the Alinghi syndicate that won the America's Cup in 2003 and 2007; Reid is the guy who is attempting to spend 1000 days at sea under sail.
Aside from being sailors these two guys have something else in common: they have both been the subject of a massive wave of criticism and abuse, especially on the Internet, over the past few months. So in some ways I'm asking you to choose between two bad options; that's why it's an interesting question. Who would you rather be, Ernesto or Reid?
Ernesto has been under attack for the way in which he has handled the preparations for his eventual defense of the America's Cup. A fake challenge from a virtual club, a lawsuit which he lost, stalled negotiations, self-serving press releases, more threatened suits from aggrieved challengers... you can read all about it at Rule 69 Blog.
Reid is being reviled for almost every sin under the sun from drug-running to fraud, on a parody blog 1000 Days of Hell and in a long-running thread on Sailing Anarchy entitled Couple Cruise for 1000 Days, This is totally fucking ridiculous.
So which would you rather be?
On the surface it is an easy answer. Ernesto is younger (42 to Reid's 55), fabulously wealthy ($8.8 billion according to Forbes), has all the expensive toys that any sailor could desire.... and, oh yes, he just won the America's Cup, twice. Surely our friend Ernesto is living every sailor's dream?
But wait. Think about it. How is Ernesto spending his time these days? My guess is that he is embroiled in endless boring meetings with lawyers, PR guys and other suits, trying to find a way out of the hole he has dug for himself with respect to the next America's Cup match. That can't be much fun.
At least Reid is out on the open ocean with the wind in his hair, sailing a boat he built himself, dealing with whatever the sea and weather gods serve up, riding along with the porpoises and the albatrosses. Right now he is somewhere in the southern Atlantic along with his crew, a woman less than half his age variously described by his supporters and (some of) his detractors respectively as his "girlfriend" or his "sex slave". Man, that's better then every sailor's dream. Isn't that every old fart's fantasy?
(Just in case my wife's reading, I don't mean my fantasy, of course not dear.)
So who would you rather be? Ernesto Bertarelli or Reid Stowe? And why?