I had a bit of fun in January last year fantasizing about how Larry Ellison's decision to buy one of the Newport mansions was driven by his desire to join the Newport Laser frostbite fleet. Of course everyone knew I was joking. We all know that Larry likes to sail, but nobody in their right mind would believe that some high-powered technology entrepreneur who is richer than Croesus would want to sail a Laser. Ha ha! Very funny Tillerman.
So imagine my surprise earlier this week as I was perusing the reports of the 2011 Laser Masters Worlds currently being sailed in San Francisco to see the name Phillippe Kahn in the results. Phillippe Kahn? Surely not the Phillippe Kahn, founder of Starfish Software, LightSurf Technologies, Borland Software and Fullpower Technologies, the guy who created the first camera phone solution sharing pictures instantly on public networks, the Phillippe Kahn of Pegasus Racing, with many ocean racing accomplishments to his credit.
Surely not? Why would some dude who can buy any boat in the world he wants and pay the top pros in the world to race for him, want to go and hack around the buoys in a Laser? Inconceivable!
But apparently the Pillippe Kahn racing in the Laser Masters Worlds is the real Phillippe Kahn. A report on the website for the Transpacific Yacht Club last month reported that "Philippe... is sailing Lasers every day off Diamond Head in prep for the Laser Masters Worlds on San Francisco Bay in August."
But wait. Phillippe is currently placed second from last in the Standard Rig Grandmasters fleet! That's Tillerman territory. That's where I would be if I had been sailing this event. What a missed opportunity! I could be out in San Francisco crossing tacks with Phillippe Kahn and maybe having a couple of beers with him after racing. I might even have asked him to sponsor my blog. You never know.
That report on the Transpacific Yacht Club site also credits Phillippe with saying, "I have to learn how to sail before I die."
I guess that's why he is sailing a Laser now. Hats off to you Mr. Kahn!
I wonder if he has a Mommy Boat?
For those of you still puzzled as to why this post is headed up by a low resolution photo of a baby, that is the world's first camera-phone image taken by Philippe Kahn at the birth of his daughter Sophie on June 11, 1997 and wirelessly shared with more than 2000 people around the world instantly.
The rest is history.