Friday, August 12, 2011

I Have To Learn How To Sail Before I Die

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.


Baydog said...

Wow. Before you know it, everyone will have a camera right inside their phone. Automatically, without even asking for it.

JP said...

Ah, Borland, that's an old techy name. I remember writing a DOS application in Turbo C++ - a development tool thats clean, simple and cut down to the minimum. Yes, can sort of see a connection with Laser sailing already.

Sam Chapin said...

How did you learn all this stuff? Isn't it his kid that sails the other Melges 24 that is so good or just the pros that sail with them?

tillerman said...

Learn? Nobody learns stuff any more Sam. Nobody remembers stuff any more Sam. It's all in The Google. Hmmm. I wonder if Larry Page and Sergey Brin sail Lasers?

As you say, Shark Kahn, like his Dad, has had a lot of success in the Melges 24 class. There's an interesting aricle here that sheds some light on the question as to why he is so good.

O Docker said...

I think you have this all upside down. It wasn't the Laser that drew Phillipe to that regatta - it was the chance to sail in our magnificent natural amphitheater, even if that meant having to put on a wetsuit and flop around in the water.

Here's a guy who could sail anywhere in the world he wants, who could hang out on any iconic waterfront. For Phillipe, places like Hawaii are just for training, but where did he come to experience the finest sailing on the planet?

Anonymous said...

Nah. He's been reading Tillerman's blog and his old posts about the Masters Worlds and he figured out that at least he could beat Tillerman.

Tillerman said...

I resemble that remark.

SoxSail said...

Was on one of the start boats for Opti New Englands a couple weeks ago, and the mommy boats were really good about all the rules, rescuing people and getting kids back to the line. Turns out they're good for something.

There was one dad who tried to send his 6 year old out to the green fleet without a coach, and got upset when she was sent back in, but hey, you can't win 'em all.

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