I talked to Ernesto Bertarelli.
Sailing

I talked to Ernesto Bertarelli.

Editor-in-chief of Sailing Anarchy about love and hate.

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The biggest tragedy in the current America's Cup situation is Ernesto. Well, that Swiss guy. We American yachtsmen hate him!

In front of us is one of the biggest investors in 21st century sailing. Ernesto Bertarelli and his team spent a crazy amount of money on sailing. They did it in the sincere hope of fair cooperation. For a «friendly competition between countries». Ernesto created such a situation that together with his rivals they spent more money on Olympic sailing and boat technology than anyone else in the 20th century combined.

Ernesto did it out of love for our sport. But the other guy seems to have spent a little more money and won. And we love him. But why don't we love Ernesto? If he wasn't, who would Larry have to fight? Who would we all have had to fight?

All that money went into scientific research. To develop the material base. On engineers building boats that don't fall apart on the move. (sorry, Australia One) Specialists in composite materials. On sailmasters who can build a three-dimensional image of the membrane of your sails before the first strand of fiber will see the light. Skippers who are comfortable at 8 knots, 16 knots, 24 knots, 34 knots and so on. All these people don't exist without Ernesto. Or Larry. Or Dennis. They're guys like you and me, they just have a lot of money. We have to rejoice when they want to spend it on sailing.

But no! Ernesto... We hate him. And we love Larry.

We love Larry because he's ours.

In a perfect world, we should rejoice when someone like Ernesto wants to play our game. Not just because he has a lot of money, but also because he appreciates the development of our sport. He certainly can't afford to sponsor all the children's sailing schools on the planet or pay for every Olympic team on its way. Maybe, of course he can, but, hell, that's a lot. Instead, he injects money into our sport so that it goes to boat builders, sailing masters, rigging manufacturers. They pay their employees who aren't in the ranks of the American unemployed right now.

And the Larry guy that we all love? He does the same thing. They just haven't found a common ground. It's okay. Some people can't find a common language.

The collective «we»who call ourselves «Americans»continue to win the America's Cup after all. And we do it in the fight against our opponent. Maybe we should have taken an example from a guy who didn't want to fight anybody, but just wanted to develop sailing. But we hate him.

Perhaps it's time to ask ourselves what we all fight for here. A hundred years with something there, when we set the rules in this game and thus won, ended. It's over. That's it.

I just spent a good afternoon here with the Alinghi crew. Cool guys. But they don't want to play anymore because there's no fan in the game, as they say. Can we blame them? They gave this sport more than any of us can imagine. And in the end everything was decided by their ability or inability to win in some archaic court case.

After so much money spent earlier, they don't even have the opportunity to say their word now. Or at least a sentence. At the same time, it's as if they're calmly watching Larry take the lion's share of their ideas about the future of the Cup and implement them himself. Maybe it was Larry's ideas - who cares? Imagine - just imagine - that they might have common goals.

Where do you think your 3DL sails come from? From the collective farm market? How about carbon? Maybe it wasn't without aliens in the beginning, but how did it get from Roswell into the construction of your boat? Nixon, Carter or Reagan had nothing to do with this, and neither Bush or Clinton.

It's a credit to guys like Bill Koch, Larry Ellison, and yes, Ernesto Bertarelli. Without Bill, Larry, Ernesto, Dennis or Sir Thomas Lipton, it just wouldn't have happened.

And we (in case you haven't forgotten) hate Ernesto. Stupid man: keeps wasting quintiles of dollars trying to develop our sport.

About the author: Scott Tempesta is the editor-in-chief of the world's most popular sailing site Sailing Anarchy.

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