If there’s one subject that America’s Cup aficionados agree on, it’s that the event is all about its personalities. Thursday night’s shindig at the Golden Gate Yacht Club brought the point home in more ways than one under the guise of a US Sailing Speaker series program called 'Cup Chat'. Event pros Hartmann studios transformed the GGYC into a pseudo TV studio Letterman style, complete with jazz quartet Cyril Guiraud and the American Quatro and announcer James Byers.
Tom Ehman (left) and Bruno Trouble - 'Cup Chat' at Golden Gate YC -
The evening’s line-up presented some of the Cup’s most colorful characters from the 'old' school: Tom Ehman (newly appointed Vice Commodore of GGYC and spokesperson Oracle Racing), Bruno Trouble (Louis Vuitton), and Peter ‘Luiggi’ Reggio (PRO extraordinaire), and for good balance a shot of youth in the form of Olympic hopeful Genny Tulloch. Staff Commodore Marcus Young moderated the event with as much irreverence and humor as subjects like Ernesto Bertarelli deserve, making it one of the most entertaining Cup related events I’ve been to in a very long time.
However, the question of personalities has been bothering me ever since and it’s clearly a big one. We have an organizing authority with little or no prior experience in the America’s Cup who can’t possibly appreciate the essence of what these characters mean to the event. For the first time this same organizing authority is assuming responsibility - previously that of Louis Vuitton - for the event’s media center - the very heart from where Cup personalities come to life through the thousands of journalists that cover the related Cup events. I hope the event authority takes this responsibility seriously…
Louis Vuitton’s Bruno Trouble - 'Cup Chat' at Golden Gate YC -
But back to the question, with the dawning of this new Cup era, who will be the new generation of personalities in this next event? While I’m not sure this question was answered during the 'Cup Chat', it's clear from the following excerpts it’s time to start thinking about it.
Marcus Young: Bruno, this sport is really a little about technology, a little bit about sailors and a lot about personality, and there’s been a lot of personalities in this event for years and years. Who are you missing right now? Who do you wish was still doing this?
Bruno Trouble: The America’s Cup is full of personalities, it’s about personalities. Tom Blackaller - I wish he knows that we are here for the next America’s Cup because it was one of his dreams to have the America’s Cup here. For sure Tom is missing. But the America’s Cup, I don’t know why it has attracted or created personalities and I’m not only talking about rich people - Peter Blake was not rich - but there are huge personalities in the Cup historically. If it were only a sporting event, Louis Vuitton would not be part of the America’s Cup. We are part of the America’s Cup because it is an extraordinary saga of modern times.
When the Australians from Perth - Fremantle - no-one knew where Fremantle or Perth was - when they came to Newport in 1983, to fight against US space age technology, they were exactly like the young bankers from New York in 1851 coming to race against the best of the British fleets which was then the biggest country in
PRO Peter Reggio - 'Cup Chat' at Golden Gate YC -
the world and best navy in the world. I don’t know why but the America’s Cup has a lot of stories like that, a lot of personalities, it’s the richest sporting event in my opinion. I used to be a lawyer but I changed my life to give my life to the America’s Cup over the last 30 years and I discover something every week, every month. It’s extraordinarily rich.
Marcus Young: Reality TV show for the America’s Cup, good idea, bad idea? Tom, what’s your take on it?
Tom Ehman: I think that what Stan Honey and that gang are going to do with America’s Cup television is going to be high quality. There’s a show or a magazine show starting in July, once a month or maybe more often than that, so there’s going to be a lot of TV. I’m not sure if a reality TV show is correct but there’s going to be a major upgrade to TV for the next Cup.
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