With boats becalmed, sponsors grow restless

Like a painted ship on a painted ocean, Emirates TNZ - Day 3 of the Louis Vuitton Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©
The following story was published in the International Herald Tribune on Thursday 19 April. For the full story, see the link below:

With placid sea winds transforming the America's Cup competition into a pleasure cruise for the fourth straight day, corporate sponsors are fuming and impatient television broadcasters are pulling the plug on planned live coverage.

Sea winds are one of the few vital elements that the high-tech, multimillion-dollar teams in the competition cannot buy. And so weak breezes are playing havoc with marketing plans of sponsors who expected brand images to make fleeting television appearances on majestic billowing sails.

Instead, the sleek, 24-ton vessels bobbed like bathtubs in the doldrums of the Mediterranean on Thursday, waiting forlornly for the breezes to rise above 6 knots and raising their sails in expectations of a first match between two Italian teams. By 5 p.m., the teams started lowering their sails with tensions building behind the scenes as the race was called off.

'We've never seen this before,' said Bruno Troublé, a former skipper in the America's Cup and a spokesman for Louis Vuitton, the luxury-goods manufacturer that is sponsoring the round robin to reduce 11 challengers to one finalist to take on Alinghi, the defending champion. 'It's bad for the America's Cup and it's bad for the sport, because it affects the credibility of the sport.

For the full article see: www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/19/sports/SAIL.php