Dame Ellen MacArthur - has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Last week at Buckingham Palace, the Queen appointed MacArthur The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to be Dame Commander, making her the youngest person ever to be named a Dame. This was in recognition of MacArthur's single-handed round-the-world voyage that beat the record set by Francis Joyon - a 27,000 miles voyage completed in 72 days, and less than 15 hours in her 75-foot trimaran B&Q. After crossing the finish line at Lorient in France, the 28-year-old sailor remarked, "I always believed I could break the record, and Francis agreed it was breakable. But I really didn't think I would do it on the first attempt." What press releases don't say, and photos of her don't pick up, is her diminutive size. It seems quite remarkable that this young woman, who returned soda bottles to save for her first boat when she was a youngster of about 10, could travel the worlds oceans, alone, facing mountainous seas, icebergs and gale force winds that threatened to capsize her boat. At one point, she narrowly missed a collision with a whale. Early on in the race, MacArthur burned her arm trying to stop fumes and head leaking into her cabin, and on the return Atlantic leg, she suffered some severe bruises to her arm after scaling the mast to make repairs. MacArthur's indomitable spirit captured the imagination of an international audience, and gave sailing the prominence that is so often lacking. The sailing community congratulates Dame Ellen, and thanks her for taking us all on a vicarious and wonderful trip around the world in B&Q. For more information on future adventure of this very special lady, go to http://www.teamellen.com.
It's official. The 32nd America's Cup is a 12-team event. As the challenge deadline arrived last Friday afternoon, the entries to the 2007 event stand as the most diverse in the 154-year history of the Cup. According to Michel Bonnefous, the CEO of the America's Cup Management, "With challengers representing nine countries, this is not just one of the biggest, but it is by far the most diverse America's Cup in history. We have three countries participating for the first time - South Africa, Germany and China, and five continents are represented, reinforcing the global appeal of the America's Cup." He added, "This is exactly what we wanted for the first America's Cup in Europe. It is very gratifying to see the hard work that the teams and organizers have put in come to fruition." As a comparison, in 1987, there were 13 challengers from six countries in Australia, and 11 challengers from seven countries in 1999 in Auckland. According to the defending yacht club, Swiss Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), 12 syndicates submitted dossiers by deadline. A challenge dossier from China Team is being evaluated and will be added as the 12th syndicate when it has been accepted. The 11 teams accepted for the 2007 America's Cup: Team Alinghi (Switzerland), the defender, BMW Oracle Racing (USA), +39 Challenge (Italy), Team Shosholoza (Africa), Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ), Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), K-Challenge (France), Victory Challenge (Sweden), Desafio Espanol (Spain), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (Italy) and Untied Internet Team (Germany).
The upcoming event might be diverse, at least in a geographical sense, but the cost of doing business with America's Cup Management is rather high. So high, in fact, that Dennis Conner will be sitting on the sidelines for the first time in 30 years. Conner, who has won and lost the oldest trophy in international sports more than any man in history, has said for more than a year that he likely would be priced out of the next America's Cup. Just to get to the starting line, it is estimated it will cost most syndicates between $50 - 60 million, while others estimate it could go as high as $150 million. Not only is Conner not in the mix, but Russell Coutts and Paul Cayard will also skip the 2007 event. So the three C's - Conner, Coutts and Cayard - the best sailors in the world - will not be on the starting line in Valencia, and that is a very sad not for the sailing world. Whoever wins in 2007 will always have to wonder if they could have beaten any one of the three C's.
For those young women looking for a college that has a good women's sailing program, it may make sense to check out the qualifying entries for the 2005 ICSA North American Women's Dinghy Championship regatta. The teams listed to compete at the University of Texas on June 1-3 include (in alphabetical order): Brown, College of Charleston, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Eckerd College, Georgetown University, Harvard, Hobart & William Smith College, Old Dominion University, Texas A&M University at Galveston, US Naval Academy, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Stanford, University of Minnesota, University of Southern California, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Yale. Readers can follow the action at www.collegesailing.org, and www.texassailing.org
Phil Trinter, who lives in Port Washington, but hails from Lorain, Ohio, will be inducted into the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame. Phil's sailing career has taken him all over the world from Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda and even Athens, Greece to compete in last summer's Olympics. While the professional, world-class sailor has been to numerous exotic places, he learned how to sail while growing up in his childhood home in Lorain, Ohio. For his sailing accomplishments and various football achievements, Phil is being recognized by his home town in a very appropriate way. Congratulations to Phil and the whole Trinter family for this well-deserved honor.