Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Catbird Cayard Commissioned

I first wrote about the Black Pearl many moons ago – the boat is being built by a Walt Disney Co.-backed syndicate to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race, set to begin this coming November. According to news reports, celebrities will join on various legs - Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are among the names that have been passed about. And now we have news of another celebrity of sorts, at least in our world…Paul Cayard has apparently agreed to skipper the Black Pearl. This announcement lends a semblance of credibility to what was arguably a glorified (and expensive at $17 million) marketing stunt to promote Disney and it’s sequel to the movie Pirates of the Carribean. But at what expense to the reputation to this sailing icon? As this article details, Cayard, a 46-year-old San Francisco native, has sailed in five America's Cup campaigns and is a seven-time sailing world champion. He was selected Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year in 1998 and was elected to the Sailing World Hall of Fame in 2002. This is a serious sailor, now revealed as a shill for a profit-hungry, marketing mad corporation. Aren’t we all, you might ask? Good point. But we aren’t all Paul Cayard. Shouldn’t the guy be a little more discerning? Corporate sponsorship is nothing new but, in the context of a race that features the most competitive and skilled offshore racers in the world, it is a challenge to take the Disney effort very seriously…that is, of course, until Cayard came along…

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