A federal judge recently ruled that the United States could not keep the America's Cup. The judge stated that by using a catamaran, the San Diego Yacht Club had raced unfairly against New Zealand, and many world-class American yachtsmen, including myself, went into mourning. It seemed unfair to lose the trophy just because we had discovered a new way to dunk the chaps down under. What to do?
An emergency meeting of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club was called. In the past, the VHYC had left it to the New York Yacht Club or the San Diego Yacht Club to do the racing - but now it looked as if it was time for others to save the day for the United States.Stern proposed, "I think that we should hire the captain of the Exxon oil tanker in Alaska as skipper."
Brown seconded his proposal, "I'll drink to that."
Clurman rose to object. "How do you know we can get him? He's the hottest sailor on the West Coast."
Stern answered, "We will appeal to him on navigational grounds. We'll tell him that he's not just going out there to win the cup back from the New Zealanders. He's also going to show them what Americans can do with a tall sail and a compass to steer her by. Captain (Joseph) Hazelwood is the only man for the job. Gentlemen, I suggest that we begin our trials."
"We can't because we don't have a hull," Guggenheim added.
"It doesn't matter," Stern replied, "he'll never know."
Van Ripper was not so sure. "Doesn't the man have a drinking problem?"
"Everybody who goes to sea has a drinking problem. That's why they have an automatic pilot," Wallace assured us.
"Do we have any other choices?" Styron wanted to know.
"No one in the same class as Hazelwood," Durr answered. "He's a household name."
"I'll drink to that," Eaton yelled. "How do we get him?"
Stern spoke up, "Until recently he was hiding out because everyone is trying to sign him up. I think we have the inside track if we appeal to his patriotism and send a case of champagne."
Stern continued, "It's essential that we move fast. We have to convince him that our boat is the one to win back the America's Cup. Once he realizes how seaworthy it is, he's bound to sign up."
"Wait," I said, "he's only captained oil tankers. Maybe he won't want to take command of a racing yacht."
"There's no difference between an oil tanker and a yacht. They both depend on the wind," Styron explained.
"Wait a minute. I heard that he has no driver's license," Van Ripper added.
Stern replied, "That's no big deal. We'll get his third mate to drive for him."
Hanged if Guggenheim didn't conclude with, "I'll drink to that."