Lippy from the Liffey: Inside Eddie Jordan's hectic summer yachting season
by Eddie Jordan
Seeing my mate Ben Ainslie and his Land Rover BAR team lose to Emirates Team New Zealand in Bermuda was pretty disappointing, especially since we know what he’s capable of on the race course. I liken it to motor racing. You can be the best driver in the world, like Fernando Alonso, an outrageously brilliant former world champion, but the equipment he’s got at McLaren just isn’t up to the job. I don’t know if that is the same with the BAR team, but it was pretty clear Ben didn’t have the speed of the Kiwi boat. At least he can say he was beaten by the eventual champions!
Emirates Team New Zealand is one hell of a set-up – and I think it’s fair to say that, when it comes to sailing, and rugby, you should never underestimate New Zealand. For a tiny country, they punch way above their weight.
I’ve got a prediction for you, too. Now they’re the champions and get to make all the rules, they’ll take the 36th America’s Cup back to monohulls. Maybe it’ll be foiling monohulls, but monohulls nonetheless. That will really shake things up.
The summer is always a crazy time for me, and I’m writing this column on a private jet on my way to Monaco from Farnborough. I’m still wearing my golfing get-up, since I just played with David Walsh, the chief sports writer at The Sunday Times. He was the guy who exposed the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, so it’s always interesting to hear what he’s got to say. Naturally we had a good chat about the America’s Cup.
I’m only in Monaco for about 12 hours, for the annual inauguration of new members to the Yacht Club de Monaco. There’s no sacrificing of chickens, or dodgy handshakes, just lots of people in blazers and a nice dinner. I proposed a new member this year, so he’ll get on stage with the Prince and be presented with the much coveted club tie. The boats in the harbour join in by flying all the bunting and flags. A lot of the chat around the club right now is about the America’s Cup going back to monohulls, and a lot of people are saying “thank God”.
I always looking forward to the end of July and a break, when the Formula One season wraps up. I picked up my Oyster 885 Lush in Corfu, then headed north to Montenegro and Croatia. I wanted to take in new islands and tiny little towns I hadn’t visited before coming back south to Kefalonia and going through the Corinth Canal to Athens and Crete.
The boat’s traversed the canal a bunch of times, but I have always had to hop off before as I inevitably had to fly somewhere. This time was different and I was on board for the whole passage. I’ve now ticked off two of the world’s great canals, having done Panama on my circumnavigation. That will just leave Suez – which might be 2018’s adventure.
One thing I always keep a close eye on when I’m in the Adriatic and around Greece is the wind. I got caught once before and endured probably my most horrific night ever on board. We went to bed at around 10pm after a nice drink and at 2am we woke up and the boat was almost upside down. We were in a tiny 14 metre Elan at the time, so were getting smashed to pieces. It was genuinely terrifying. I’m hoping we don’t get caught again, but if you don’t hear from me for a while I might be clinging to a rock in the middle of the Adriatic.
Eddie Jordan’s fee for this column has been donated to charity.