Friday, 31 August 2007

The Future's Bright, The Future's Fuxia?!?

Well ok, we at The Afterguard may have got a little carried away with the headline, but frankly it's hard not to with all the hype that's surrounding the all-female crewed Fuxia Challenge. Larry & Tommy, Ernesto & all at the ACM could all well do with taking a leaf out of Fuxia's book when it comes to PR - they sure can make something out of... well, you know the rest.

Frankly, we'd hate to be Italian and disinterested in sailing - the Italian media is so awash with stories about Fuxia that it must be hell!

Earlier this month The Afterguard published the first in its informative series 'Run Your Own America's Cup Campaign'. In our first instalment (read it here), we detailed the initial steps to success:

  1. Know the rules
  2. Represent a 'sailing' club
  3. Have something to sail - a boat preferably
  4. Make your challenge 'official' (you weren't following closely, were you UITG?)
Now it isn't beyond The Afterguard to overlook a detail or two here or there, and we're not too proud that we can't admit to the odd mistake. We'd also like to point out that the forthcoming second instalment in our series has always been intended to cover financial issues, including sponsorship and merchandising. Having clarified that, we must acknowledge that, as evident in the actions of Fuxia Challenge, we managed to overlook one of the first things to be sure of - long before even representing a sailing club or owning a boat - be sure to know where things stand design wise. There are two main issues:
  1. What colour will your boat be?Fuxia's boat will be an... erm... all fuxia affair; sails, hull, keel - the works. Fuxia.

  2. What will your crew wear?
    Fuxia's apparel is due to be launched at Italy's Castello degli Aragonesi on 19th September.
Once you've addressed these two primary concerns, then you can set about considering your other options. Fuxia, for example, appear to have worked with a list of over 100 potential sailing clubs. They've narrowed the possibilities to about 30, and now team principle Paolo Rivelli is closing in on the best five opportunities, two of which are Italian (Yacht Club Italiano is rumoured to be one). The final decision is promised 'in September'.

You'll need an aspirational figurehead - step forward famed Italian actress Ornella Muti. We suspect she has no connection with the team at all, but simply serves as inspiration.

Crew requirements are also being addressed. Top of the list comes, according to Rivelli, Claire Leroy. Also in the frame, so rumour indicates, is Alessandra Sensini and none other than Katie Spithill - it would make an interesting sideshow to see Katie take on brother James aboard Oracle - no pressure there then, James!

So, there you have it, more flesh on the bones of the Fuxia Challenge. Being entirely sincere for a moment, while much attention has recently been given over to the power struggle(s) for control of the America's Cup by the largest of teams, the spirit of the Cup is perhaps best represented by the smaller 'plucky' teams who, by virtue of their size, take on the greatest challenge and do so with infectious enthusiasm. With that in mind we do wish Fuxia Challenge well - they've stated their intention to challenge by 31st December 2007. We have attempted to contact Paolo Rivelli in order that we might cover his story in his own words, but so far we have heard nothing. If you are reading this, Paolo, drop us a line at the email address at the top of this page - we'd love to hear from you.

In the meantime, when looking for potential sponsorship, do go for those telecom giants like Vodafone, O2 etc - but give Orange a miss, it would never work.

Sources: Various, including Affari Italiani, Mariantic, TempusVitae, Tuttosport, Luna Rossa e Dintorni, amongst others.

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