Conner, for one, gives the edge in skippers to Cayard. But when it comes to tartness of tongue, this Cup rates as a toss-up. Koch and Gardini have raced their Maxi boats against each other for several years, but the rivalry has not exactly bred mutual respect. Asked how he felt about Cayard's sailing for Italy, Koch answered dryly, "It's hard for me to imagine having an Italian green card. But that's Paul's choice. He's a professional sailor. He goes where the money is."
Cayard's view of Koch is similarly acid. " Bill Koch had no concept of sport and sport under pressure until a year ago," he says. "He started competitive sailing eight years ago, when he was 43. So he's 35 years behind the 8 ball and probably always will be."
Sharpen up the knives, mateys. Sounds like that "friendly competition between foreign countries," which the Deed of Gift for the America's Cup describes, is finally at hand.