WORDS AND DEEDS
Michael Fay, the Auckland investment banker who is trying to force the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) to accept his challenge for a two-out-of-three-race America's Cup that would be sailed next year in supermaxis (yachts measuring 130 feet), has picked up some allies lately. First Arthur Santry, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, filed an affidavit in support of Fay's lawsuit in New York Supreme Court. Next, Australia's Alan Bond, who won the Cup in 1983, put pressure on San Diego by announcing that if Fay's suit failed, he would donate a gold cup and a $2 million prize for an international series among supermaxis.
At issue is the wording of the 100-year-old America's Cup Deed of Gift, which dictates the terms of the Cup competition if the contesting parties can't agree. For decades no challenger chose to disagree with the terms proposed by the Cup's longtime trustee, the NYYC; hence, reference to the Deed was rare. Now Fay, whose 12-meter, Kiwi Magic, was the surprise of the 1987 Cup races, argues that the Deed requires the SDYC to accept his challenge or forfeit the Cup. In response, the SDYC has petitioned the court for a rewording of the Deed to make it consistent with recent practice—meaning the SDYC would name the place, the date and the type of vessel for the next Cup defense. As a result, the court's decision is crucial to the future, perhaps even the survival, of the America's Cup.
Santry's affidavit states that if the court were to grant San Diego's petition, "each future trustee of the Cup would be able to dictate whatever terms for the challenge and defense of the Cup seemed best to suit the interests of that trustee." Meanwhile, Bond's offer to stage a supermaxi series is sure to appeal not only to Fay, but also to Britain's Peter de Savary, who has expressed his support for Fay's proposal to sail the America's Cup in big boats. If three such prominent Cup veterans were to defect, others would likely follow, and San Diego could find itself the trustee of a 136-year-old white elephant.
BEANTOWN ON THE WABASH
Larry Bird's Boston Connection hotel isn't in Boston—it's near the banks of the Wabash, in Bird's home territory, Terre Haute, Ind. Actually, it's less a hotel than a theme park with rooms, all 109 of them equipped with extra-long beds. The dining room, called the The MVP Club, displays Bird's many trophies. The family restaurant, called the Boston Garden, has championship banners hanging from the ceiling and a glass-walled free-throw court, where restless customers can shoot baskets while they wait for their meals. The waitresses in the Bird's Nest lounge are outfitted as Celtics cheerleaders might be, if the Celtics had cheerleaders. In short, if green turns you green, pass it by.
Bird, who prefers not to reveal the extent of his financial interest in the hotel, nevertheless says he will be a frequent visitor in the off-season. "There are a lot of kids out there in the lobby," he says.
You can't miss him, kids. He's the one in the black sneakers.
THE OTHER STRIKE
The NFL players' strike isn't the only labor-management dispute affecting the quality of life in America's living rooms this fall. Because of a walkout by NABET (the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians), which began on June 29, NBC Sports has been forced to use middle-level executives, secretaries and freelancers to operate its cameras, replay machines and other high-tech gadgets. As a result, the production of the baseball playoffs has seemed, in some instances, as amateurish as scab football.