May 04, 2013

Who's Your Daddy?

by Pam

The Kirby situation has been weighing heavy on my mind. Doug and I have now had contact with attorneys from two parties and representatives from another two parties. 

I get that the officers of the ILCA are sailors, friends and good people just trying to do the right thing, with the exception of maybe one individual (according to multiple sources with years of personal experiences). Even Bruce Kirby would acknowledge that the officers are trying to do what they think is right. How can things get so messed up when so many people are trying to do the right thing?  Almost everyone involved in this mess from the sailors to the ISAF and even Rastegar are trying to do the right thing. The definition of “right” and “trying” seems to vary widely.

So, Doug and I were at a starting clinic last weekend. It was mostly juniors and they were quite skilled. I spent the first day getting rolled repeatedly and it reminded me of my brother. My brother is a tennis pro and when he wants to mess with his friend when playing tennis, he’ll stand in one place and hit the ball from one side of the court to the other and as his friend frantically runs back and forth he’ll call out, “Who’s your Daddy, who’s your daddy?” 

Well, those damn dear kids were my Daddy at that starting clinic. And before the end of the day, I had more daddies than I needed so I enjoyed a nice, long, leisurely, downwind sail back to the club all by myself. I started the day in the middle of a pod of dolphins and ended it surfing waves. It was a glorious day. The next day I sat out and watched while Doug played ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ and good as he is, sometimes he wasn’t the Daddy.

As my mind wandered on Kirby, the ILCA and ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ I was thinking about a guy I work with who is a strategic thinker. When I told him I was a sailor, he shared his first experience of sailing with me. Guy spent 10 years with the FBI and looks the part of FBI SWAT, which he was, but he also worked in cybercrime. He broke into the hard drives of terrorists and figured out how they think. Guy appears to have a photographic memory and he connects dots, weighs options and simplifies problems into very easy solutions. Which made his sailing experience all the more entertaining.

When Guy was younger, he and his brother were at the beach and decided to go sailing. It was a small boat with one sail and they were very briefly instructed and pushed away from the beach heading straight out into the ocean. About two miles out they decided to turn and go back to the beach. There was plenty of wind but they couldn’t get that boat to go anywhere and the sun was starting to set. So, they took turns tying the painter around themselves and swimming the boat back to shore. Obviously they went out on a run and were head to wind on the return. They solved their problem with a crude but effective solution.

So, as these things popped into my head, I got it. The officers of the ILCA are good people.  They are intelligent and they are trying to do the right thing but they are volunteers. Sailing is their game. Dealing with the politics of sailing and hostile takeovers is not their thing. The appearance is that they have chosen sides and sided with Rastegar. From what little I know, I think Rastegar has been playing ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ with the ILCA and others for many years now and they are frantically running from one side of the court to the other. Despite their intelligence and desire to do the right thing, they are out of their element and, at best, their solutions in the business game, will be crude, like swimming a boat back to shore instead of sailing it. All the parties involved in this mess think they are looking down the road but some parties are thinking about the good of sailing and other parties are not. On a race course, I’ll bet on a sailor but in business, that would be an unwise bet.

Last week I had a friendly dispute at work and it was suggested that we solve it with the “champion” method and the other party said, ‘I pick Guy, your pick.’ Trying to think of something Guy couldn’t do, and since Doug had met all these people, I said, I choose Doug and I choose sailboat racing since I know Guy prefers to swim boats around the course. Guy, who could have easily been named Tank, strolls over and casually warns me that he’s been highly trained to sink any and all types of watercraft and maybe I should reconsider. Well, it is clear that not only would Guy win, but I would have a perfectly good Laser at the bottom of the lake when he was done and with the uncertain supply of where to buy new Lasers these days, it was easier to just admit defeat.

Hiring a Guy type who can get into the heads of terrorists that like to blow things up would surely come up with a more elegant solution to the Laser mess than all the conflict that has increased as a result of crude solutions. After all, who has any clue what motivates Rastegar? Why is a non-sailor in the sailing business? We all know that there is no money to be made in sailing. At least not the way he’s running the business. Does the man just like playing ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ with the various parties? How I would dearly love it if the ILCA were to engage a strategic thinker and, to borrow my favorite phrase of Guy’s, just hand the entire mess over and say, “Here, unfuck this.”

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