With a minimum of fanfare, Team New Zealand recently appointed just the third skipper in their 20-year existence.
The fact Glenn Ashby is not a New Zealander and not even a helmsman has created no ripples. Probably it is because the manner of his predecessor’s departure captured all the headlines; possibly it is because he’s such a driver of the team culture that he is viewed among his teammates as an honorary Kiwi.
“I’m honoured to have the team put me in this position,” the 37-year-old Victorian, who is also director of sailing, said. “I really feel as a group we’re in a really strong position going forward and that’s one of the reasons I rejoined Emirates Team New Zealand.”
It wouldn’t have been because of money. Ashby’s multihull pedigree – he was an Olympic silver medallist in the Tornado and the owner of eight consecutive A-Class world championships – and form meant he was a hot commodity after the last America’s Cup.
He could have signed for a lot more with other teams, but eventually chose to stay because, well, he liked the place.
“Having come from Oracle in the [Valencia] campaign, the Team New Zealand culture suits me very well.
“The work ethic, the culture of the team where everyone has everybody’s back and we crossover [between design, build, shore and sailing] to make sure no stone is unturned in any department is something I really enjoyed.
“It was a big influence for me re-signing. While things have been tough over the past 12 months, I [believe] that the people who are really important to the team are still with the team. It gives us the opportunity to step forward and make some big gains.
“Culturally, Team New Zealand is the strongest team in the America’s Cup at the moment.”
That might be surprising to hear given that there has been a big, black cloud hovering over Halsey St that has proved difficult to shift. The threat of closure if more Government money wasn’t forthcoming did not play out well and the departure of popular skipper Dean Barker was messier than mealtime at a daycare centre, but Ashby’s optimism remains undimmed.
After the first week of racing in the America’s Cup World Series, which saw Team NZ finish a creditable second at Portsmouth, his belief has increased. This was his first regatta as skipper and wunderkind Peter Burling’s first time at the helm and he liked what he saw.
“I recognised three or four years ago that continuing to raise the bar right through our sailing programme was really important. He [Burling] was recognised not just by myself, but a lot of the other team members as well. Peter and Blair Tuke were the sort of guys with the attributes we were looking for going forward.
“They were certainly identified as huge talents … . They’re at the top end of their [49er] Olympic sailing programme and in the high-performance world of yachting that we’re now in, this type of sailing really suits those younger guys.”
Ashby said that as a wing trimmer, he had no aspirations to be skipper. Certainly the move has caught some by surprise, though its logic is hard to fault. While it is normal for the helmsman to be skipper, Team NZ bosses feel there is already enough pressure on Burling, 24, without him having to deal with the peripheral issues.
Finally getting back on the water made the elevation feel more real, Ashby said.
“Absolutely. For me, being a yachtsman, the racing side of things for me is the thing that makes me tick.
“The last America’s Cup, that was tough how it ended, and the past 18 months have been tough, but that’s sport, that’s life, and I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.”
• Just Team NZ’s third skipper.
• Hails from inland Bendigo, Victoria.
• Lives at the Mornington Peninsula, Australia, and Pt Chevalier, Auckland.
• Silver medal at the 2008 Olympics with Darren Bundock.
• Multiple multihull world champion.
I am about to start my 9th transatlantic race on 7 different boats. I have sailed with a number of people as a result; and have warm memories of each race, each boat, and each and every person.
It is a fraternity that one can only join by competing.
I had news a few days ago that another of that fraternity had died. Peter Van Dyke passed away. A loss to our group.
Tom Ehman’s San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge is a great idea. The proposed boats are NOT 12 meters. The International rule is like a sonnet; it sets particular parameters that allow latitude. These boats as I see them and as described do not fit the rule.
These boats will be more lively and quicker on their feet, but they are not 12 meters.
There is no reason the 2 meter class could not do a regatta on the same format using 12 meters, not, not 12 meters.
I recently attended my 50th class reunion at St. George’s School. Everyone who could came; I think suddenly happy to be able to be seen.
No less, college memories are now distant memories. Blaze Starr was one. We were sailing at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. After dinner we headed for the “Block” in Baltimore. The photo of Blaze is the only proof I have that we were actually there.
Blaze Starr, Burlesque Stripper Linked to a Governor, Dies at 83
By ASHLEY SOUTHALLJUNE 16, 2015
Blaze Starr in New Orleans in 1959. Credit Associated Press
Blaze Starr, the voluptuous stripper who became one of the most famous burlesque performers in America, and whose affair with a Louisiana governor was the basis of a movie, died on Monday at home in Wilsondale, W.Va. She was 83.
She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, her nephew, Earsten Spaulding, said. In recent years, she had heart problems and underwent bypass surgeries, he said. She had been in pain on Sunday, he added, but she refused to go to the hospital after she began feeling better.
Ms. Starr, with a head full of red hair, an ample bosom and a penchant for playful humor, stoked the fantasies of her legions of admirers from the runways of burlesque clubs across the country for more than 30 years, seducing many men along the way.
Her most famous affair, with Gov. Earl K. Long of Louisiana, produced a scandal that was the basis for the 1989 film, “Blaze,” starring Paul Newman and Lolita Davidovich. The film was based on her memoir, “Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry,” published in 1974.
One of 11 children, she was born Fannie Belle Fleming on April 10, 1932, in Wilsondale, W.Va. As a child, she worked washing laundry for $1 a day.
In 1947, she traded a life in the coal fields and got on a bus to Washington, D.C., to pursue a career as a country singer. While working at a Mayflower Doughnut Shop, she met a promoter who convinced her to become a stripper instead.
At age 15, Ms. Starr began performing at a club near the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., before moving to Baltimore, where in 1950, she stepped onto the runway of the 2 O’Clock Club on the Block, a famous strip of adult entertainment shops and venues.
She gained national recognition in 1954, when she was featured in Esquire magazine, and continued performing for more than 30 years before hanging up her G-string and pasties in the 1980s to become a gemologist. She made jewelry, which she sold at a mall in suburban Baltimore.
Reflecting on her career as a stripper, she told The Baltimore Sun in 2010: “Honey, I loved it. But everything has its season.”
On stage, she often delighted crowds with the way she would tuck a rose between her bosom and blow the petals across her chest. Sometimes, she stretched out on a couch, wiggling and looking seductive while removing her garments. When she got to the last pieces, smoke emerged from between her legs, triggering laughter from the crowd.
She met Governor Long while performing at the Sho-Bar in New Orleans in 1959. She recalled their affair in her memoir, and also claimed to have had an affair with President John F. Kennedy after he attended one of her shows.
In an interview with People Magazine in 1989, she said she had stopped performing burlesque because it had become too raunchy.
Ms. Starr was married to Carroll Glorioso, the owner of the 2 O’Clock Club, for 12 years before they divorced.
Her survivors include five sisters: Betty June Shrader, Debbie Fleming, Berta Gail Browning, Mary Jane Davis and Judy Maynard; one brother, John Fleming; and a host of nieces and nephews.
In a short video profile filmed before the movie was released, Ms. Starr was asked whether she would change anything about her life.
“Not a thing,” she responded. “I would just do a lot more of it and try a lot harder, and seduce a lot more men than I did.”