Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Favorite Billionaire

There are certain things that can only be done when one has gobs of money. Solid gold bathroom fixtures, Picasso collecting, and diamond-encrusting everything are a few. While those are fine and dandy for run-of-the-mill billionaires, I prefer Richard Branson’s style. The guy has billions and doesn’t settle for art, wine, and cars. In 1986 he broke the Transatlantic record for speedboats, after sinking his vessel less than two-hundred miles from the British coast the previous year.

As of 2 o’clock this morning, he and his crew are attempting to shatter the Transatlantic sailing record. They left from New York City and are hoping to break the record which currently stands at 6 days 17 hours 39 minutes and 52 seconds. The attempt has been in the works for two years, waiting for optimum sailing conditions. In this case, optimum sailing conditions are ridiculous winds (including forty foot waves) and some of the most treacherous storms ever sailed. Why? Without these storms, the wind needed to break the record would not be strong enough. The crew’s main concern is to not break the boat. I would have some other concerns, notably sea sickness and sheer terror.

Richard Branson’s autobiography:
Losing my Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business my Way

Great Sailing Books:
The America's Cup: 1851 to the Present Day

Making Waves: the Inside Story of Managing and Motivating the First Women's Team to Compete for the America's Cup

The America's Cup: the History of Sailing's Greatest Competition in the Twentieth Century

The Race: an Inside Account of What it's Like to Compete in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race from Plymouth, England, to Newport, Rhode Island

If the voyage is successful the crew should reach landfall in southwestern Great Britain the evening of October 28th.

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