Morning Glory guns a rival to win the Rolex Maxi Worlds. Haven't we seen that strategy before?


Interesting to read the report on the Yachting World site of Hasso Plattner’s aggressive tactics in the Rolex Maxi Worlds, which he won on the final race by smothering his nearest rival, Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki. At first glance, it seems unsporting – but why should it?

Strategies such as this are everyday fodder in Olympic racing. Remember when Ben Ainslie famously duelled with Robert Scheidt in the 2000 Olympics and sailed him down the fleet to win a Gold? Same idea exactly and Ainslie, the grand master, was rightly viewed as a hero.

If Plattner, the 63-year-old CEO of SAP (pictured right), wanted to he could be racing with people he hadn’t paid to be there, and socialising with crews he’s not trying to beat at any cost. He could be doing the Sonata Nationals or the 12-Metre Worlds. Obviously he enjoys a different game, where everyone is gambling high stakes to win.

Let’s see: a full complement of top professionals; crew accommodation and expenses; positioning costs; maybe a new sail or two… all told, I doubt Herr Plattner will have got much change from a quarter of a million. When the paid hands suggested ‘Mission Loki’ as a legitimate way of winning, they were doing what they were paid for.

We non-billionaires are well out of this sort of game. Particularly as it could have been much worse. Plattner is, by his own admission, the guy who dropped his trousers and mooned at Larry Ellison’s support boat after it failed to come to his aid when he dismasted in the 1996 Kenwood Cup. Which is all very edifying.

Photo courtesy Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The issue is that whilst Ainslie and Scheidt were dueling in identical boats, in this case it was not even, as Plattner’s much larger boat could easily recover a controlling position if the smaller ‘Loki’ ever managed to escape. Whilst it doesn’t excuse some of the comments made afterwards, Plattner’s actions are pretty deplorable and one would hope isn’t repeated too often in future.Matt Brown.