The build up to the 2003 America’s Cup gets underway with an unusual press conference as new sponsor rises to the challenge

 Not since Bob Fisher’s quote in the 1987 America’s Cup when he wrote that, ‘a simple slip of a french letter could see French Kiss become French kids’, have we had so much fun with titillating double entendres. But today, the very personal problem of erectile dysfunction was the subject of the first press conference of the America’s Cup 2003 as America’s Cup organisers announced their new sponsorship agreement with Cialis, a treatment for ED as it appears to be known.

Following on from Team Dennis Conner’s Viagra sponsorship, this latest announcement is the second of it’s type in just one season of America’s Cup racing.

But there were more shocks in store as Dr Karen Mullen explained the scale of the illness as well as a frank explanation as to how the drug worked. Apparently forty percent of men over 40 suffer from the problem which she said implied that around 270,000 men in New Zealand alone could be sufferers. In describing how the drug worked and what the main differences were between this and Viagra, Dr Mullen went on to mention how Cialis was effective for up to 36 hours.

Apart from feeling that this was the most bizarre morning press conference of the entire series, few will have squirmed and sniggered so much since their first sex education lesson at school.

MC for the conference, Bruno Trouble was particularly concerned at some of the figures and statistics and joked that, “all of your numbers are scary, including the 36 hours!”

Of course the real news today was that Team New Zealand will be using NZL-82 for the Cup match itself, while Alinghi will have to use the same boat as they did for the Louis Vuitton finals, SUI-64.

Having said that, announcing the boat that the Kiwis are going to sail tells us little about what really lies beneath the waterline. Both teams have had plenty of time to tune, tweak and modify their boats. Tomorrow’s unveiling will reveal all as the skirts are dropped for the last time.

In the meantime, today’s issue has been concerned mainly with whether AC2003 are still hard up.