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Jury Bounces Swedes from Victory in Act V of America's Cup

June 27 - Valencia, Spain

The two Swedish boats
Photo Courtesy www.americascup.com

A routine boat inspection after the final race of Act V - the fleet racing off of Valencia - bounced the seemingly victorious Swedish Victory Challenge from the leaderboard. The problem was their boat had too much water in their bilge. It might have been a mere technical violation, but it was enough to get them DSQ'd. This left Italy's Luna Rossa and the Swiss Alinghi team with the top scores. Luna Rossa was declared the winner through the tie-breaker system.

BMW Oracle was good but not that good. Her best finishes were two thirds, but a torn chute dropped her to 10th in one race. She would have been fifth of 12 boats had Victory not been dropped to sixth.

Saturday's Act V fleet racing
Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Surprisingly, there were no significant collisions. There were big crowds and a big buzz in Valencia. Alas, the sailing conditions weren't that great, with just 4 to 8-knot winds in the last race.

Expert Marin Boat-Namer Instantly Becomes Multi-Billionaire

June 27 - Tiburon

If you've spent much time on the Sausalito side of the Bay, at Ayala Cove, or the dock at Sam's Anchor Cafe in Tiburon on Sundays, you've no doubt seen a loud and obnoxiously-operated red cigarette-type boat roaring around, often with topless women. Although we've often been embarrassed to admit it, we're good friends with the owner, Richard 'Rick' Parasol of Tiburon, because we've belonged to the same swim club for 25 years. In addition, we've often talked boats, because in the '90s he bought a ketch and cruised her - with topless women - round the Caribbean. She was ultimately lost in a hurricane.

When we asked Rick how he came to name his boat Rude, he laughed. "I showed it to my daughter Ruth one day, and she said, 'Dad, that's so disgusting, it's rude.'" Far from being insulted - Rick loves attention, no matter if it's good or bad - that's what he named his boat. And Rick operated the thing true to her name.

The name Ruth Parasol may ring a bell, because today she became the wealthiest working woman in the world, as PartyGaming PLC, the company she owns 40% of with her husband, just went public on the London Stock Exchange for $8.48 billion. Yes, billion!

Thirty-eight-year-old Ruth and her husband's share of that IPO was $3.3 billion - before the stock jumped 10% in early trading. To give you an idea of the money we're talking about, PartyGaming is now worth more than British Airways. As for Ruth Parasol, she's the wealthiest working woman in the world. Number two is Doris Fisher of The Gap - who at 1.5 billion is worth less than half of Parasol. As for Oprah Winfrey, you may see her face everywhere, and she may give cars to her entire audience, but she's small change at somewhere under a billion.

What makes it all very interesting is that the U.S. government had said that PartyGaming PLC is in violation of three federal statutes: the Interstate Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Travel Act - because online gambling is illegal in the U.S., and because 90% of PartyGaming's revenue comes from U.S. residents. As such, all the principles are subject to arrest and imprisonment. That's why the company isn't traded on any of the exchanges in New York, and one of the reasons Ruth is living in Gibraltar. Another is that taxes are low. This threat from the U.S. government made estimates of PartyGaming's IPO as low as $5 billion just two weeks ago, but investors obviously didn't ultimately care.

As for 'Rick Rude', as he's known to us, he apparently doesn't have any stock in the company. His daughter had worked for and with him for several years, then they had a bitter falling out over business. Rick told us they reconciled, but perhaps not to the point of being business partners again.

According to the newspapers in the U.S. and England, Rick made all his money in massage parlors in San Francisco, and later on Internet sex sites. But that's not true. Rick says he just owns a building in which there is a massage parlor, and that his and Ruth's company didn't do the sex sites, they just did the billing for them. But in the 20 or more years that we've known Rick, he's always been affluent. We know he started out making a lot of money developing apartment houses for HUD, and still owns at least one big one.

In fact, while Rick can be rude and crude, he does have a heart of gold. He was uncharacteristically down in the dumps one day at the pool, so we asked him why. He explained that he has a 200-unit or so apartment house in the South Bay with working class tenants. He said he was upset because the other person in the deal wanted to raise the rents just because they could. "We've got all these tenants busting their asses in low wage jobs just trying to pay their rent," he moaned, "and this other person wants us to squeeze another $250,000 a year out of them. It makes me sick." This was about five years ago.

Parasol spent last summer in the Med, cruising around on a 90-ft motoryacht he'd just bought - with topless women, of course - and on a jet he'd also just bought. In addition to loving women and boats, Rick's always loved and owned planes.

We haven't seen Rick in about a month, and at that time he was recovering from an infection contracted during a knee operation. The infection had nearly killed him. As for Rude, she's no longer berthed at Schoonmaker - much to the delight of many of her more quiet neighbors.

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