Brian Edwards Media

America’s Cup Heresy


Generally speaking I’m not into sport. This is primarily because I’ve never been good at any sport and suffered ridicule at school as a result.

Boys attending the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (“Inst”) could choose between playing sport or joining the school cadet force. Doing neither was not an option.

I was a wimpy kid and terrified of any activity that might conceivably cause me even minor pain. This clearly ruled out rugby, leaving me a choice between cricket and the school cadet force.

I opted for the cadet force, perhaps imagining myself as an officer attracting the lustful glances of pretty German girls as I strode down the streets of Heidelberg, my swagger stick under my arm.

There was no swagger stick; the uniform consisted of uncomfortable brown serge and heavy black boots which you were required to polish with nasty, greasy stuff called blanco. The jumped-up little shits who had made it to corporal or sergeant were horrid and shouted at delicate flowers such as me, revenge no doubt for my being teachers’ pet in German, French and English classes and starring in all the school players. Poofter! Wanker! Suck-Up!

Then there was a ten-day camp. The poofters, wankers and suck-ups had their genitals smeared with blanco by the nation’s finest in the overheated nissan hut on night one – a prelude to a real wanking competition by the aforesaid “officers”. There were nine days and nights still to go.

There was a route-march on day two. Full uniform, heavy backpack, rifle: walk, run, drop to the muddy ground. “Keep up Edwards for fucksake!”

I burst into tears. “I want to go home, sir.”

A teacher drove me back to school where I was left to study in an empty classroom. The shame of it!

My mother wrote me a note, asking that I be allowed to quit the school cadet force.

That left the cricket option.

I won’t dwell on this too much. I could neither bat, bowl nor catch a ball. Bowlers used me to see how many times they could get me out. And I had a new nickname which I wore with just a hint of ironic satisfaction – Hat Trick Edwards!

Now where was I? Oh yes, the America’s Cup. It’s probably heresy to say this, but those things aren’t really yachts, are they? I mean, a yacht is a type of boat, isn’t it? A boat with one or more sails. And it has a hull. And about a third of the hull is under water. So these machines really aren’t yachts. They’re low-flying aircraft.

Just saying!


  1. Sounds like a normal day when I was a boarder at Nelson Boy’s College…

  2. “Bowlers used me to see how many times they could get me out.” You were lucky. Bowlers used to aim at me and when they decided I had enough bruises, the wicket keeper pretended to set fire to the stumps. The teachers seemed to approve.
    By the way, blanco is the white stuff that goes on your webbing.

  3. I hate to be a pedant, but I learned it from your good self.

    It is actually a Nissen hut…with an e not an a.

  4. Still amazing to watch those great hunks of technology fly down the track

  5. Agreed, pjr! Simply awesome. Hi-tech is yet another thing we’re good at, so let’s milk it. Had learning German been deemed a sport, Brian might today hold a keen interest in rugby, rowing, cycling and just possibly, the Noble Art itself!