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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Michael Vaughan announces retirement from sailing


Blimey. Turn up to Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series gig in Cardiff where I expect to see the world’s best sailing commentator Leigh McMillan and the world’s 81st richest bloke Ernesto Bertorelli among others and who do we see?

Michael Vaughan (right) talks to GAC Pindar's Mark Bulkley
Michael Vaughan – the England cricket captain before Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff (did I miss anyone?) – standing at the top of the pontoon shaking his head and announcing he had retired from sailing.

It took me a while to get oriented. What on earth was a cricketer like Vaughan doing at a sailing event? And why was he announcing his retirement when to my knowledge, he’d never sheeted off in anger in his life.

The last time I was that disoriented by the sailing-cricket intersection was in January when I was walking down the pontoon in Abu Dhabi when suddenly I see Graeme Swann running towards me shouting ‘Hello beautiful’!! 

I kid you not and no, he wasn’t drunk though he might have forgotten my name. He was with Alastair Cook, the current England cricket captain, and the pair had driven up from Dubai where they were just about to play (and lose) their first Test against Pakistan to go sailing on one of the Volvo 70 boats as guests of the Volvo Ocean Race. 

When I am covering sailing, I expect to see sailing folk. When I’m on cricket, I expect to see Swann or Cook or Vaughan so for a moment there in Cardiff I was confused. But Vaughny was there as a guest of GAC Pindar, sponsors of one of the Extreme 40s and trying his hand at sailing....for the first time, as it turned out. 

He had been out on an X40 in Cardiff Bay and had found the whole thing very scary...well, the breeze was around 20 knots and those things fly a hull in around three so I can’t blame him. There was nothing to hang on to and I think he felt a little exposed and shell-shocked. 

So that’s Michael Vaughan’s sailing career done...and dusted in the space of half an hour. Funnily enough, had it been a Help for Heroes soldier, of the wounded sort who did Round the Island with us in 2011, those conditions would have left massive grin on radiant face. 

Do you want to meet Michael Vaughan, I asked Team GB silver medallist Luke Patience who was there hoping desperately that one of the sailors would drop out so he could have a go. Yeah, sure, brilliant, fab, he said then whispered as we were heading over......who’s Michael Vaughan??   

By then, Vaughan and Paul Goodison, who this week is coaching the Oman Sail guys, were deep in conversation about Sheffield football because that is where they both come from. Not sure if they both support the same team but they had a typical footie exchange (ie INANE) before moving onto something much more interesting, the resignation of England captain Andrew Strauss.

Yes, good time for Strauss to go...but no, Kevin Pietersen will not be back any time soon...and that just about sums up the answers to all the big cricket questions at the moment. I disagree with him about KP. I think he will be back soon because I think Andy Flower will make it his priority to sort it out. 

KP is a rare and amazing talent and although he is a jumped up nob of a prick at times, he merits a special effort, management wise. Vaughny thinks KP is incapable of learning from this latest sorry episode but I think differently. 

Whatever, it is a huge problem for Flower, KP and now Cook  to resolve.....

But where were we? Oh yes on the start line of the Extreme 40 event in Cardiff and of course, by the time the boats fired off, Vaughny was drinking Americanos in the back of a limousine. Probably. Nice to see him though.


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