Fitch was a fighter pilot who survived being shot down. Then he went on to be a successful race car driver—after racing yachts. Fitch socialized with royals—he was kissed by Evita after he won the 1951 Grand Prix of Argentina, and the best line of his obituary might be this one:
He liked to tell the story of how he met the Duke of Windsor at one soiree: they were relieving themselves on a bush at the time. The duke became a friend.
Fitch also was a leader in automobile safety; he invented the impact-softening barrels ubiquitous on highway off-ramps to this day, credited with saving 17,000 lives. He was even tapped to design a Chevy sports car, which led to him being “Nadered” before the term had been invented—Ralph was a consumer advocate at the time and pushed Chevy to stop production. The way this philosopher/Ricky Bobby summed it all up: “I always needed to go fast.” Needless to say, it’s worth a read.
And worth reconsidering the notion of “live fast, die young.”
There’s nothing sweeter than the taste of victory—drenched in champagne. This snap comes from the winner’s podium of the America’s Cup where Team Oracle fought their way back from dead last to cross the finish line first in the San Francisco Bay this past weekend. And as you might have suspected, guys who race yachts for a living know their way around a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon (official sponsors, naturally). Though you might want to be more careful about not getting it in your eyes.
Summertime has brought with it a billion-dollar conundrum: you love the superyacht, but its massive hull deems shallow-watered ports inaccessible. Numerous dredging requests have gone unanswered by the Monégasque government. Normally, you’d risk it and just ease her in, but, well, Showtime’s had Titanic on a loop for the last month and a half...
Luckily, we at Kempt are in the business of solving billion-dollar conundrums. Allow us to introduce you to the SS Hemisphere, the largest catamaran ever built. Most importantly, it’s got the roominess of a destroyer, but the depth of a dinghy.
The 139-foot trimaran, which last week won Best Yacht Design at the 2012 Asia Boating Awards, will spend most of the summer traveling between two Indonesian islands owned by Anto and Elaine Marden, who commissioned the superyacht from McConaghy Boats five years ago. All functionality aboard the $15 million Adastra can be controlled by an iPad, which strikes us as dangerous, particularly after downing a half-dozen Singapore Slings on the panoramic deck saloon. Luckily, the hull is made of Kevlar.
But you might want to keep an eye out for her this weekend, just to be safe.
Good Will Stunting:The Washington Post has the first day of Cannes in slideshow form. Most notably, more Sacha Baron Cohen stunts—involving a model and a yacht. [Washington Post]
Unsure, Unsure, Unsure:Esquire investigates parabens—the latest scapegoat in personal hygiene products (like deodorant). [Esquire]
Olympian Ablaze: A heartwarming sports story of an American Olympian hopeful known for being “the McEnroe of Ping-Pong” and his penchant for herb. [Grantland]
The Newest Americana-phile: Jay-Z is headlining/curating a Made in America concert in Philly. Rolling Stone gets the details, while standing in front of a Pop-Up-Flea-sized American flag. (Watch the throne, Mr. Lean.) [Rolling Stone]
When it comes to watches, we’d prefer form to follow function—and usually you wouldn’t expect that from a fashion label like Louis Vuitton.
But their Tambour America’s Cup Automatic Regatta is actually a very serious nautical chronograph—no gold stampings, no haute je ne sais quois. Just PVD casing, rubber bezel and strap and the pièce de résistance: an in-house movement. It seems the French fashion house has taken horology very seriously lately—we’re guessing around when they became the official timekeepers of global yachting race, the America’s Cup. (They’ve released this watch and its quartz doppelgänger in anticipation of the Italian leg of the race.) Aside from being made in-house—a sure sign of dedication to watch making—another nice benefit of the automatic movement is the addition of a power-reserve wheel (in blue), giving the dial an even sportier look. Paired with the rubber strap, you’ve got a decidedly rugged and summery watch.
Just when that lizard grain on your wrist has been getting muggy.
Apparently not everyone shares our sanguine take on Ralph Lauren’s Olympic uniforms. In fact, so far the web response to the outfits has been positively bloodthirsty.
Gawker—a reliable snark purveyor—calls out the polo logo for upstaging the Olympic rings. It’s true that the logo makes the branding play a little more shameless than it might have been, but that’s the American way. We’re building a brand here! This is for the good of the nation!
Scrambling for more angry voices, Gawker quotes a commenter on a fairly benign Project Rungay post, saying “They made the team look like a 1948 yacht club.” But, of course, that’s the whole point.
And, in case you were curious about the other, more hallucinatory parts of the pageantry, you can catch a colorful overview here.