You watched the Bears romp the Patriots from your own box in New Orleans. You watched the Live Aid concert from backstage. You flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see a total eclipse of the sun and now you're looking for something to do.
Has Peter Rowe got a deal for you. A four-month, Dom Perignon cruise for two to the America's Cup in Perth, Australia, by way of Djibouti, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, you name it, all for a scanty $300,000.
That includes anything -- ANYTHING -- you want to eat or drink at any time, 24 hours a day, all tips, your personal video recorder and the heated swimming pool and spa and the platform that lowers from the stern for scuba diving.
The promise here is Paradise at Sea, no less; a watery date with a luxury liner modestly called Sea Goddess I. It's just a satellite call away. Just set up a meeting with Mr. Rowe (international sales director of Australia's Tony Maine and Associates), for a suite on the 4,000-ton, 350-foot floater, the most exclusive seat for the most exclusive yacht race in the world.Persuade your spouse. Butter up your shareholders. Limo, don't walk, to this cruise. "To be in America's Cup in the best possible way," declares Rowe, "you have to be on Sea Goddess . . . Everything is taken care of."
"On board Sea Goddess," reads the splashy four-color brochure, "there are no charges and no money."
And this, Potential Patron, is what you get: Starting from Piraeus, Greece, in October, you glide to Port Said, Egypt, and then meander magnificently to Perth via Djibouti (the troublesome gunfire across the water should have died down by this time), the Maldive Islands, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Singapore, Thousand Islands (Indonesia, not the dressing), and Bali; with Australian stops at Dampier, Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney and Portsea.
When you get to Fremantle (the port of Perth), the cruise offers you a land-lounge ashore (a converted cargo ship) where you may luxuriate on terra firma. Should you wish to gallivant in Perth, the Mercedes minibus will take you places. And for those items of interest elsewhere in the Great Outback, Australia's Ansett Airlines will fly you (or your spouse, or the corporate clients you have given the suite to) wherever you pay for. But of course you will want to see The Race, and Sea Goddess I (there's a II ambling around in the Caribbean somewhere) will follow each and every yacht-to-yacht encounter (there are qualifying rounds before the final best-of-seven races) in the spectator fleet. At the end of this cruise you will be more than primed for the finale -- for which you hope America has qualified over fellow challengers Canada, New Zealand, Britain, France and Italy.
Friends, it'll be a wallet-piercing blast and a great way to fill up that listless final quarter of 1986.
The cruise is the brainchild of Westpac, the largest bank in Australia. The purpose of the venture, says Rowe, is for Westpac "to break even and create an image for themselves . . . "It's a business adventure for them."
According to a spokeswoman for Sea Cruise Cruises Limited (based in Miami), Westpac paid approximately $6.5 million for that image. The bank won't leave it there: Members of Westpac will have one or two of the 58 suites and will have the opportunity to, er, network. There will also be a large "W" logo pasted on the ship's funnel lest anyone forget whose charter this is.
Rowe, 28, is in charge of recruiting from the American continent. That means hitting the top corporations and old- or new-money individuals to buy a suite, which works out to approximately $2,200 a night (Rowe prefers that figure to the porcine $300,000), but who's counting. He is pausing in Washington on his way to San Francisco, having been in Chicago and New York this month. He will be pursuing prospects also in Los Angeles (where he will base his operations for two months), Hartford (although not for the insurance companies, he says), San Diego (the yacht club there; old money), Houston (who knows), Fort Lauderdale and Toronto.
Another sales partner is pushing touchtones and shaking hands in Europe and Asia, trying to entice individuals and corporate sponsors of the yacht challengers, with stops in Britain, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan and other international datelines.
Westpac is looking for just a few affluent entities to fill the luxury suites. It could be IBM, it could be Yoko. It could be the Hunts or Harrods; Mr. Old Money of Newport or Mr. New Money of Okinawa. Rowe, an amiable and jacketed gentleman, has at his disposal a list of 250 corporate and 150 individual prospects for his first sweep of the continent. Naturally he will not reveal the names, but you know he won't be calling Mitch Snyder.
"I'm going where I have to," he says simply. "Depending on who's interested."
When he makes the appointment with prospects, Rowe will boast of the ship's (oh the cheapness of that word) sauna, gymnasium, piano bar, library, pool, whirlpool and impeccable Norwegian staff (Sea Goddess is owned by Norwegian high roller Helge Naarstad). He can entice 'em with snappy talk of the windsurfers aboard, or the powerboats, which the more athletic among the bigwigs can summon for a brisk water-ski. What's the sexiest feature on the boat, the salesman is asked. "The casino," says Rowe, with un petit glint to the eye.
Rowe will be in the United States until March, he says. "That's the target -- to have the boat sold by March and of course if it isn't we'll keep going." And he leaves in his wake, a slick VHS cassette called "The Ultimate America's Cup."
Just think: "If this is October," you'll be saying at the end of the year, "it must be Bali."
At the end of it all they'll send your tanned little body home in February. But the return trip is extra.