Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pink With Envy

I can’t believe that the jealousy has begun already. Sixteen year old Jessica Watson hasn’t even arrived in Sydney yet to complete her voyage around the world, and already the knives are coming out. Yesterday it was reported that the editor of Sail World magazine is claiming that Jessica will not have covered enough nautical miles to qualify for an official round the world record. And today it has been revealed that the Pink Lady Apples company has written to Jessica’s management to advise that the name of her yacht “Ella’s Pink Lady” infringes their copyright.

I suspect that most of us didn’t even know that there is a Pink Lady Apples company and we might have thought that it was simply the name of the popular variety of apple, but apparently it is a registered trademark like so many other things we take for granted in life. At this point, the Pink Lady Corporate machine isn’t seeking to penalize Jessica by way of financial compensation but has advised her not to do anything which might damage the brand, whatever that means.

Of course, the reality is that boats are commonly referred to as “Lady”, and always as female, while Jessica’s yacht happens to be pink, largely because that colour is associated with her sponsor Ella Bache. So it’s perfectly reasonable to call it Ella’s Pink Lady and I am quite certain that no one is going to mistake it for an apple of any variety. The Pink Lady Apple Corporation has also take exception to the design of Jessica’s logo, which features a heart, claiming that it also resembles their own logo, utterly ignoring the fact that a heart shape is so thoroughly generic that I am surprised that anybody has been able to trademark it at all.

As for the claim that Jessica has not travelled enough sea miles to claim an official world record, I have to wonder just what sort of petty jealousy is behind that. Fair enough the official World Speed Sailing Record Council rules might require a distance of 21600 nautical miles to be covered, but the fact is that Jessica has sailed around the world, and is the youngest person to have ever done it solo and unassisted. Her management insists that there is no official record recognized for sailors under 18, so the whole argument is pointless. Worse than that, I believe that it is petty and jealous.

Perhaps she should have painted the boat green instead.

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