Eddie Everywhere going nowhere fast
Power without glory: Peter Costello (left) and Eddie McGuire (right) aboard Rhapsody. Photo: Ken Irwin
''JUST make sure you put me in the middle of the frame so they can't crop me.''
That's what Collingwood Football Club president, radio host and TV presenter Eddie McGuire yelled, standing in the middle of a fishing boat, as camera shutters snapped on Thursday.
Well, there's a reason why they call him Eddie Everywhere.
Shaky start: Running aground before the start. Photo: Ken Irwin
McGuire was among more than 500 corporate heavyweights and spouses taking to the water off Victoria's summertime
playground of the rich, Sorrento, for the annual Couta Boat Classic put on by global accounting firm KPMG.
McGuire and wife Carla were aboard the Rhapsody, one of the 50-odd boats, sails taut with wind, carving through the waters of Port Phillip Bay.
At stake, little but pride, glory and bragging rights, as the race boasts no trophy.
Also aboard with the McGuires: former treasurer Peter Costello and wife Tanya, and the nation's highest-paid public servant, Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour, with wife Dionnie.
While CBD wouldn't dream of cropping McGuire, it appears Mother Nature looks less kindly upon the ubiquitous Melburnian.
The wind dropped away in the second half of the race, leaving sails sagging and Rhapsody all but becalmed.
BETTER luck for ASX boss Elmer Funke Kupper, aboard Romy with wife Joanne.
Romy's crew - including former Toll Holdings CFO Neil Chatfield, who now sits on the Transurban board, and Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted - led the race in the early stages.
Funke Kupper even threw a triumphant No.1 hand signal as the media boat chugged by.
But by the end of the race Romy had been pipped by last year's winner, Wagtail, which boasts at the tiller the steady hand of serious sailor Nick Williams.
Williams, the son of Crown Casino mastermind Lloyd Williams, was one of several high-profile business types who signed up to back the sport following the 2004 Athens Olympics, when Australia failed to win a single medal.
His couta boat claimed line honours, crossing the line comfortably ahead of Rhapsody.
COSTELLO'S son Seb is a reporter at the Nine Network, joining the embattled TV broadcaster in late November, and the former treasurer is himself reportedly in line to join a revitalised board now that the company has survived its near-debt experience.
But it seems the former politician maintains a healthy attitude towards the press (even if his columns for Fairfax Media have made him an occasional member of the fourth estate).
''Feeding the chooks, I see,'' he said to Leigh Clifford as the Qantas chairman fended off a pair of hacks.
CLIFFORD took the opportunity to defend his CEO, Alan Joyce, from the slavering pack of activist investors keen to unseat him, headed by merchant banker Mark Carnegie with support from door-to-door salesman and Gina Rinehart new bestie John Singleton.
''We have got in my opinion a first-class CEO who has said what he was going to do and consistently over the past year delivered on it,'' he said. ''There's been a few people and a couple of consortia opposed to that strategy and I entirely disagree [with them] and we'll be getting on with it.''
Funky in pink
BEFORE the race, clad in the fetching pink top KPMG handed out to all its guests, Funke Kupper was musing on the prospects of an election in faraway Italy.
Undeterred by criminal prosecutions and occasional assaults, living hairpiece
and bunga bunga enthusiast
Silvio Berlusconi is once
again considering running for office.
''That's bizarre, what can I say,'' Funke Kupper said.
While he admitted its drawbacks, Funke Kupper seems more of a fan of China's decidedly non-democratic once-a-decade leadership handovers.
''It provides wonderful consistency,'' he said.
Eddie's last word
UNSURPRISINGLY, McGuire ended up on the microphone touting a sponsorship deal between his beloved Pies and Victorian car club and insurer RACV.
''The deal is, they give us money and I tell the membership to stop knocking off the cars,'' he said.