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Rothschild takes pleasure in sailing

Rothschild likes the pleasurable things in life
Rothschild likes the pleasurable things in life

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Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is a banker and a winemaker, but for relaxation he takes to the waves as a sailor.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is a banker and a winemaker, but for relaxation he takes to the waves as a sailor.

His latest boat, Gitana X, began the trans-Atlantic Route du Rhum in early November, only to abandon the challenge a couple of days later when about seven metres broke off from the top of its mast. At least a dozen other competitors were forced to abandon after horrendous weather caused capsizes, disintegration and damage.

Despite owning the Gitana X, Rothschild has no plans to enter the single-handed race himself.

"I don't have the physical ability, and second I don't like being alone for such a long time and I like to sleep for a few hours in a row.

"I like to take pleasure in things I do."

He admires Gitana X skipper Lionel Lemonchois and the other sailors, especially the women.

"I think they are totally mad, but on the other hand they enjoy it and do it again and again, so they must take some pleasure."

Rothschild plans to be the navigator when Gitana competes in Grand Prix events next year, fitting in time for his passion with his business schedule.

"I take this as my holiday, that's why I like to sail with people I enjoy.

"I remember times I used to sail with my father in the maxis. It became very professional and the guys on board the boat had nothing to talk about," he explains.

"So it wasn't fun and that wasn't for me. So I sail with people I enjoy and that doesn't mean you are a lot less competitive, but it is also for pleasure."

It is an expensive hobby, but "not as much as the America's Cup," which he has no plans to participate in. He said it would involve a long-term commitment that he is not keen to make, and a huge amount of money.

Some syndicates participating in the Louis Vuitton Cup to find a challenger for America's Cup holder Team New Zealand have spent up to $80 million on the four-month series.

"It's too long a project. You cannot do anything in one cup, you have to be there for two or three cups," said Rothschild.

"So to be away from home and business for about nine years or ten years is difficult to accept for a wife or children or business partners."

He also doubts the syndicate budgets are accurate: "the budgets went crazy. The figures we see now are far off what the real figures are. The budgets are at least double what everyone says."



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