Sunday, July 01, 2007

33rd America's Cup in Valencia?

The rumor mill has been firing up on all cylinders today in Valencia and the absence of any racing made it even worse. The word earlier this morning was to watch out for the guests aboard "Vava", Ernesto Bertarelli's private yacht. Bertarelli is of course Alinghi's head and since his team was leading the America's Cup match 4-2 it was all too obvious, Sunday could very well be the last day of the 32nd America's Cup.

Why is it so important to watch closely the guests on the yacht? The reason is that the moment SUI-100 would have crossed the finish line (obviously ahead of NZL-92) the person or persons aboard - representatives of the would-be Challenger of Record - would hand the necessary documents to the representative of Société Nautique de Genève and become the Challenger of Record.

Valencia Sailing was on the lookout of course but luck was not on my side today. The yacht never went close to us and as a result we have no photos. It appears the lucky person on the water was the BMW Oracle Blog.

In the pictures posted on the website, one can clearly recognize Alinghi's top legal advisers as well as a number of important Spanish personalities, such as the president of Valencia's government, the CEO of Iberdrola (main sponsor of Desafío Español) who also doubles as head of the Spanish challenger, as well as the vice president of Spain's yachting federation and the legal adviser of Desafío Español.

According to the general consensus, the Spanish-Swiss group of men was there, ready to sign the papers declaring Desafío Español as the Challenger of Record for the 33rd America's Cup, if of course Alinghi were victorious today.

If that is the case and Desafío Español becomes the Challenger of Record, Valencia will be sure to be the host city of the next event. Agustín Zulueta, Desafío Español's general manager, has stated various times that his team would only sign if they were assured the Spanish city would hold the event once again.

The only two unknowns would be the yacht club that Desafío Español would represent and the time schedule of the event. It is said that Alinghi, wouldn't accept the Spanish yacht federation as the team's yacht club. As a result, it is rumored, that a new club was formed, always in the vicinity of Valencia, backed by a strong local club, in the premises of a newly built marina.

As far as the format of the event is concerned, there is speculation the America's Cup Match would take place in Valencia in 2009 and number of regattas or Acts would take place in various locations in the world, possibly related to Formula 1 races.

Here is the most important picture in my view. Check the rest of the photos here.

sun09_bmwPreviewText copied from the original post: "Lucien Masmejan (SUI, on the phone), who is one of Ernesto Bertarelli's personal attorneys and with whom (among others) reps. of AC 31's Oracle BMW Racing negotiated the AC 32 Protocol, aboard Ernesto's private yacht Vava this afternoon waiting, like the rest of us, for some wind. On the left is Francisco Camps (ESP), President of the Valencian Region. On the right is Ignacio Sánchez Galán (ESP), President of Iberdrola and Desafío Español". Valencia, 1 July 2007. Photo copyright Tom Ehman / BMW Oracle



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