Meanwhile in Valencia ... it's back to business for Desafío Español
Finally, there is something to report in the America's Cup that is not related to the infamous case that is currently unfolding in the New York Supreme Court. After weeks talking about affidavits, lawsuits, court hearings and richly-paid lawyers the news from Valencia is about sport.
After a hiatus of two months, the Challenger of Record, Desafío Español, is getting back to business. On Monday afternoon, we spotted the Spanish challenger's primary yacht, ESP-97, masted with the shore crew working on it. Presumably, it won't be long before Desafío Español hits the water aboard the yacht that reached the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals last June.
According to general manager Agustín Zulueta, Desafío Español will have completed its crew selection within the next two weeks and a formal announcement of the line up should be expected during the first week of October. Everybody's attention will be focused on two key positions, the helmsman and the sports director. In the previous America's Cup they were respectively held by Karol Jablonski and Luis Doreste. Both sailors have left the team (Jablonski is the new helmsman of the German America's Cup team) and it is still unclear who will take over. Paul Cayard has been widely rumored as Doreste's replacement, but this is obviously unconfirmed.
Finally, today marks, approximately, the beginning of the last year of useful life for these yachts. They will undoubtedly retire after next year's second pre-regatta, scheduled to take place in September and be replaced by the new 90-foot class proposed by Alinghi.
Desafío Español's ESP-97 getting ready at the team's base. Valencia, 17 September 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Desafío Español's ESP-97 getting ready at the team's base. The Valencia, 17 September 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing