Wednesday, October 31, 2007

AC90 Rule is born

Click here for the entire rule in PDF

[Source: America's Cup Management] Today AC Management, as scheduled, published the AC90 Rule marking an exciting milestone in the path to the 33rd America's Cup. This rule has been crafted over the past six weeks through a design consultation process with all entered challengers, the Defender, and headed by Tom Schnackenberg as the class rule and competition regulations consultant for ACM.

Designers from all six entered teams have met regularly since the design process began on 15 September. Tom Schnackenberg comments on the sessions: "The process has been an invigorating one with the challengers helping enormously in making improvements to the rule. It is amazing how inventive people are in this environment, bouncing ideas off each other, these past six weeks have been a very enjoyable experience."

The AC90 Rule, in brief, will be 90ft overall maximum length, 6.5m in draft whilst racing and will have a displacement of 23tons. This last parameter was defined by the challengers on their request. Tom adds some insight: "In writing the AC90 Rule we have used the experience gained in forming Version 5 of the America's Cup Class rule. We have tried to keep it simple because of the short timeframe, while also taking care not to ignore the lessons of the last 18 years of the ACC. The rule is a box rule rather than a rating rule and differs greatly to Version 5 in that the yacht will be big, fast and much more demanding."

Comparison of the America's Cup yachts from the previous (left) and current editions

Juan Kouyoumdjian, principal designer for British challenger, TEAMORIGIN, comments on the result of the design sessions: "To sit in a series of meetings chaired by Tom Schnackenberg and write a class rule for something as significant as the boat to be used for the America's Cup has been an honour for me personally and a really inspiring experience. The profile of designers, engineers and naval architects representing the challengers and the Defender is, as always, really special. This has been an efficient and productive process and the boat itself will be spectacular: challenging to design, to sail and to race."

John Cutler, technical director for Desafío Español, adds his take on the result: "We are happy with the process. It has been a lot of hard work for all the teams, the challengers and the Defender, and there have been a lot of changes. The boat will be exciting to sail, a challenge to design and also a challenge for the crew to master. It will provide exciting racing."

As far as the next steps towards the 33rd America's Cup are concerned, Tom Schnackenberg will continue the dialogue with the challengers and the Defender to finalise the Competition Regulations for a 2009 event.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The CNEV's annual regatta has its notice of race

Once again, our friend Jaume Soler has interesting news concerning the Club Nautico Español de Vela (CNEV), the newly-formed yacht that challenges Alinghi in the 33rd America's Cup.

The CNEV being the Challenger of Record has the obligation, according to the Deed of Gift, to organize an annual regatta. Once again, we will not argue whether the regatta must have been held before the challenge was filed or if this can be done at a later stage. This is the core issue of the litigation in New York and Judge Cahn will rule within a couple of weeks.

There are now more details on that regatta, given the fact its Notice of Race, dated 8 October, has been made public. First of all, we now know its precise date and location, as it will take place here in Valencia, from November 23 to November 25. The boats will be cruisers and will be divided into 3 classes according to their rating. Organizers hope to have a minimum of 10 boats per class.

Soler goes on to claim that the RFEV (Spanish Sailing Federation) clearly breached its own rules by designating this event as "Alto Nivel" (Upper level), given the fact the normal procedure would have required the regatta to be submitted for approval before 30 June 2006!! Soler was the Federation's press officer for almost a decade and we suppose he's well documented.

Once thing that surprises though is the time of the day racing has been scheduled. On the opening day racing will start at 3pm and in the two following ones the starting gun will be fired at noon!! We really don't know what kind of wind organizers expect to have in Valencia, at noon in late November!!

You can read the NoR (in Spanish) here. At least, this time it is publicly available before the race!

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 29, 2007

Can one become member of the Club Nautico Español de Vela?

Imagine you wanted to join the yacht club whose privilege is to be the Challenger of Record in the world's oldest and most prestigious sailing competition in order to show off at your friends and boast about over dinner talk. According to the story that Jaume Soler's blog runs today, this is next to impossible.

Macarena Lainez, a well-known sailing journalist in Spain and director of the monthly magazine "Barcos a Vela", wanted to write an article on the required procedure in order for someone to become member of the CNEV (Club Nautico Español de Vela) and inform the general public about the organization, activities and services of the yacht club that challenges Alinghi in the 33rd America's Cup.

Nevertheless, what was supposed to be a simple task, gather some basic information, turned out to be an odyssey. Lainez finally had to talk to the CNEV's president, Manuel Chirivella, mostly because the club has only a handful of members; Manuel Chirivella (President), José María Martín Puertas (Vice president), José Ángel Rodríguez (Treasurer and Secretary) and Luis Merino (Director), all of them vice presidents of the RFEV (Spanish Sailing Federation).

According to Soler, Lainez started her inquiry by calling the phone number that appears on the website of the Sailing Federation of the Valencia Region, apparently, the only place where one can find the club's contact information. After letting the phone ring many times, the call was picked up by Desafío Español's telephone operator [Note: CNEV's legal address is the Desafío Español base]. She asked whether she could talk to somebody from the CNEV and the reply was negative. After several intents and unanswered calls it turned out the phone number appearing as CNEV's is apparently Agustín Zulueta's, general manager of the team, personal number in the base.

As a result, Lainez contacted the communications department of Desafío Español in order to also get additional information on the regatta the CNEV will organize in November in order to fulfill the requirements of the Deed of Gift. There as well it was impossible to answer her questions and she was told she had to call Manuel Chirivella, president of the CNEV. And call him she did.

According to Chirivella, they are "working" on the issue of the club's organization and their aim is to have all of Spain's yacht clubs as affiliates of the CNEV, adding that it was not born in order to compete with them. As for the issue of having private members, Chirivella said they were "studying" it but at some stage the club will have private persons as members.

The full story, in Spanish, will appear on the December issue of Barcos a Vela.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tom Ehman and Hamish Ross talk to PJ Montgomery on Radio NZ

Earlier today, PJ Montgomery, one of New Zealand's most prominent sailing journalists, interviewed Tom Ehman from BMW Oracle and Hamish Ross from Alinghi on Radio NZ.

It was quite a long and interesting interview, although both men repeated most of the arguments their teams have publicly stated in the last couple of months. It seems the last hurdle before any deal can be made is for BMW Oracle to be convinced Alinghi doesn't have a head start on the design of the new boat.

Listen to the entire 22-minute interview, using the following media player:

PS: Our apologies if the file is slow. We are experiencing server problems due to huge traffic and had to use a temporary server. Since the beginning of October Valencia Sailing is consuming every 4-5 days its total monthly bandwidth allowance.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 26, 2007

Statement from America's Cup Management

With the continued aim of organising the 33rd America’s Cup for 2009 in Valencia with pre-regattas in 2008, a Competitors Meeting took place this morning to continue work on the Class Rule.

At the end of a constructive meeting the competitors left with a complete draft of the Class Rule and further meetings have been scheduled over the next few days in order to finalise this document and comply with the 31st October deadline for issuing the Rule.

For the competitors and AC Management this is a fundamental milestone and the focus of all our attention. As organisers of the 33rd America’s Cup we certainly welcome any other challenger to come and join the process for the last few days of Class Rules development and for the consultations on the competition and event regulations.

Labels: ,

Pindar Open 60 dismasted for the second time

[Source: Team Pindar] Pindar, the Open 60 built and owned by print and electronic media company Pindar, last night dismasted off the coast of Le Havre, France. Skippered by Brian Thompson, the Open 60 racing yacht was en route to Le Havre, prior to the start of the transatlantic race, the Transat Jacques Vabre, in which she was due to compete in eight days time. The mast fell backwards and then to windward onto the boat and the crew, however there were no injuries and the crew are all safe and well. The mast, rigging and sails were cut free from the hull, which suffered minimal damage, to allow the crew to motor safely into Le Havre.

The dismasting took place nine miles north west of the entrance to the harbour of Le Havre, at 18.15 BST on Thursday 25th October. The boat was sailing close-hauled on port tack, in 12 knots of wind, sailing at a speed of 11 knots. The mast suffered one clean break, just under halfway up the 30 metre high mast, in a slightly lower position than the first breakage suffered by the boat during the Artemis Challenge at Skandia Cowes Week earlier this year. Despite the structural repairs made to the mast, followed by extensive testing in the Solent and Atlantic including Brian Thompson and Will Oxley’s 1000 nautical mile qualifying sail for the TJV race, it appears that a further structural weakness in the mast remains. Having lost the mast, sails and rigging overboard by cutting them free last night, the team will now further inspect the hull. Brian, Will and the remainder of the Team Pindar Open 60 team will remain in Le Havre, supporting Pindar 40, Pindar’s second entry in the TJV race, skippered by Jo Royle and Alexia Barrier.

Team Pindar Open 60 dismasts for the second time. Le Havre, 26 October 2007. Photo copyright Mark Lloyd

Brian Thompson, skipper of Pindar commented
"The dismasting is a huge set back to our race campaign, forcing us out of the Transat Jacques Vabre race which was due to begin on Saturday 3rd November. My co-skipper for the race, Will Oxley, and crew of Boat Captain Nick Black, Pindar match racing sailor Ian Williams and Team Director Nick Crabtree, amongst others, showed fantastic teamwork in dealing with the dramatic event and it’s a huge relief that no one was hurt. We are incredibly disappointed not to be able to compete, especially so close to the start of the race, and as the team has put in so much hard work to get the boat to this point. Whilst we begin looking into our next options for a new mast, and preparing Pindar for our next competition, the Artemis Transat, in May 2008, Team Pindar will dedicate time to supporting Jo and Alexia in their preparations for the TJV, and we will be following and learning as much as we can from watching other Open 60’s during the race itself."

Team Pindar Open 60 dismasts for the second time. Le Havre, 26 October 2007. Photo copyright Mark Lloyd

Andrew Pindar, Chairman of the Pindar Group commented:
"The news overnight that the rigging on our new Open 60 Pindar has failed for a second time is very disappointing indeed. It is all the more saddening, that this failure has come so close to the start of the Transat Jaques Vabre race, a race that has always been so important to us, over the eight years that we have been associated with the event, and in which Brian and Will were set to excel. We will work to solve the mast’s structural problems that Pindar has experienced as soon as possible, with safety always at the forefront of our minds. It is a great shame for Brian and Will to have to pull out of the TJV race, the only consolation being that such an incident has taken place close to land and a safe harbour, rather than halfway across the Atlantic Ocean."

"It is important however to reflect that ocean racing is always a challenge for the teams who compete. That is a challenge to the crews, to the teams and the owners. Those challenges require commitment, courage and determination, from all concerned. Remaining competitive requires investment of time, energy and finance. Our new boat, Pindar, has been developed to meet those challenges at she will be at the forefront of this sport in the near future. We have great confidence in our boat, which has shown superb speed and winning potential, and with a new mast will continue to compete with the best."

Team Pindar Open 60 dismasts for the second time. Le Havre, 26 October 2007. Photo copyright Mark Lloyd

Pindar 40, Pindar’s second entry in this year’s Transat Jacques Vabre race in the Class 40 fleet, is currently making last minute preparations for the prologue race this Saturday. Skippered by Jo Royle and Alexia Barrier, Pindar 40 is the only all female entry in the 33 boat Class 40 fleet. Ian Williams, Pindar’s top British match racing sailor, will be onboard Pindar 40 calling tactics during the prologue race this Saturday. Currently top of the World Match Racing Tour, which culminates in December, Ian will return to the UK following the race to concentrate on preparations for the final two Tour events in Brazil and Malaysia.

H.R.H Cristina christens Mutua Madrileña boat

[Source: Mutua Madrileña] HRH Cristina of Spain has been named ‘Godmother’ to the Spanish entry "Mutua Madrileña" in the Barcelona World Race, the only all Spanish team taking part in the regatta which kicks off on November 11th on a round the world non-stop course. Almost 500 people attended the boat’s official launch in Barcelona’s port, where the race is due to start from next month.

The Royal Princess was joined at the event byJosé María Ramírez Pomatta, Spanish company Mutua Madrileña’s President; Pere Alcober, Sports delegate for Barcelona council, Jordi Valls, Director of the Port of Barcelona and Enrique Puig, President of Barcelona’s Royal Yacht Club, the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona.

The Spanish entry is 60 foot (18.28 metres) long, with a 19-foot (5.8 metre) beam and weighs 8.5 tonnes. The boat has a maximum draught of 4.5 metres and the maximum sail area is 600 m2. "Mutua Madrileña" will sail with the Spanish flags of the Barcelona and Sanxenxo (Galicia) Royal Yacht Clubs.

"Mutua Madrileña" is an Imoca Open 60 with two Spanish skippers, Javier Sansó and Francisco Rivero, who’ll be looking to break some circumnavigation records in this race. Only one Spaniard, José Luis Ugarte, has completed a non-stop circumnavigation of the world, so this race could signal a shift in Spanish sailing history, in a competition usually dominated by the French.

Designed by Owen Clarke Design, and built in New Zealand in 2003, "Mutua Madrileña" was 6th in the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2007, 5th in the Prologue of the Barcelona World Race, 3rd in the 2005 Vendée Globe (Ecover) and overall winner in the 2004 Transat (Ecover).

Labels: ,

Call for America’s Cup to go ahead in Valencia in 2009

[Source: Golden Gate Yacht Club] The Golden Gate Yacht Club will agree to comprehensive new compromises to get the America’s Cup back on track for Valencia in 2009 if the defender will disclose its rule for the boat's design.

“We are looking forward to putting this dispute about the rules behind us and racing for the America’s Cup in 2009 in Valencia as planned. That’s what we want, and that’s what all the challengers want,” Larry Ellison, syndicate head of the club’s America’s Cup team, BMW ORACLE Racing, said today.

“But it is impossible to accept a design rule that we have never seen.”

The American team has told challengers it is ready to agree to wide ranging new proposals discussed over the last 24 hours if it can confirm for itself that the design rule developed by Alinghi is fair for all competitors.

It has been normal practice over recent Cups for the design rule to be seen by all potential competitors well in advance of the event.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meanwhile in Valencia ... United Internet Team Germany and Desafío Español train together

The only two active America's Cup teams in Valencia, Desafío Español and United Internet Team Germany, are waisting no time and try to take advantage of any single day with appropriate wind conditions in order to train. From what we understand the two teams have started training together in the last few days. Unfortunately, October's weather is proving to be very difficult, unlike 2005 and 2006 when teams were able to train 20-22 days throughout the whole month.

There isn't obviously any novelty or secret as far as their boats are concerned. Both teams use the ones from the 32nd edition of the event, GER-89 for the Germans and ESP-97 for the Spanish. The photos do have a degree of interest, especially for the German team, as they show new faces on the two yachts.

On the Spanish boat, the big difference is obviously the absence of helmsman Karol Jablonski and the presence of Paul Cayard in his place. Cayard has stated he would be the main helmsman of the Spanish challenger during the development phase of the team. Another new face we could recognize oboard ESP-97 was of Italian Bruno Zirilli, new navigator of Desafío Español, who came from +39 Challenge.

Jablonski didn't have to go very far when he left the green team since he's now the helmsman of the German boat. Another "refugee" from the Spanish team that joined Jablonski was Danish Mikkel Rossberg. We also spotted two familiar faces from Shosholoza, German Tim Kröger and South African Marc Lagesse. The former was the boat captain of the South African challenger while the latter was its navigator. The German team will make an official presentation of its team in November.

PS: For the curious readers, the construction cranes and trucks visible on the pictures are building the bridge over the canal that will be used by the F1 cars next year. The F1 race track will go around and through Port America's Cup.

Desafío Español's ESP-97 being towed out for a day of training. Valencia, 23 October 2007. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Desafío Español's ESP-97 being towed out for a day of training. Valencia, 23 October 2007. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Desafío Español's ESP-97 being towed out for a day of training. Standing, from left to right, Jorge Ondo, Miguel Jáuregui, Santi López-Vázquez, Paul Cayard, Bruno Zirilli and Carlo Castellano. Valencia, 23 October 2007. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

United Internet Team Germany's GER-89 being towed out for a day of training. Valencia, 23 October 2007. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

United Internet Team Germany's GER-89 being towed out for a day of training. Valencia, 23 October 2007. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Labels: ,

James Spithill and Russell Coutts training on the San Francisco Bay

What were the worst-kept secrets in Valencia last summer? Probably the fact the Larry Ellison had hired Russell Coutts and James Spithill for his 33rd America's Cup team. Coutts was officially announced and presented as the new CEO and skipper of the team while there is still no official confirmation of James "Spitfire" joining BMW Oracle as their brand new helmsman.

According to the Latitude 38 magazine, the two star sailors were spotted last weekend, training onboard the BMW Oracle Swedish Match Racing boats. According to the magazine, they were apparently practicing match racing starts.

Nothing strange so far and it was just a question of time before the young and much-coveted Australian helmsman was spotted wearing the BMW Oracle uniform. What is strange, according to the website, though is the fact they were asked not to reveal what they had witnessed, even if there were hundreds of sailors around the two boats.

Read the whole story here.

Russell Coutts and James Spithill practice match racing tactics on the San Francisco Bay. San Francisco, 21 October 2007. Photo copyright Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Russell Coutts and James Spithill practice match racing tactics on the San Francisco Bay. San Francisco, 21 October 2007. Photo copyright Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What about CNEV's annual regatta?

Given the fact the case in the NY Supreme Court focuses on one and only point, whether the CNEV (Club Nautico Español de Vela) is a valid challenger, it goes without saying that any information related to the CNEV is of primordial importance.

It has been widely reported, among others by Bob Fisher in Sail-World (undoubtedly one of the most respected and knowledgeable America's Cup journalists), that Alinghi's lawyer David Hille, when asked by Judge Cahn about CNEV's annual regatta, stated it would be held in November.

That statement comes as a total surprise because if it is true, then the Challenger of Record will be having its third attempt to have an annual regatta as requested by the Deed of Gift. As a result, we contacted Manuel Chirivella, president of the CNEV, asking him to clarify the challenging club's position in that matter. We received a statement, mentioning that "The Deed of Gift states that the challenging club must organize at least one annual regatta. Well, the CNEV has organized an Optimist regatta in Santander, the Vuelta a España a Vela (Spain Sailing Tour) last September (a regatta that visited a large part of Spain's coasts) and will organize in November a regatta in Valencia. All three events were born as annual regattas". [Note: The translation to English is ours].

So, assuming both men are telling the truth, it is remarkable there is this lack of co-ordination between the Challenger of Record and the Defender. After all, the issue of CNEV's annual regatta is by far the most important in that court case! We don't argue whether the Deed of Gift requires the regatta to have been held before the challenge, that's the core of the case and it's Judge Cahn that will decide. What strikes us is that Alinghi's lawyers were unaware of the previous two events, allegedly held by CNEV, especially considering the fact the November regatta might take place after Judge Cahn rules on the case!

There is also another aspect that really surprises us. The first event, the Optimist race held in Santander early July, was widely reported to be a simple weekend training course for children, 7 to 14 years old. In addition, according to the affidavit by Tom Ehman (page 14, paragraph 38), the CNEV later submitted to the 33rd America's Cup Arbitration Panel that the "regatta" was not intended to be the one required by the Deed of Gift.

Then in early September, the CNEV allegedly co-organized the Vuelta España a Vela (Spain Sailing Tour). The Tour had a stop in Valencia and we witnessed ourselves that it did take place, at least the boats crossed the finish line in Valencia on their own sails. Of course, that doesn't mean it was necessarily organized by the CNEV.

So, why didn't Alinghi's lawyer mention that the CNEV had already organized one in September?

Here is the original entire response from Mr Manuel Chirivella, president of the CNEV, in Spanish:

El Deed of Gift dice que el club Challenger tiene que organizar al menos una regata anual. Pues bien, el Club Náutico Español de Vela organizó una regata de Optimist en Santander, organizó la Vuelta a España a Vela el pasado mes de septiembre (regata que pasó por gran parte del litoral español) y organizará en noviembre una regata de Cruceros en Valencia. Las tres competiciones han nacido como regatas anuales. Todo ello para dar muestra de la buena fe y de la predisposición del CNEV a cumplir las normas del Deed of Gift, que recordemos que en ningún momento dice cuándo tiene que organizar el club Challenger la regata (por lo que se puede organizar después de haber sido designado Challenger).

La Real Federación Española de Vela quiere aclarar que el Club Náutico Español de Vela, que recogió el testigo del ente federativo como desafiante de la America’s Cup, trabajó y trabaja intensamente para cumplir con todos los requisitos establecidos por el Deed of Gift para ser Challenger of Record, primer desafío. Como fruto de estas efectivas gestiones en estrecho contacto con la SNG, el 3 de julio ambas entidades firmaban el Protocolo para la 33ª America’s Cup, lo que convertía al Desafío Español en Challenger of Record, un honor que por primera vez disfruta un equipo nacional y que le permite consensuar con el Defender los parámetros de la próxima edición de la regata. Éste es un hecho histórico por el que toda la afición española debería sentirse orgullosa.

El Club Náutico Español de Vela da continuidad al espíritu que ha inspirado al Desafío Español en la 32ª America’s Cup, y que tan buenos resultados ha dado, al integrar a toda la vela española en un mismo equipo y atraer así a toda la afición de este país. Los numerosos apoyos que ha recibido el equipo verde, de todos los puntos de España, demuestran la validez y la fuerza de esta apuesta.

Labels: ,

Hamish Ross talks to Valencia Sailing about Monday's court hearing in NY

Given the importance of Monday's court hearing in New York, not just for the America's Cup but top professional sailing as well, we will try to give the point of view of as many players as possible. Earlier this morning (NY time) we talked over the phone with Hamish Ross, Alinghi's General Counsel, who obviously commented on the case through the Defender's glasses. We will try to talk to Tom Ehman, his counterpart at BMW Oracle, today or tomorrow.

Valencia Sailing: Let’s go first quickly through yesterday’s court hearing? What did Judge Cahn focus on?
Hamish Ross: The focus of the judge was purely a technical, legal analysis of the Deed of Gift. It does not concern the protocol at all, it does not concern Oracle’s objections to the terms of the protocol. It is purely and simply whether the CNEV (Club Nautico Español de Vela) is a valid challenger under the Deed of Gift and it focuses on two major issues. Is it an organized yacht club? Is the annual regatta required to be held before the challenge or can it be held after the challenge?

Valencia Sailing: Are you satisfied with the hearing?
Hamish Ross: Yes, we are satisfied with the hearing because we believe the judge’s questioning was appropriate and we are quietly [Note: When the interview was first published the word "quietly" was wrongly written as "quite"] confident of our position in terms of the eventual decision. Obviously, there remains some uncertainty and within 2-3 weeks we'll find out the judge's view.

Valencia Sailing: So, if I understand well, you expect a decision from the judge within 2-3 weeks.
Hamish Ross: Yes, that's correct.

Valencia Sailing: A few hours before the court hearing, both Alinghi and BMW Oracle were stating that "constructive" talks were taking place between you and Tom Ehman. Why didn't you reach an agreement?
Hamish Ross: The talks were focusing more on what their position was, understanding their position, them understanding our position and often in negotiations it is highly desirable that both parties understand their motivations. Often, other solutions come by themselves if you understand the other party's motivations.

We are going to have a meeting with them this morning and get further discussions about how the court hearing went respectively, what could happen on the various outcomes. We will also put to them a final proposal in terms of how this could be settled so that they take it back and consider it internally.

Valencia Sailing: I was obviously unaware of that meeting but from yesterday's reports and TV footage it seemed that Tom Ehman and you were miles apart. How close to a deal are we right now?
Hamish Ross: The response we have received so far from Oracle indicates that there is still some distance between the parties.

Valencia Sailing: Regarding the CNEV, there have been various media reports than when Judge Cahn asked one of your lawyers about CNEV's annual regatta he answered it was scheduled to take place in November? Is that correct?
Hamish Ross: I'm not in a position to comment on that. You must ask the CNEV to comment on that. I'm aware they held two regattas previously and I'm not aware of a future plan at this stage. It is something you have to talk to CNEV about.

[Note: We have contacted the press office of the RFEV (Spanish Sailing Federation) in order to clarify the issue and, so far, they refused to make any comment.]

Valencia Sailing: It seems to me that what we are seeing here is nothing more than an egoistical fight between two of the richest men on earth.
Hamish Ross: No, it is far too simplistic to see it that way. It is more than that. My view is that Oracle coming from a position of Challenger of Record and influencing to a very great extent the America's Cup rules found themselves in a position where they no longer had the influence and were just another challenger. They had difficulties adjusting to that.

Valencia Sailing: You put the whole blame on Oracle but you avoid mentioning the protocol you presented that was found by a lot of people as heavily one-sided.
Hamish Ross: I think it is simplistic to say one party is entirely to blame. We need to take some criticism that perhaps we didn't communicate the protocol in an appropriate manner and explain the motivations and what kind of intentions were behind the provisions. In hindsight, if you look back and say, "would you do things differently knowing what has happened?", the answer is obviously yes.

Valencia Sailing: Assuming there is a deal shortly, within the next couple of weeks, is your goal to hold the event in 2009? Will you still hold pre-regattas in 2008 and the Challenger Selection Series and the America's Cup match in 2009?
Hamish Ross: It certainly is our goal to hold the America's Cup in 2009. It certainly is the goal of the other entered challengers as well but this very much depends on Oracle's litigation. I must say that the window for 2009 is rapidly closing, very rapidly. Unless we have some certainty in the next few weeks then the regatta will be forced to be postponed.

Valencia Sailing: Finally, what is your strategy if Judge Cahn decides that CNEV is indeed invalid? Will you appeal?
Hamish Ross: We haven't given great consideration to what will happen if the ruling is against us. We can't determine in advance whether we will appeal. We need to review the judgment, to see whether it is indeed appealable. There are other options available to us in terms of outcome in case the judge rules against us.

Labels: , , ,

TV New Zealand reports on the NY court case

Here's an interesting report on TV New Zealand from the NY court case, including footage from inside the court room. After watching Martin Tasker's excellent report one wonders whether any progress has been made during the last 4 months.

Video copyright TV New Zealand

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 22, 2007

Alinghi welcomes prompt resolution

[Source: Alinghi] Following today’s hearing, Justice Herman Cahn of the New York Supreme Court, reserved his decision on the litigation brought by the Golden Gate Yacht Club against the Société Nautique de Genève, the America’s Cup defending yacht club, over the validity of the Challenger of Record, Club Náutico Español de Vela.

Justice Cahn allowed the parties to argue their positions and he focused his questions on the legitimacy of Club Náutico Español de Vela as Challenger of Record under the Deed of Gift.

Alinghi General Counsel Hamish Ross comments: “We are happy with the way the hearing went and look forward to a result. The argument is a technical one. It is a straight out legal interpretation of the Deed of Gift.”

Justice Cahn indicated he would issue a written decision which is expected in the coming weeks.

Société Nautique de Genève remains firm on the demands of BOR, a team which is still not party to the event and who has repeatedly tried to shift the focus from the validity of CNEV to a multitude of items linked to the Protocol and the Rules.

This said the SNG is still in communication with BOR and would welcome an appropriate resolution to allow the parties to move forward with the 33rd America’s Cup.

Labels: , ,

Golden Gate Yacht Club welcomes prospect of speedy court decision

[Source: Golden Gate Yacht Club] The Golden Gate Yacht Club said today it welcomed the prospect of a speedy court ruling in resolving the issues surrounding the protocol for the next America’s Cup.

After a hearing in the New York State Supreme Court where Justice Herman Cahn said he would deliver his decision soon, the club’s spokesman, Tom Ehman, said the American team had presented a strong case that the Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV) challenge was invalid and the new protocol unfairly advantaged the defender.

“We were very pleased with today,” Ehman said. “Justice Cahn understands the issues. He said he would rule soon which is what we have sought from the start.”

Labels: , ,

Flash update from New York (8pm Valencia Time); Hearing postponed till next Monday?

We just received this email from the New York State Court system. Does it mean the hearing that was supposed to take place today was postponed till next Monday?

Update: The hearing did of course take place. According to the following table of the appearances concerning the case, only one of the motions was adjourned and an appearance was set for the 29th of October. We will obviously report on that as soon as we know.

-----Mensaje original-----
De: []
Enviado el: lunes, 22 de octubre de 2007 19:56
Asunto: eTrack: GOLDEN GATE YACHT CLUB vs. SOCIETE NAUTIQUE DE GENEVE (602446/2007) Updated

The Following Information Has Changed Regarding This Case:

Motion Appearance date 10/29/2007
Before Justice CAHN
Action Type

Motion Appearance date 10/22/2007

To access this case directly, click here.

This is an automated e-mail. If you have questions please e-mail

Flash update from New York (7pm Valencia Time)

Here is the latest information from New York, according to Alinghi: "Talks between Alinghi and BMW Oracle this morning were useful and constructive and the two parties will meet again in court at 14:00 before continuing to talk after that."

We are delighted to see that the cartoon on the left DOES NOT reflect the state of negotiations between Alinghi and BMW Oracle. We understand both parties will negotiate in front of Justice Cahn.

Note: All times are NY, add 6 hours to get the Central European Time.

Labels: ,

What is it?

Instead of biting your nails while the whole sailing world is holding its breath until Justice Cahn of the NY Supreme Court sits and listens to the arguments of the lawyers from GGYC and SNG, why don't you try to figure out what we photographed earlier today?

By the way, last week's quiz was almost correctly answered by one of our readers. The food you see laid on the table is the quantity Bubi Sansó and Pachi Rivero will be consuming every 5 days. The two Spanish sailors will sail the Mutua Madrileña boat in the Barcelona World Race. Considering the fact the race will last approximately three months, Sansó and Rivero will approximately need 15-20 times that amount.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Francesco Bruni wins the Trieste Challenge after beating Paolo Cian

Francesco Bruni is the winner of the Trieste Challenge - La Sfida 2007. The Sicilian sailor's Sailing Team Progetto Sicilia beat Team Shosholoza's Paolo Cian 3-1 after a close and exciting final day.

Bruni started the best-of-five final with two straight victories where leadership went back and forth a couple of times, under light wind conditions. With the breeze picking up and reaching 20 knots, Paolo Cian, third in the ISAF world match racing rankings, demonstrated his skills in the third race and beat Bruni who was unable to escape from Cian's close marking.

The fourth and decisive match could have easily been Cian's and tied the series. Cian lead from the starting line and managed to increase his advantage to 3 boat lengths up to the last top mark, where a disastrous spinnaker hoist resulted in the spinnaker falling in the sea. Bruni took advantage of Cian's error and won the race and event.

Francesco Bruni and Paolo Cian race in the Trieste Challenge 2007. Trieste, 21 October 2007. Photo copyright Ray Giubilo & Massimo Silvano


Alinghi will continue to try up until the court room steps to find a solution to the situation

[Source: Alinghi] Over the past few months Alinghi, Defender of the 33rd America’s Cup, has been engaged in dialogue with BMW Oracle Racing (BOR) at various levels in an attempt to find a solution to the law suit filed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) against the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG). BMW Oracle, through Russell Coutts, has repeatedly shifted the discussion frame by adding new demands each time Alinghi moved to resolve the issues raised. Nonetheless, the last communication to BOR from Alinghi before their press release was an invitation to a private meeting in New York before the hearing to try and resolve the issue once and for all. This morning they confirmed their attendance at this meeting.

The Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) and Alinghi have done much to try to convince BOR to drop their law suit; the SNG instigated a Protocol review with the entered Challengers and, with the Challenger of Record, Club Náutico Español de Vela, agreed a number of amendments to satisfy the GGYC and BMW Oracle's claims. At this point, Russell Coutts requested via the Challengers group, reassurance that Alinghi would not have a head start in designing their new boat and advised at least two challengers BOR would settle if Alinghi could prove it did not have a design advantage.

Alinghi responded by asking the entered Challengers to set the displacement, a fundamental parametre, for the new class. The Challengers did so, and were satisfied that this would negate any design head start. For BOR it still was not enough and they then wanted to analyse the displacement parametre in light of the full rules, not trusting the Challenger’s designers, who confirmed the parametre was crucial enough to provide the expected guarantees.

To the dismay of Alinghi and the Challengers, BOR, through Russell, sent a letter on 18th October to Alinghi with a further nine issues to be satisfied, including new points not previously raised. Several of these were completely against the fundamentals of the programme agreed by all legitimately entered Challengers and the cost cutting strategy presiding over the 33rd America’s Cup.

With regard to the rules disclosure, Grant Simmer, Alinghi design team coordinator, says: "Alinghi is working with the Challengers to develop the new class rule. This was started on the 15 September and the Challengers have stated that they are happy with this process. There are several key issues still being debated but we are working towards issuing the rule on 31 October. If BOR chooses to enter they will be welcomed into this process.”

Brad Butterworth, Alinghi team skipper, adds his positive comments on the situation: “We are driven by the vision to create a bigger and better event for everyone in 2009 with new boats but reduced costs and increased competition. Some may say we were too ambitious but since then we have undertaken a raft of measures to try and find a solution to this issue. We have consulted on the design of the new class, we have amended the Protocol and we have allowed the challengers to pick the displacement of the boat, as we were led to believe this was the last remaining issue for BMW Oracle. Despite not yet having issued the new class rule, they know a lot about the concept, plus they had the chance to agree the displacement. I firmly believe that there is still time left to agree a solution with BMW Oracle and for them to drop their law suit and join the other Challengers to help us make this an even greater event than the last. The last communication that we sent to them before their press release of last night was an invitation to a private meeting in New York on Monday morning before the hearing to have one last go at finding an agreement, something we still hope to do for the better of the event, the challengers and us.”

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 20, 2007

America's Cup Defender rejects settlement proposal; refuses to disclose new design rule

[Source: Golden Gate Yacht Club] Negotiations to resolve the next America’s Cup protocol ended today after the defender, Alinghi, rejected a resolution proposed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Alinghi also made it clear they would not disclose the new rule governing the size and design of the boats to be used in the next event.

“GGYC is very disappointed by this outcome,” spokesman Tom Ehman said. “On Wednesday we forwarded a settlement proposal to the defender. On Thursday the current challengers confirmed in a letter to Alinghi that they supported our proposal in principle and that a settlement was, to use their words, ‘incredibly close.’

“The other challengers have been very helpful the past few days. We appreciate their support. They, too, clearly felt we had a good basis for an agreement.”

“This is a simple question of transparency. But the defender has refused this. And in their latest letter, rejecting our offer, they have simply ignored our most recent request. In this light it lacks credibility for them to blame anyone other than themselves for the ongoing delay and any decision to postpone the next event.”

Ehman said the American club had repeatedly asked to see the rule. This had been denied without explanation, other than an indication from the challengers that Alinghi head Ernesto Bertarelli was personally opposed to it.

“We cannot understand why the defender insists it will only disclose the rule after we have committed to the next event. This amounts to asking us to buy the rule sight-unseen, which no one in our position would find acceptable.

“In previous America’s Cups the design and other rules have always been agreed by mutual consent well in advance of the event, not dictated by the defender.”

“It’s quite simple,” Ehman said. “Show us the rule and we can get this fixed. But unfortunately all we are getting back is legalistic correspondence that dodges this central point and seeks to shift responsibility.

“Three weeks ago we began to suspect the defender was not serious about settling this when GGYC offered a list of ten prominent people as possible mediators. The defender rejected all, and declined to forward any others – thus ending any possibility of mediation as had been suggested by New York Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn.

“For several weeks now the defender has been talking about delaying the event. We and the five current challengers remain firm in our belief that the event could and should take place in Valencia in 2009.

“Alinghi’s letter today now makes it perfectly clear to all that Alinghi – not GGYC or the other challengers – has kept this matter in court, with the resulting inevitable uncertainty and delay,” Ehman said.

Labels: ,

Canarias Puerto Calero wins Trofeo Puerto Calero; Zurich wins first Spanish GP42 championship

The final event of the 2007 GP42 racing season couldn't be any tighter. The local team, Canarias Puerto Calero, finally prevailed over their adversaries even if they had to go through an emotional roller coaster after their disqualification in the penultimate race. Not only that, second place was decided after a three-way tie was broken, just 2 points behind the winner.

As far as the first ever Spanish GP42 championship is concerned, the title goes to Zurich with 86 points, followed by Canarias Puerto Calero with 95 points. These were the only two boats that took part in all 5 events of the 2007 season and as a result, Quebramar-Chrysler was distant third with 155 points. Finally Movistar is fourth with 160 points, despite having raced one event more than Quebramar-Chrysler. Their poor results in the Trofeo de la Reina and the Copa del Rey took toll on their championship standings.

Conditions were markedly lighter on Saturday and Movistar was the biggest beneficiary. Pedro Campos’ boat won a tight race, crossing the finish line 10 seconds ahead of Canarias Puerto Calero and 13 ahead of Zurich. Quum Marketing suffered a setback in their quest for first place in the event when a failure forced them to finish almost 4 minutes behind the first three boats.

Pedro Campos’ team continued their excellent performance in the second race, setting their sights on a podium position. They lead the race without great difficulties and crossed the finish line more than 20 seconds ahead of Canarias Puerto Calero and Quum Marketing. Zurich filed a protest against Canarias Puerto Calero for a port-starboard incident at the windward mark, the jury found the Canarians in breach and disqualified them.

In the third and final race of the day and the event, the locals Canarias Puerto Calero secured their victory in the event, despite crossing the finish line second, behind Quum Marketing. Movistar was third and Zurich fourth.

Final standings of the VI Troféo César Manrique Puerto Calero after 9 races
1. Canarias Puerto Calero, 22 points, (1+2+3+2+2+2+2+6+2)
2. Quum Marketing, 24 points, (2+6+1+4+3+1+4+2+1)
3. Zurich, 24 points, (4+1+4+1+1+3+3+3+4)
4. Movistar, 24 points, (3+3+2+3+4+4+1+1+3)
5. Total Boats, 49 points, (5+4+5+5+6+6+6+6+6)


Friday, October 19, 2007

Ericsson Racing Team in Lanzarote

Ericsson Racing Team announced yesterday they had signed up Torben Grael as their new skipper. The Nordic team has now set up its training base at Puerto Calero in Lanzarote, preparing for the start of the race in Alicante a year from now. Here is an interesting brief video from the team's preparations in Lanzarote and the first test sailing sessions with Torben Grael at the helm.

Video copyright Volvo Ocean Race

Labels: ,

What is this?

No, Valencia Sailing isn't running any food advertising campaign now. All this food laid out on the table will actually be eaten by sailors. Any guesses on who is going to feast on that diet?

Canarias Puerto Calero leads GP42 Trofeo Puerto Calero after penalty on Quum

The opening day of the VI Trofeo César Manrique Puerto Calero couldn't be better for the local team that bears the same name, as they are leading the event, 2 points ahead of second Movistar. Nevertheless, the headline tells half the story from the first three races in the Spanish island of Lanzarote. Quum Marketing had an excellent performance with 2 victories and a second place but a disqualification at the second race cost them dearly and sent them back to third place.

In the day’s first race, and with the Spanish GP42 championship at stake, the duel between Canarias Puerto Calero and Jan Santana’s Zurich could swing either way. The Canarian team, with the best knowledge of local conditions, managed to lead from the beginning while Zurich decided to sail closer to shore. That tactical decision cost them dearly as Quum and Movistar were able to overtake them, finishing second and third respectively. Santana’s boat crossed the finish line fourth.

The second race was upset by a protest. Quum had an excellent start and kept its leadership till the finish line. Zurich was unable to threaten them and finished second. The locals, Canarias Puerto Calero, finished third and Movistar fourth. Immediately after the end of the race, Canarias Puerto Calero and Zurich filed a protest against Qumm for touching one of the buoys. The jury found Quum in breach of the rules and disqualified them.

Quum continued unabated in the day’s final race and won, again by leading from the start, followed by Movistar that had its best performance in the opening day of the event. Canarias Puerto Calero and Zurich finished 3rd and 4th respectively.

Provisional standings after 3 races
1. Canarias Puerto Calero, 6 points, (1+2+3)
2. Movistar, 8 points, (3+3+2)
3. Quum Marketing, 9 points, (2+6+1)
4. Zurich, 9 points, (4+1+4)
5. Total Boats, 14 points, (5+4+5)

First day of GP42 Trofeo Puerto Calero. Puerto Calero, 19 OCtober 2007. Photo copyright Nico Martinez

First day of GP42 Trofeo Puerto Calero. Puerto Calero, 19 OCtober 2007. Photo copyright Nico Martinez


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Paul Cayard talks about Desafío Español and the America's Cup

Less than a week after joining Desafío Español as its new Sports Director, Paul Cayard talked to the Spanish media, together with the team's general manager, Agustín Zulueta. The American legendary sailor talked about most aspects of his team but the most controversial ones (validity of the Challenger of Record, current litigation in New York, possible postponement of the America's Cup) were developed to a much lesser extent.

Being a conference for the Spanish media the interest was mainly focused on what Cayard could bring to the team, his goals and the level of Spanish participation in the sailing crew. In our opinion there are three or four main points from the conference. First, Cayard will helm the new boat during the development phase but not necessarily during actual racing. Second, both him and Desafío Español don't want to have the event postponed till 2010 and hope a solution to the litigation can be found before Monday. Third, Cayard thinks Alinghi doesn't have the 33rd America's Cup in the pocket and BMW Oracle will be very difficult to beat, given their enormous financial, technical and human resources.

After the end of the America’s Cup in July, rumors and speculations started concerning the eventual moves of Cayard. Desafío Español was keen to retain the American sailor and as a result, Zulueta continued his negotiations with Cayard. On August 5th the two men met in Palma during the Copa del Rey where Zulueta told him that the team's intention was to build a sailing crew consisting mainly of Spaniards. In addition, he told him that the moment they had their sponsorship secured, their technical team ready and the basic managerial structure in place they would make him a firm offer. Despite the usual summer sluggishness, they promised it wouldn't be later than September 15th. After that date, it was a continuous back and forth negotiation between Valencia and San Francisco that ended with the contract signature last week.

Cayard's relation with the Spanish team
According to Zulueta, the 6 weeks Cayard spent with Desafío Español in February and March 2007 were more than a simple preparation for the Louis Vuitton Cup, it was a first step to get to know each other. Cayard stated it was a "pleasure" to be back with Desafío Español. The months of February and March were positive, he learned how the team worked and as a result he had a good relation right now.

According to Cayard, this edition of the America's Cup will be different from the previous one, due to the introduction of a new class of boats and the fact it will take place in less than 2 years. As a result, experience is one of the key factors, since one has to put in place a team, design and build the new boat, get a technical team and of course sponsors and funds as soon as possible. Cayard thinks that all these elements are right here in Desafío Español and the team can start fighting for the 33rd America's Cup as of today.

Cayard is aware this is a Spanish team and one of his goals will be to learn Spanish, not just in order to be able to talk to the rest of the team but also get to understand their culture. The winning team, according to Cayard, will need to be "united" and he will have to insert himself in order to achieve the desired goal. The team will obviously also be international, because you have to hire experienced people wherever they come from.

Paul Cayard gives his first press conference as Sports Director of Desafío Español. Valencia, 18 October 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The issue whether Cayard will also helm the boat was obviously of primordial interest and a number of questions focused on that. According to Zulueta, Desafío Español had considered that in the 32nd America's Cup it wouldn't have been "suitable" that Cayard helmed the yacht. This time though, the situation is exactly the opposite and the team considers imperative for Cayard to helm the new boat.

Since Cayard just arrived in the team, Laureano Wizner is the current helmsman and will serve as backup. Still, according to Zulueta, Desafío Español is considering the option of hiring (full or part time) a big-name international match-racing specialist, but this will have to be at a later stage (not earlier than February) and after consideration with Cayard, who stated that "probably" there are better helmsmen than him available.

Cayard is considering training in match racing because he admitted his skills are not what they used to be in the past and they could probably hire someone to do that against him. Still, he thinks races in this America's Cup (if all goes according to the current protocol) will be different than in the previous one. There won't be races decided by a second.

According to Cayard, "for better or for worse, races will be won by more than a minute, unlike the 1 second last July", similar to what took place in 1992. This Cup will be much more technical and as a result, the helmsman's work will be much more important during the development phase rather than the actual competition. The helmsman will have to work closely with the technical team, "feel" the boat, understand all the technical details, explain how the boat works and try to find solutions much faster. Boat development will be much more important this time and pure match racing will fall to second stage.

Nevertheless, pure match racing will not be ignored and the helmsman that develops the boat will not necessarily be the one that races. According to Cayard, the best way to practice and improve your match racing skills is on 10-meter boats in the international circuit. Then you apply these skills to the large America's Cup yachts, with variations, due to the particularities of the yachts. He went on to mention the younger French helmsmen such as Matthieu Richard and Sébastien Col that might be excellent match racers but might lack the skills himself or Russell Coutts have.

Whatever the case, the decision will be taken by Cayard, after consulting with Zulueta and John Cutler.

Navigator & Tactician
At one stage the question of the position of navigator and tactician was brought. Currently Desafío Español has Santi Lopez-Vazquez, Bruno Zirili and Tony Rae. Still, Zulueta said the team was always looking for other sailors. That will depend on the time schedule of the Cup. If it takes place in 2010, Desafío Español will have to rethink its policy, given its fixed budget.

Zulueta mentioned Terry Hutchinson, former tactician of Emirates Team New Zealand, with whom Desafío Español held talks, but again any decision will be taken by Cayard.

Litigation between GGYC and SNG
It was inevitable that at some point Cayard would be asked to give his opinion on the litigation between the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) and the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) and in particular what he thought would be the outcome of the court case in New York. His answer was that like anybody else, he could only speculate and it was difficult to foresee the outcome. In his opinion, it "also depends on Ernesto Bertarelli, not just Larry Ellison", but he knows they are trying to broker a last-minute deal before next Monday, although "it will not be easy". Both men have their agenda and are "very powerful", a pattern that has been repeated in previous America's Cup editions. According to Cayard, it is "good and bad that powerful men can play with the event". Zulueta added that the problem was the "ego" of Bertarelli and Ellison.

At that point we were finally able to ask one of our questions, concerning an editorial Cayard had written in Seahorse Magazine where he was very critical of Alinghi and the protocol. It seemed a contradiction to us that some months later he signed up with the Challenger of Record that signed that same protocol. Cayard admitted there were "problems" with the protocol and that was exactly the reason there were these negotiations between BMW Oracle and Alinghi. He went on to state that even Alinghi might now have second thoughts about the document they presented 2 days after their victory.

He distanced himself by saying he was a professional and that at this precise moment he had one task with Desafío Español. Use his experience in order to make the team better. Unlike previous editions of the event, this time he was not involved in "politics" but purely sports issues. He hopes the two parties can find a deal but this is out of his scope of duties.

In the event the America's Cup is postponed by 1 year, Cayard will remain with Desafío Español since his contract already includes that possibility.

New class of America's Cup yachts
According to Cayard, it is "physically possible" to have the new boats designed and built in the short time till 2009. You can start designing next Monday and start building by November 1st, although the end result will be miserable. Starting from that extreme the teams will try to manage their tight schedule accordingly. Nevertheless, he stressed that teams will "rush" to design and things won't be done as calmly as in previous editions. This can turn into an advantage for the teams that have their structure ready (administration, funding, base, management, technical team).

According to Zulueta, the designers meeting that took place last Wednesday was fruitful and the situation "evolved much more", without getting into details or explaining what he meant.

His goals for Desafío Español
Given the very good results achieved by Desafío Español in the previous America's Cup, the question about his goals for this edition is hard to answer. Still, his challenge is to improve last edition's result and that's why he is now in Valencia. Zulueta added that his goal is for Desafío Español to reach the finals of the Challenger Selection Series.

TP52 team
Cayard was also asked whether there would be a TP52 Desafío Español team. According to him, the idea of racing outside of the America's Cup is very good as it helps to build the team. Nevertheless, if the Cup takes place in 2009 and 2008 is busy with the pre-regattas, it will be very difficult to satisfy the calendar. If it takes place, it will certainly be for a part of the events and not the whole Medcup circuit.

You can listen to the whole 34 minutes of the press conference, thanks to the small media player. It works like any other player, using the three control buttons (play, pause and stop). You can also move around the sound file by clicking on the grey bar. Finally, you can adjust the volume through the small triangle on the right.

Unfortunately, for our non-spanish readers, the conference took place in a mixture of Spanish and Italian, given Cayard's fluency in the latter.

Labels: ,

Torben Grael to skipper Ericsson Racing Team

[Source: Ericsson Racing Team] This was announced during a press conference at the TP52 regatta currently underway in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, where the team’s training base for the northern hemisphere winter is situated.

”I look forward to do the race again and I am happy to join the very strong Ericsson Racing Team that seem to have a great team in place including designers, builders, shore and of course sailing crew,” said Torben Grael.

With five Olympic medals, a third place in the latest Volvo Ocean Race and three America’s cup campaigns under his belt, 47 year-old Torben Grael is one of the world’s most respected sailors of today. Torben’s success on the water has made him one of the most well known and respected athletes in his home country as well as overseas.

“With Torben onboard our campaign will become even stronger. We have a great platform with an already strong team in place that can now focus on the year leading up to the start in Spain in October 2008,” said Brad Jackson, who alongside Stu Bannatyne, is watch captain on the international crew.

Since John Kostecki left the campaign for family reasons in August Richard Brisius, managing director at Ericsson Racing Team, has been looking for his successor.

“Torben brings experience and world class track record,” said Brisius. “He joins a very strong team who are working at full speed in all aspects of the campaign. Together with our experienced watch captains, Stu Bannatyne and Brad Jackson, the international crew is almost complete and Torben will continue to build on the strong set up already established.”

The campaign will continue its high pace and with the Torben Grael as the new skipper now in place everyone can focus forward on the twelve months leading up to the start of leg 1.

A number of international journalists were attending the press conference in Puerto Calero and in Brazil Ericsson’s representatives hosted a press and staff get together and got special greetings from Torben in their common native language.

Torben Grael helms the Ericsson VO70 boat for the first time. Puerto Calero, 18 October 2007. Photo copyright Nico Martinez

Torben Grael (center) to skipper the Ericsson Volvo Ocean Race team. Puerto Calero, 18 October 2007. Photo copyright Nico Martinez

Labels: , ,

Paul Cayard gives press conference

As we said yesterday, Paul Cayard made this morning his first public appearance since joining the Spanish Challenger of Record, Desafío Español, as sports director.

It is always interesting to listen to what Cayard has to say, although it is true that despite the many questions journalists asked, the most controversial ones were not touched. Our long list of questions was left unanswered but we will have the opportunity to have a one-on-one interview hopefully next week.

Leaving apart the controversy of the Protocol, the CNEV (Club Nautico Español de Vela) and the Challenger of Record, the most important news that came out is that Cayard will certainly helm the new boat during its development stage although his role during official races in 2009 is still unclear.

Desafío Español is actively combing the market for another helmsman specialized in match racing. Cayard put it clear that there are better match racers than him available right now.

Our whole report will be online later today.

You can listen to the whole 34 minutes of the press conference, thanks to the small media player. It works like any other player, using the three control buttons (play, pause and stop). You can also move around the sound file by clicking on the grey bar. Finally, you can adjust the volume through the small triangle on the right.

Unfortunately, for our non-spanish readers, the conference took place in a mixture of Spanish and Italian, given Cayard's fluency in the latter.

Labels: ,

United Internet Team Germany steps up preparation pace in Valencia

A couple of days after officially receiving GER-91, United Internet Team Germany is stepping up its activities in Valencia. Despite the rainy weather, the German America's Cup challenger masted earlier today its second boat, GER-89.

Our apologies for the slow flow of news lately, but two factors contribute to that. Firstly, just two teams are really operating right now in Valencia, that is Desafío Español and United Internet Team Germany. As Brad Butterworth said in his interview here, Alinghi is on a standby mode, while Team Origin still hasn't arrived and as far as we know they haven't got a base allocated yet in Port America's Cup. Secondly, as we said, the weather has been really awful, rainy and cold, during the last two weeks.

The United Internet Team Germany base with the team's two boats GER-89 and GER-91. Valencia, 18 October 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

GER-91 (ex SUI-91), now painted white, sits in the German team's base. Valencia, 18 October 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Paul Cayard is in Valencia, so go ahead and ask a question

Tomorrow Thursday, at 10:30am Valencia time, Paul Cayard, Desafío Español's newly-appointed sports director, will give his first public conference since he joined the challenger of record last week.

We will obviously be at the Spanish team's base in order to grill the American sailor and as a result, we welcome any question from any reader, the harder the better. Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post or send us an email.

Please send your questions before Thursday, 10am Valencia time (4am New York,9pm Auckland).

Labels: ,

FOR SALE - Marcelino Botín GP42 2007 – FERMAX

As of today we start a new section, dedicated to the sale of racing yachts and inaugurated by the Fermax GP42. You can also access the dedicated page by clicking on the corresponding banner on the right-hand column of the website.

* Built in 2007, in Croatia. Made by Murtic Yacht Shipyard.
* Professional Maintenance. Currently the boat is in Valencia, in the Real Club Nautico de Valencia.
* Mast, boom, outrigger boom and a pair of jockeys in carbon. Made by Hall Spars.
* Holmatro hydraulic system.
* Harken fully equipped. (winches, grind, travellers and pulley)
* Fully equipped with racing ropes. Gotti.
* Electronic System by B&G: Hercules 3000 (4 uds, 20/20, 3 GFD)
* Plotter and GPS Antenna SIMRAD CP-31
* 2 VHF units (inside and outside the cabin). SIMRAD
* Sails inventory by North Sails.
* Special design for the keel and bulb.
* Safety Walk adhesive on the deck.
* Safety fully equipped.
* Customized by team Fermax and Jesper Radich.
* Silver color painted. Now boat is out of the water, and ready to meet it.

Eloy Herrero Gimeno
0034 607522425

Why not take advantage of the popularity of Valencia Sailing and our very competitive prices in order to sell your yacht? Just send us an email at info[at]

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Meanwhile in Valencia... news is scarce, Germans take GER-91 out for test

Unfortunately, there wouldn't be anything to report from the host city of the 33rd America's Cup if it weren't for the first test sail of GER-91 (ex SUI-91) off Valencia's coast.

The former Alinghi boat, now property of United Internet Team Germany, painted white, was towed from the Alinghi base, out of the canal and onto the sea. Unfortunately, Valencia Sailing, for once, was caught off guard and no camera was available to shoot the usual high-resolution pictures.

We are not in a position to know how long the first sail lasted. At least, the German team starts with an advantage, as far as knowledge of that particular boat is concerned, since the team's head, Jochen Schuemann, undoubtedly knows her well inside out.

United Internet Team Germany take GER-91 out for the first test sail, from Alinghi's base. Valencia, 16 October 2007. Photo copyright Jose Delgado / Alinghi

United Internet Team Germany take GER-91 out for the first test sail, from Alinghi's base. Valencia, 16 October 2007. Photo copyright Jose Delgado / Alinghi

Unrelated to the first German test, we received quite a lot of negative comments in relation to our article of last Wednesday, where we announced the possibility of a breakthrough in the stalemate that haunts the 33rd America's Cup. First of all it should be clear that the story was true and of course verified by Michel Hodara, CEO of America's Cup Management and Jason Ker, designer of United Internet Team Germany.

Alinghi made a proposal to the rest of the challengers to choose one parameter from the design of the boat. We understand the parameter to choose could be the displacement of the boat, although this has neither been confirmed nor denied. There has been a strict agreement of confidentiality from all parties that attended the meeting last Wednesday.

The consequent lack of any news concerning that meeting doesn't of course mean it didn't take place, nor does the lack of any agreement!!! The challengers, and especially BMW Oracle, might have thought the choice was too limited. The key to any agreement is for BMW Oracle to be convinced Alinghi doesn't have a headstart on the design of the new boat, but as we said, everybody's lips are sealed.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Mathieu Richard wins Bermuda Gold Cup

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Mathieu Richard of France became the third consecutive first-time winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup today when he defeated Sweden’s Björn Hansen, 2-0.

Richard and his Saba Sailing Team crew of Greg Evrard (mainsail and tactics), Olivier Herledant (headsails) and Yannick Simon (bow and traveler) rolled through the regatta with a 12-2 record and won $35,000 of the $100,000 prize purse.

“I don’t know what to say,” said Richard, 31, of Nantes, France. “We went 3-0 in the quarterfinals and semifinals and 2-0 today. I guess it was our week. Everything worked well onboard. To win such a prestigious event is great for us.”

Hansen and his Team crew of Martin Stromberg, Johan Tempelman and Will Thompson finished the regatta 15-5 and won $20,000. They entered the final having won 13 of 14 races, but couldn’t overcome the steamrolling Frenchmen.

“We were very happy to make the final, especially after we had to send a crewmember home,” said Hansen. “(Richard) might’ve had a bit of luck today, but we’ve been lucky throughout the week, so it probably evens out.”

Hansen’s primary tactician, Thomas Hallberg, left the island at the beginning of the week due to ill health. Thompson, of Bermuda, joined the crew the day before the regatta started.

In the Petite Final, Ed Baird of the U.S. defeated Bermuda’s Blythe Walker 2-0 to finish third and place Walker fourth. Baird and his Alinghi crew of Rodney Ardern, Lorenzo Mazza and Piet Van Nieuwenhuyzen won $15,000. Walker and crew Adam Barboza, Carola Cooper and Somers Kempe won $8,000.

Baird also won the Wedgwood Heritage Trophy, awarded to the sailor who embodies the spirit of the sport and is a willing ambassador.

Richard led the first race from start to finish. He started at the committee boat end of the line on port, tacked to starboard, found a puff, and was gone. Typical of Richard’s precision-like effort all week, he led by half a leg at the first leeward mark and was never threatened. But he needed luck in the second race to capture the championship.

With the wind shifting hard to the right as a rain squall passed, Hansen took the early lead off the start line and extended to about 45 seconds halfway through the three lap race. But Richard kept plugging away and found his opportunity on the third upwind leg.

With the wind shifting back and forth and varying in strength between 3 and 10 knots, Richard got to the right of Hansen halfway up the leg.

“He tacked to port and we tacked to cover him, but I knew it was getting close,” said Hansen. “He tacked back to starboard and got a puff. We got headed and tacked back to starboard but there was no wind.”

Richard closed up to overlapped to windward on starboard. When both boats tacked to port to round the mark Richard was to leeward and luffed three times trying to gain separation. He finally got it the third time, bore off to round the windward mark and got a puff as his spinnaker was set.

Richard quickly opened a two boatlength lead, which he held to the finish. As they crossed the line assured of victory, the crew jumped up and down, hugged and high-fived each other. They’d been in a final of a World Tour event five times before, only to finish second. They’d finally broken through.

“We had a crew meeting before this event,” said Simon, the 32-year-old bowman. “We said we have to do more, we have to take risks. We hadn’t sailed well the past three months. We’d been getting good results, but not victories. Everyone sails the same at this level, so we knew we had to take risks to win.”


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Vincenzo Onorato talks about the Barcolana and the America's Cup

Vincenzo Onorato, the Italian owner of Mascalzone Latino, talked to the media on Saturday in Trieste where he raced for the RC44 Trieste Cup, an event of the Barcolana. Onorato's boat had a difficult start at the Trieste Cup and was unable to recover due to its uneven performance. Mascalzone Latino finished 6th overall out of 10 boats that took part in the event.

In addition to expressing his admiration for the Barcolana, Onorato briefly comments about the current state of affairs of the America's Cup, making a disadvantageous comparison to the Italian event.

"The Barcolana is an incredible thing, a true sailing party. I haven't seen anything like it, neither in Valencia nor in Auckland. It's been more than 30 years that I have been racing throughout the world but this is the first time I see an event such as this one. It's fantastic to take part in it and Trieste gives the sailing world a lesson in style."

"It truly is a party for the sport of sailing and the people, and to see so many boats and so many people united in the same spirit, the genuine one, the sporting one, it's incredible. As far as the last day of racing is concerned, I hope to have fun, to be with my friends. Here in Trieste, it's not like the America's Cup which has turned into a drugged event, slowly distancing itself from people. The America's Cup should learn from Trieste and in particular from the Barcolana."

Vincenzo Onorato helming the Mascalzone Latino boat at the RC44 Trieste Cup where he finished sixth overall. Photo copyright Fabio Taccola/Farevela

"The relation I have with the city of Trieste is a sort of twinship, my crew has a long history of local guys and especially Vasco Vascotto, with whom I won two world titles. It's a very strong bond and this city has inspired me to create the sailing school in Naples. In Trieste, sailing is a popular sport and for that reason it can be considered a cradle of champions, unlike Naples where we hope that some day things will change."

"I chose to race in Barcolana with the RC44 because it's an innovative and extremely competitive boat, created and managed by the greatest sailing champion of all times: Russell Coutts."

"The America's Cup in 2009, with the same boats as the previous edition, would be perfect for Mascalzone Latino and with that solution all problems would be solved. During summer we proposed that solution, which would have given the opportunity to race within a very short time and enjoy very close and spectacular competition. The last edition of the event was characterized by close and breathtaking duels and I hope the next America's Cup can truly convey spectators the emotion and conquer them, just like here in Barcolana."

Vincenzo Onorato helming the Mascalzone Latino boat at the RC44 Trieste Cup where he finished sixth overall. Photo copyright Fabio Taccola/Farevela

Labels: , ,

Björn Hansen and Mathieu Richard to meet for Bermuda Gold Cup

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Björn Hansen of Sweden will meet Frenchman Mathieu Richard in tomorrow’s final of the $100,000 King Edward VII Gold Cup after each won their semifinal match 3-0 in racing here today.

Richard, the world’s No. 2-ranked match racer, manhandled Ed Baird of the U.S., winning with calm and ease. Hansen, ranked No. 6, took down local favorite Blythe Walker. Tomorrow’s final between Hansen and Richard means that for the third consecutive year the Gold Cup champion will be a first-time winner.

Richard’s dismantling of Baird was surprising for its seeming ease. Baird is a three-time match racing world champion and helmed Alinghi to victory in the 32nd America’s Cup in July. Throughout the week Baird, 48, had referenced the adage, “Age and treachery will overcome youthful enthusiasm every time.” Not today.

“It’s a great win, we’re very happy,” said Richard, 31. “We were very motivated this morning and had a good fighting spirit because we wanted to get to the final.”

Richard won yesterday’s quarterfinal match over Glenn Astwood also by 3-0, but felt that he had to increase his aggression today against Baird.

“Yesterday we sailed conservatively enough to get to the semifinals, but we had to be more aggressive with our tactics against Baird,” said the Frenchman. “We had to take risks with our tactics and sail the wind rather than the opponent.”

Richard led the first race at the first windward mark by less than one boatlength. Baird, however, passed him near the leeward mark when he crossed ahead on starboard. Richard then pulled his riskiest move of the day. He rounded between Baird and the mark when there was essentially nowhere to go.

“There was maybe 10 centimeters to the left and 10 to the right,” said Richard. “It was a risky move. Maybe we got lucky without a penalty call.”

Baird said, “We sailed into one of those vacuums and he didn’t.”

Richard regained the lead about halfway up the leg when he crossed Baird by about two boatlengths, and the match was hardly close again. Richard won the last race by nearly half a leg.

“You see a puff on the water and go for it. If you get it first, you’re off,” said Baird. “We just didn’t get it first today.”

Hansen and Walker provided endless entertainment in their match, shouting at each other and screaming “Foul!” to the umpires. Hansen won the first two races despite being penalized in each.

In Race 1 both competitors received pre-start penalties. The umpires gave Walker a red flag penalty, meaning he had to do his 270-degree turn immediately after starting. But they also penalized Hansen for hitting the pin end, which, Hansen said, was the result of Walker hitting him.

Still carrying the penalty and leading to the finish, Hansen worked to set a trap for Walker in the hope of offsetting his penalty. Plan achieved. Hansen was luffing outside the committee boat end, close aboard. He was hoping to get Walker to try and go over the top so that he could luff him. Instead, Walker tried going between the two boats. Walker wound up hitting Hansen hard in the stern quarter and, with the penalties offset, Hansen crossed the line for the win.

In Race 2 Hansen received another pre-start penalty. The accompanying red flag made him do the turn after starting. But he sailed to the left side of the course, found a big lift with pressure on port, and was back in the race. Walker led around the mark but Hansen rolled him on the run to the leeward mark and then remained in the lead.

Walker was over early in Race 3 which gave Hansen control. Walker was right on his transom halfway through the race, but Hansen reestablished a cushion that Walker wouldn’t be able to overcome.

Hansen now is in the final having won 13 of his last 14 races. It’s a bit more amazing considering that his primary tactician, Thomas Hallberg, left the island at the beginning of the week due to ill health. Hansen picked up local Will Thompson to join regulars Martin Stromberg and Johan Tempelman, and now the crew is jelling at the right time.

“I didn’t think we’d get to the final when the week started and Thomas had to go home,” said Hansen. “But Will is fitting in well.”

In consolation racing today, Paolo Cian of Italy captured 5th, Johnie Berntsson of Sweden was 6th, Brian Angel of the U.S. 7th, and Glenn Astwood of Bermuda 8th.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Team Aqua victorious at RC44 Trieste Cup

[Source: RC44] The dock was densely packed with spectators as the RC44 teams prepared for the final day of racing at the RC44 Trieste Cup. By the time the fleet made its way through the numerous boats and out to the race course, it was midday and winds were nearing 15 knots.

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua started the day with an 11 point lead over Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref. However, a fifth place in the first race quickly diminished the Aqua’s strong lead. It was Patrick de Barro’s new team, ES Bankers (Dubai) Ltd that won the race, their first bullet in this event. As tactician Dean Barker predicted, the newest addition to the fleet has shown steady improvement since Tuesday.

Typical of the region, the winds dropped for the second race putting the owners and guest helmsmen to the test. In race two it was Team Ceeref that had an excellent start and led the fleet around the course. As the winds dropped and shifted considerably, the fleet caught up with Team Ceeref and it was a battle for second place. It was however, Miroslav Reljanovic’s Team Cro-A-Sail that demonstrated their local knowledge beating out the others for an impressive second place finish.

Final day of racing at the RC Trieste Cup. Trieste, 13 October 2007. Photo copyright EMME&EMME/CETIN

The Slovenian team Ekipa44, helmed by Samo Potokar, showed the steady improvement over the course of the regatta finishing in third place overall.

For the first time the RC44 fleet will compete in tomorrow’s Barcolana. Lining up on the start line with more than 1,500 boats including the likes of maxis Alfa Romeo and Maxijena, the RC44’s ability accelerate quickly will be key.

As the teams pack up, the festivities are about to begin and the RC44 Trieste Cup Prizegiving will kick off this evening’s programme.

The next and final stop on the RC44 Championship Tour is Dubai, where the teams will compete in the RC44 Gold Cup hosted by the Dubai International Marine Club.

Final day of racing at the RC Trieste Cup. Trieste, 13 October 2007. Photo copyright EMME&EMME/CETIN


Igor Lah, Team Ceeref: “It was great. I am really proud of my team.”

James Spithill, Team Ceeref: “The boats are amazing to sail. A bit like the TP52s. I think they are the best boats out there! Igor did an amazing job especially given that this is only his second regatta ever!”

Miroslav Reljanovic, Cro-A-Sail: “Our tactics were good today, but we experienced a few problems in the first race. In the second race, we had a pretty good start – we were on the right side of the line and the course. We have had a few changes in the team that we are accommodating. We need to continue to sail together more.”

Andrea Ballico, Mascalzone Latino: “The first race was great, except that fitting on the clew of our gennaker broke. The second race was more difficult.”

Tomaz Copi, Team Magia: “I think the secret to our success in this event is the good training that we have put in at home. We have been out 15-20 times. Today we knew it would be tricky but we had good boat speed, good tactic and good boat handling. Third overall is really good for Ekipa44. We’re already planning for the 2008 season.”

Final day of racing at the RC Trieste Cup. Trieste, 13 October 2007. Photo copyright EMME&EMME/CETIN

Overall Fleet Racing Results - Provisional Ranking – no discard

1) Team Aqua (2,1,4,1,2,1,5,4) 20 points
2) Team Ceeref (3,5,1,5,1,7,3,1) 26 points
3) Team Ekipa 44 (7,4,3,6,4,4,2,5) 35 points
4) Team Omega (1,2,7,3,9,5,4,8) 39 points
5) Team ES Bankers (5,6,2,7,3,10,1,7) 41 points
6) Team Mascalzone Latino (8,9,10,2,8,2,6,3) 48 points
7) Team Cro-A-Sail (6,3,6,4,10,8,9,2) 48 points
8) Team Beecom (9,10,5,10,5,3,7,6) 55 points
9) Team Magia (4,8,9,8,6,6,8,10) 59 points
10) Team Organika (10,7,8,9,7,9,10,9) 69 points