33rd and 34th America's Cup
Valencia Sailing is back on business after a short break due to the equivalent of being hit by a bus full of flu viruses. Given the fact Alinghi's decision on the 33rd America's Cup should be made public very soon, we will assess the current situation and the possible developments for this and the next edition of the world's oldest sports event.
33rd America's Cup
What will Alinghi announce? Without any doubt whatever they think will bring them the biggest advantage. Why should they do anything else?
First of all, we think it doesn't make any sense to believe Alinghi would agree with BMW Oracle to hold a conventional event here in Valencia in 2009. Last month ACM had announced the postponement of the event and it is difficult to see how they might change their intention two weeks later. Given the tense relations between Alinghi and BMW Oracle in the 32nd event it is even more difficult to see how they could rapidly agree on a new protocol with the additional hurdle of Russell Coutts being the CEO of the American team.
One could argue that if 2009 is not feasible then why not hold the event in 2010 or 2011? Again, the "Russell Coutts factor" might be the biggest hurdle.
Alinghi could always appeal Justice Cahn's decision but again we can't see what advantage they would gain from that. The decision was quite clear and strong and the Swiss might have very slim chances in succeeding. The CNEV might always appeal but we understand this possibility is getting increasingly weaker due to political pressure on Zulueta, Chirivella and Pombo.
The "Deed of Gift" race is in our personal opinion the most plausible scenario. Why? Because it gives Alinghi the best option to start the 34th event with a clean sheet and avoids any negotiations for the 33rd. When BMW Oracle presented their challenge last July they set the dates of the races for the 4th, 6th and 8th of July 2008, ten months time, as the Deed of Gift requires. Justice Cahn can reset these dates and start counting ten months from the date of his decision or from the date of the last hearing. Whatever the case, it should be between July and September 2008.
The "million-dollar" question is where is the race going to take place? ACM has stated that it doesn't guarantee Valencia in case of a catamaran race.
We have heard a speculation it could be a very windy place. There is no need to travel too far from Valencia to find such a spot, Tarifa the wind surfer's paradise is located in southern Spain.
Obviously this is a pure speculation and the only limitation set by BMW Oracle's challenge is that it takes place in the Northern Hemisphere. Lorient,Tarifa, Key West, any bets?
As our readers know, BMW Oracle had summoned all the potential challengers (don't forget that only the Americans are challengers in the 33rd America's Cup) in a meeting in Valencia, in order to assess the current situation and discuss the various options on the 33rd and 34th editions of the event.
According to the official statement from BMW Oracle, there were 14 challengers that participated in the press conference last Monday in Valencia's Holiday Inn. We were able to witness that ten had sent a representative in the meeting: BMW Oracle (obviously), Team Origin, United Internet Team Germany, Victory Challenge, AYRE, Desafío Español, Mascalzone Latino, Shosholoza, Luna Rossa and Decision Challenge (a previously-unknown potential team).
An additional 4 teams took part through the teleconference system. To the best of our knowledge these were Emirates Team NZ, K-Challenge, China Team and a third Italian team (probably related to +39 Challenge).
Obviously, the degree of readiness of the participants in the meeting varies greatly, as well as do their interests and aspirations. BMW Oracle apart, the New Zealanders, Germans and Britons are the most eager to race a conventional Cup, here in Valencia in 2009. They have been preparing for that for almost 6 months now, they have invested in infrastructure and human capital and most importantly they have the necessary funds to go ahead.
For the rest of the teams, we have serious doubts whether an event here in Valencia in 18 months is a desirable let alone feasible alternative. With a few exceptions they lack funding and even if they did have the adequate moneys, time is extremely short to set up a team let alone design and build a new AC 90 boat.
Still, the meeting contained an extremely important factor, that is the public statement and commitment by BMW Oracle to hold a conventional 34th America's Cup in Valencia in 2011, if of course they win the 33rd event.
34th America's Cup
It of course depends on who wins the 33rd. If it's BMW Oracle we should take it for granted it will be Valencia in 2011, although in their statement the Americans have left an open window in case the financial deal with the city is not as lucrative as they hoped.