Saturday, December 22, 2007

Paul Cayard talks about Desafío and the America's Cup

[Source: Paul Cayard] I am back in San Francisco after a three month stint in Valencia. The short story is that I joined Desafio Español assuming that we were in for a short America's Cup, with a new class of boat which I found very interesting as it meant a new game and a compressed time frame.

As we all know, the event has yet to gain traction. The court case between BMW Oracle and Alinghi has completely derailed the America's Cup. As of this time, there is no date, there is no class of boat, and no venue. There is a defender (Alinghi) and one (1) challenger, BMW Oracle.

Desafio Español, like most other teams, has had to make new plans. In the New Year, we will go to a reduced operation until there is some certainty about the next Cup that the team will be able to participate in. A new program has the team competing on the TP 52 Med Cup and GP 42 Circuits next summer, both in the Mediterranean. These circuits are very competitive and in fact most of the America's Cup sailors race there. By having its own team boats, supported by Iberdrola and other top sponsors, Desafio will keep the sailing team working seriously and together and continue its presence in the sport of sailing.

This situation is obviously hard on the people on every team who have to, after getting their lives organized to be in Valencia for 2 years working for the America's Cup. It is also a shame for the fans of the sport and the corporate sponsors who were starting to appreciate what sailing can offer.

It is amazing to think that just 6 months ago, on the 21st of June... the longest day of the year, we were heading to the most competitive America's Cup final in many years following one of the most interesting Louis Vuitton Cups. The first America's Cup in Valencia raised the profile of the event world wide and indeed Alinghi is to be complimented for that. But, how long will it take to get back to that level? When will we next see a harbor with 60,000 spectators and the kind of enthusiasm we witnessed last summer? What a shame to be in this situation.

For me, I hope to continue with Desafio on their TP 52 project, keeping the team together and hoping for some Cup news before December of 2008. I will sail on Warpath with Steve and Fred How of San Diego, on the Farr 40 circuit this spring which includes Key West, Miami SORC, and the World Championship in April (also in Miami). We finished 4th in the World Championship in Sydney a few years back, so it will be fun to try to improve on that.

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At 2:57 AM, Anonymous ojessen said...

Well, I have an idea for when will be the next time we will see 60.000 spectators in the harbour: This will be the day the VOR finish their world race. Or maybe it'll be even more people (like in Gothenburg last time or in Kiel the time before that).

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i guess only one date can not be compared to an event over several months. even then - valencia is not kiel (anual holder of the largest sailing event worldwide for decades).

At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Nevarez said...

It is a shame that Oracle (Larry Ellison), has destroyed the chance of having the Cup in Valencia for 2009. I attended the America's Cup 2007 this year in Valencia, and it was awesome. Having never been to a Cup event before, I felt that the city of Valencia did an outstanding job of hosting the event and I look forward to attending another one in the future. By the way, the food and nightlife in Valencia are world class, not to mention the great Las Arenas beach.

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, you will always make good money. You are a STAR, a businessman, but what about the maintainers, trimmers, pitmen, ther kids and their wives?
Spain worked so hard to make this sport a way of life and btwn Ernesto and( I hate to say this) but the stupidity of Zulueta and Pombo of being the Challenger of Record killed DE, the sailors, their family and this sport.

I say it again, this is not football or futol. You all killed this sport. It won't be on tv anymore, you won't have 60,000 people at the harbor anymore.


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