Saturday, June 27, 2009

Iberdrola Team, former Desafío, to make first appearance in Trofeo Reina

Iberdrola Team, the former Desafío, will make its first appearance, albeit scaled down, during the Trofeo de la Reina, here in Valencia, from the 3rd until the 5th of July. The team is set to continue the participation of its main sponsor Iberdrola in the sport of sailing and will, initially, be a scaled down version of its former self.

The green team will participate with 2 yachts. The first one, the GP42, is well known in the international circuits. Still, with the absence of a separate GP42 division in this year's regatta, the former GP42 champion will race in RI 0, a Spanish rating system. She will be helmed by Laureano Wizner, as she has been for the last 3 years. The second one, a Platu 25, will race in the corresponding division and will be helmed by Spanish match racing champion Manu Weiller. The TP52 yacht has already been sold to Cristabella and raced under the British flag 2 weeks ago in Marseille.

Desafío was without any doubt the most successful team ever in the history of Spanish sailing, reaching the Louis Vuitton semifinals two years ago and getting eliminated honorably by Emirates Team New Zealand. It's a pity to witness the decline of such a team to a shadow of its former self but they have nobody to blame but themselves. The creation of the CNEV was entirely theirs and it gave BMW Oracle the golden opportunity to bring the case to the NY courts and earn a spot at the America's Cup match after two failed attempts in the 31st and 32nd editions of the world's oldest sports trophy.

Iberdrola Team will hold a press conference on Wednesday, where it will present its plans for the future. Given the absence of a conventional America's Cup and the slim chances of having one in the near future, it is rumored the Spanish electricity giant will fund a second Volvo Ocean Race team. As per the contract signed between the Region of Valencia and the VOR organizers, in the next three editions there must be at least two different Spanish teams, independent from each other.

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