Valencia, Alinghi and BMW Oracle reach agreement on 33rd America's Cup
Sorry for the absence of any updates so far on Thursday but together with the rest of the Valencia press we have been on the road in order to cover the press conference on the agreement Valencia, Alinghi and BMW Oracle have reached on the celebration of the 33rd America's Cup, if of course, the Appellate Division upholds Justice Kornreich's ruling on Ras al-Khaimah not being a legitimate venue for a match in February.
It's nice to see Valencia Sailing finally writing about sailing in Valencia, especially if it's the America's Cup.
Alinghi, BMW Oracle and representatives from the local, regional and central government of Spain met today at the headquarters of the Valencia 2007 organization in order to start working on the organizational details of the event.
There is finally an agreement!! From left Lucien Masmejean (Alinghi counselor), Rita Barberá (Valencia mayor), Gerardo Camps (Valencia regional minister of Economy) and Tom Ehman (BMW Oracle head of External Affairs)
Teams will use current bases
According to Rita Barberá, Valencia mayor, the first major agreement reached by all parties is that both teams will use their current bases inside the Port America's Cup as their main operation bases. Both multihulls will be docked in front of the bases, just like they did in the 32nd America's Cup. Given their extraordinary size, the two teams will have to use the adjacent bases (+39 Challenge in Alinghi's case and Shosholoza in BMW Oracle's case) or any other space necessary. In fact, the port's maintenance crews have already taken apart the fences that separated the bases.
Still, the Valencia Port Authority will provide additional space, inside the commercial port, in case the two yachts need it under adverse weather conditions. Both yachts might encounter problems entering the canal under high waves since it hasn't been designed for such wide boats and as a result they might need to seek refuge somewhere else.
Organization of the event
First of all, the two organizational aspects of the event will be separated. On one hand the purely sporting issues will be handled by Alinghi while Valencia will organize the rest of the event.
For that reason, four working parties have already been constituted and they will start working from Monday morning on a continuous basis. Time is very short and with less than two months until the first starting gun is fired there is no time to waste.
The first working party will be in charge of finances, the second one will take care of operational and logistical issues, and the third one will handle television, marketing and promotion of the event as well as hospitality and public entertainment. Finally, the fourth working party will concentrate solely on the organization of the sailing competition.
The Alinghi delegation arrives at the headquarters of the Valencia 2007 organization. From left, Silvio Arrivabene (construction and planning manager), Lucien Masmejean (counselor), Will McCarthy (base project manager), and David Gallego (head of Spanish institutional relations). (Valencia, 10 December 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Rita Barberá, once again, stressed the fact Valencia will not be paying any host-city fee but will bear all the costs of organizing the event. The city will have the right to look for sponsors and this will be one of the tasks the finances working party will tackle. The name Valencia will be "indissolubly" related to the 33rd America's Cup, according to Barberá, and according to the agreement both teams will have to use it in all their communication, marketing and PR actions.
Number of races
All parties agree that there could be more than three races - five or seven - with the city of Valencia, obviously, being the most public advocate. This is very easy to understand since they are paying for the event and they would like to have it lasting more. Still, as with most issues, no details were given, just the fact they will work on this issue.
Given the particular nature of a Deed-of-Gift match, the race area will be immensely bigger than what we had the chance to watch on the same waters from 2004 to 2007. Barberá briefly showed us a map with a proposed area but it was too fast to make anything out of it. Still, whatever the area the two teams agree upon, the starting line will be as close as possible to the beach so that the general public can watch at least a small part of the race. This will be by far the America's Cup most suited to television.
Alinghi's counselor Lucien Masmejean was the first to talk after Barberá and thanked the city, the region and the central government for organizing such an "efficient and fruitful" meeting.
One important aspect is Alinghi's pending appeal. Masmejean was very convinced that a decision should be made public before the 17th of December. For him, it is very difficult to conceive the judges going on the Christmas break without having solved this case. If no decision is made public before Christmas then Alinghi would have to reconsider its stance, according to Masmejean, but without entering into any details.
The BMW Oracle delegation arrives at the headquarters of the Valencia 2007 organization. From left, Manolo Ruiz Elvira (designer), Grant Davidson (logistics manager), and Tom Ehman (head of external affairs). Valencia, 10 December 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
It was packed house at the press conference. Valencia, 10 December 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Alinghi has already started repainting the base and repairing all breakages. Valencia, 10 December 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Alinghi is also taking out of the base all the "junk", such as SUI-100, winner of the 32nd America's Cup. Valencia, 10 December 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing