Sunday, January 24, 2010

Meanwhile in Valencia... cold front keeps giant multihulls grounded

Greetings from cold and cloudy Valencia. The same front that pushed USA 17 yesterday to blaze at 22 knots of wind put the two giant multihulls into "hibernation" mode on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and most probably Monday. Strong breezes coupled with big waves forced the shore crews of the two America's Cup teams to take the yachts out of the water as a precautionary measure.

Despite the apparently harsh conditions on Saturday, it could have very well been a race day. The day started with typical storm conditions, characterized by a strong north-northeasterly breeze that topped 20-22 knots at noon. It then dropped down to 10 knots for a period of 3-4 hours, with a surprising wind consistency both in intensity and direction. There was only a 10-degree shift, from 60 degrees to 70 and back in a considerably expanded area, in which a race diamond could perfectly fit. The breeze then picked up again as the threatening clouds reached Valencia.

The only bummer, for teams, organizers and spectators, is that a northeasterly direction means that the race axis is almost parallel to the coastline. Given the dimensions of the course and taking into consideration the exclusion zones of the commercial ports of Sagunto and Valencia, the starting line must be set 14 nautical miles from the coast!!!

Alinghi 5 out of the water waiting for the cold front to pass. Valencia, 24 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Sailing in the world's sailing capital isn't only about the America's Cup. It's also the TP52's and the Louis Vuitton Series, even if there isn't any event held here. Luna Rossa have bought Vasco Vascotto's TP52 yacht and are already working on her modification to the new TP52 class rule, inside their boatshed, pushing the STP65 out. If my count is correct, there are 7 TP52's yachts under modification right now in Port America's Cup.

A few hundred meters from the Italian base, Team Origin have started moving into their new home in Valencia, the former K-Challenge base. The UK team will certainly use the base for the upcoming Louis Vuitton and TP52 seasons.

Out with the old, in with the new. Luna Rossa's STP65 (right) is out of the boat shed, making room for the TP52 (left) freshly bought from Vasco Vascotto. Valencia, 24 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Team Origin are moving into their new home, the former K-Challenge base. Valencia, 24 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was there only one boat sailing Saturday? How come when there is little more than two weeks for the race, there is a team that does´t dare to go sailing with almost perfect wind conditions?
I call it chickens with cheese in their brains.


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