33rd America's Cup - Two days to go
Greetings from windy Valencia. Sorry for the delays in reporting and the messed up website but I've working on changes in the layout in order to make room for the live stream of the races starting Monday.
With the absence of any sailing today, we, unfortunately, have to talk about politics. There have been three press conferences in the last 24 hours but I have to admit, we dind't get a lot wiser. All the important questions were left unanswered or diplomatically evaded.
First it was Alinghi's top brass to meet the press, Ernesto Bertarelli, team owner, Brad Butterworth, skipper and tactician, and Grant Simmer, design coordinator. Right after the Alinghi conference was over, the more than 100 journalists rushed to the BMW Oracle base to listen to Larry Ellison, team owner, Russell Coutts, CEO, and James Spithill, helmsman and skipper.
I will not talk about the personal attacks or the bragging statements about who's a better sailor, but instead concentrate on the issues.
Ernesto Bertarelli stated he would share the helm of Alinghi 5 with Loïck Peyron. For Bertarelli, Peyron is like a Swiss knife, his vast multihull experience could be used in all positions. As for the size of the crew, the yacht can sail competitively with as little as 10 sailors but they could be with up to 16 sailors aboard Alinghi 5 on Monday. Still, the final decision will be taken on the morning of each race.
As for BMW Oracle, neither Ellison's nor Coutts' presence is certain. As Ellison himself stated, his weight is close to the limit so, at least on Monday, it's highly improbable he would be onboard USA. Still, the final word is on James Spithill.
Bertarelli was much more straightforward on that issue. According to the Swiss billionaire, the result of the regatta on the water should also be the final outcome of the 33rd America's Cup. Whoever lost on the water in Valencia shouldn't continue the match in the New York courtrooms.
On the other hand, both Coutts and Ellison, evaded answering whether they would proceed with their litigation should they lose in Valencia. Their answer was that they are 100% concentrated and aren't considering anything else than the next week's races.
34th America's Cup
Just one thing is for sure in the next edition of the America's Cup. If BMW Oracle wins in Valencia, the 34th America's Cup will be held in "fast" monohulls on shorter courses, similar to the RC44's, as Ellison stated. That of course doesn't come as a surprise. It won't be a surprise either if we see smaller catamarans racing in the next Cup, should Alinghi finally prevail.
Regarding the format, the venue or the next Challenger of Record, neither Ellison nor Bertarelli wanted to reveal anything. We will have to wait until the races are over, or maybe longer as Bertarelli was quick to state he wouldn't rush and that Alinghi would take the time necessary to think about the next step.