34th America's Cup US Defender Series build up in Valencia
We couldn't believe our eyes on Wednesday with what we saw in the Desafío base in Valencia's Port America's Cup!!! Not only hasn't the oldest sports trophy in the world left the city, it now appears that for the first time in many years we will have a parallel "Defender Series".
The official holder of the America's Cup is neither Larry Ellison, nor Russell Coutts, nor BMW Oracle. It is the Golden Gate Yacht Club and as such it has the liberty to choose the sailing team that will represent it. It is now clear that a new yacht club has been recently formed in order to take part in the selection trial the GGYC will hold in order to decide which American syndicate and which American boat will have the honor of representing the USA and that club in the actual America's Cup.
The San Ildefonso Yacht Squadron shore crew preparing the base of the potential US Defender. Valencia, 31 March 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Our information was also confirmed by one of our readers that managed to have access to some confidential files that a top US sailing figure unknowingly published in a public forum. The "San Ildefonso Yacht Squadron", based in San Ildefonso, New Mexico was formed a few months ago and has come into an agreement with Desafío, now called Team Iberdrola, to charter its base and its two America's Cup Class boats, ESP-88 and ESP-97, in order to start preparing for the US Defender Series, scheduled to start in mid 2011. Unlike the challengers, the potential defenders have no obligation to have an annual regatta and as a result any newly-established yacht club can potentially become a Defender.
We don't know yet who is behind SYIS, although some unconfirmed information points to Dennis Conner. Whoever it might be it is sure they are not wasting any time. Their shore crew was busy on Wednesday morning unloading the two containers branded with the SYIS flag that had just been brought from the commercial port. They didn't waste any time either hoisting a giant US flag on the rooftop and from what we understand the two ACC yachts are already in the shed being painted with the light blue and white colors of the San Ildefonso Yacht Squadron. As for the sailing crew, it is still too early to have a clear picture but there are rumors that the team will be skippered by Ed Baird, winner of the 32nd America's Cup.
Labels: 34th America's Cup