Cupdate

Anyone who follows the America’s Cup likely has a headache the size of Texas and more than a few empty bottles of Aspirin kicking around the floor. And given the legal shenanigans involved, who wouldn’t? The good news is that it finally looks as though the Cup is on track to be raced in February at a venue that both parties can agree upon.Astute Cup fans will baulk at this last sentence,
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
Cupdate_1

Anyone who follows the America’s Cup likely has a headache the size of Texas and more than a few empty bottles of Aspirin kicking around the floor. And given the legal shenanigans involved, who wouldn’t? The good news is that it finally looks as though the Cup is on track to be raced in February at a venue that both parties can agree upon.

Astute Cup fans will baulk at this last sentence, as many publications, including SAIL, ran stories declaring the United Arab Emirates country of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) to be the battleground chosen by Alinghi for their defense. Reportedly, the tiny nation next door to Iran has spent more than $120 million preparing for the Cup, building infrastructure and signing international deals.

Slight problem: While RAK’s intentions were undoubtedly good, they chose the wrong bedfellow, as Alinghi misinterpreted the Deed of Gift, the document that governs how the Cup must be raced. The Deed explicitly says that any Deed of Gift Challenge (DoG; a two-boat, best-of-three match race) that is to be contested in the winter months must take place in the Southern Hemisphere. In early November Justice Shirley Kornreich agreed with BMW/Oracle that Alinghi’s choice venue was outside of the Cup’s rules, and was therefore an unacceptable location for a February America’s Cup.

Cupdate_2

In May of 2008 Justice Cahn, then a New York Supreme Court judge, allowed that the Cup, which must be held this February according to the Deed of Gift, could also be raced in Valencia, Spain (home of the 32nd Defense), provided that both parties agreed to the venue. Justice Kornreich upheld Justice Cahn’s decision regarding Valencia, and handed the decision back to Alinghi and BMW/Oracle to sort out. After much speculation regarding the possibility of the east coast of Australia as the location (Alinghi wanted to hold it there), the two teams announced in mid November that the 33rd Cup will be contested in Valencia, Spain, this February.

It’s clear that this is a victory for Larry Ellison’s BMW/Oracle syndicate. Early speculation holds that since BMW/Oracle did not know the location of the match when designing their boat, they built a racing machine that could handle a wide range of conditions. Alinghi’s designers, on the other hand, obviously planned for RAK and thus designed a light-air machine, as RAK historically does not see airs over about 8 – 10 knots in February.

Valencia, however, is a different story.

Cupdate_4

And while it’s tempting to declare BMW/Oracle the outright winner of the last few months worth of AC bickering, they too lost some blood, but on the water, not the courtroom. Earlier this month BMW/Oracle lost its rig while sailing off San Diego. This was one of three masts that the team had been testing, each progressively bigger than the one before, with the now broken rig—estimated to cost some $10M including sails and rigging—the biggest of the lot.

Just days later BMW/Oracle released images of what waslikely the worst-kept secret in Cup circles in years: a wing sail. Wing master David Hubbard (yes, the same David Hubbard who brought us a hard wing sail in the last DoG match, in 1988) worked with BMW/Oracle as a consultant on this project. The new wing sail which is rumored to have taken 20,000 man-hours to build, looks impressive, , but the are some serious logistical hurdles, most notably stepping and unstepping the beast before and after each sailing day.

It’s rumored that Alinghi have also been working with top wing consultants for months, but BMW/Oracle now has the psychological advantage..

So, for any Cup fans who had bought airline tickets to RAK, it’s past time to call your travel agent and see if you can instead fly to Spain. While it’s not likely to be as warm on the water as RAK would have been, you can bet that the on-the-water battle will be heated. But the real question remains: Will the 33rd America’s Cup be a battle of multihulls that are powered by hard sails? If so, this is one for the record books… as well as the law books.

Related

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more