You don't have to be sitting in the back room to know that the challengers are at odds with event management over how to "fix" the series to compensate for weather delays that have thoroughly destroyed the schedule. In a Saturday night meeting of 10 of the 11 America's Cup challengers—+39 was absent, whatever that means—some of the rescheduling decisions of event management were endorsed and others were not. I think there's another meeting under way as I write. Below you will find two official statements. The first is from the challengers, after their meeting. The second is from event management. Let's hope things aren't headed in the direction shown, and in case you're missing it, that's a drain cover at Port America's Cup—KL
From the Challenger Commission:
Decisions at the previous CC meeting were affirmed -- RR1 Flights 3 and 4 are scheduled for Sunday, 5 and 6 for Monday, etc. Flights postponed to a later date would be raced the next day(s) and in sequence with the balance of the schedule pushed back accordingly. The Regatta Director would adjust the pairing list (in consultation with CC reps) as necessary from day to day to minimize if not eliminate course swapping between Flights on a given day, and to otherwise avoid a big casino with respect to the equalization of other factors as between all Challengers (use of the north inner course, MDS buoyed courses, etc.).
The Regatta Director's proposal for the schedule of racing for RR2 (one race per day beginning Fri 27 Apr) was supported with the following caveats:
There should be no "Off Day" between RR1 and RR2. RR2, with one race per day scheduled, should begin the day after the last day of racing for RR2. If RR1 racing is further delayed, the start of RR2 would be delayed accordingly.
The RR1 "No Change Period" should end at 2100 on the last day of RR1 racing, and begin for RR2 at 0800 the next day (first day of RR2 racing). [Wow, that would be a quick turnaround: Ed.]
Two additional reserve days should be added to the end of RR2 (May 9 and 10). Any RR2 races that are postponed to a later date would be rescheduled as the first of two flights the next day only if and when all but one of the scheduled reserve days has been taken up with postponed race(s).
The start of the Semi-finals should be delayed one day to 15 May. The "No Change Period" for the Semifinals should begin at 0800 on 15 May instead of 24 hours before the warning signal for the first race.
Under the various rules that govern the LVC, schedule changes must be agreed by the Challenger Commission and ACM. At the end of last evening's meeting, the ACM COO said by phone that he was not prepared to approve the above changes to the Regatta Director's proposal for RR2.
The CC was unanimous and adamant that all eleven teams must be afforded an opportunity to race in a fair and proper Louis Vuitton Cup regatta.
The CC Chair and Chair of the NOR Working Party would consult further with the Regatta Director and ACM officials on Sunday and report back to the CC. With wind forecasts Sunday through Wednesday not promising for getting the scheduled two races per day completed, and ACM's apparent unwillingness to cooperate with the CC, it was likely the CC would need to meet again Sunday evening or Monday to consider further options and initiatives to ensure a fair and proper regatta.
And an announcement distributed by event management on Sunday:
<B<Valencia, 22 April, 2007 - On Sunday morning, the event organisers for the 32nd America's Cup and the Louis Vuitton Cup announced a change to the schedule for the Louis Vuitton Cup.
"A stretch of unusual weather has forced the cancellation of five out of six days of racing over the past week," said Michel Bonnefous, the CEO or AC Management. "As a consequence of this situation and following consultation with the Challenger Commission, AC Management, as the sole event authority to the 32nd America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup, has decided to modify the competition for Round Robin One and Round Robin Two of the Louis Vuitton Cup."
The changes mean that there will be no 'off day' between Round Robin One and Round Robin Two. All full flights of racing will be sailed in order. There are two reserve days (May 8 and May 9) at the end of Round Robin Two. If needed, Round Robin Two may include two races per day. The date of the start of the Semi Finals is unchanged, with racing scheduled to begin on May 14.
While there have often been light winds that would allow sailing over the past week on the waters off Valencia, the conditions have rarely been stable enough to allow fair racing. Despite pressure to start racing, Regatta Director Dyer Jones says the competitors are supportive of not racing in marginal, unstable conditions.
"This has been an unusually bad stretch of very calm weather with winds such that you cannot conduct fair races," he said. "Our job as a Race Committee is to go out and try to run races which are as fair as possible so that either yacht in a match has the opportunity to win.
"What's important here is that the competitors all want to go out and win the America's Cup. Every single challenger is here for that sole purpose. They want to win, but they don't win it on a fluke and more importantly they don't want to lose races on a fluke. That goes to the heart of what the job of the Race Committee is to do which is to set up and run the best possible race that we can. The challengers have indicated the parameters they would like to see the Race Committee start races in (7 to 23 knots) and we're going to stick to that because we believe that will provide the best possible racing so that the teams can prove what they can do."
"We have to consider the sport and the racing first," confirmed Chief Operating Officer Michel Hodara, speaking about the changes to the schedule. "But we cannot avoid considering the needs and requests of sponsors, hospitality programmes, and all the logistical elements linked to the organisation of the competition."
Flights 3 and 4 are scheduled to be raced on Sunday, with the forecast for light Northeast winds of 6 to 8 knots, right on the margin for racing.