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Posted by on Dec 15, 2009 in Sailboat Racing, UK, US |

Setting Sails (& Wing): America’s Cup Heads to Spain

While massive multihulls spread their wings half a world apart, the New York State Supreme Court issued a tedious but series of decisions. Finally, both boats seem headed toward a match in February on the Mediterranean.

After losing their appeal to defend the America’s Cup in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, the Alinghi team and the defending yacht club, Societe Nautique de Geneve, at last have conceded that the next America’s Cup Match will take place in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010.

More power! A recent photo of Alinghi training in Ras Al Khaimah with a bigger bowsprit fitted presumably to carry bigger downwind sails.

More power! A recent photo of Alinghi training in Ras Al Khaimah with a bigger bowsprit fitted presumably to carry bigger downwind sails.

A plaintive statement attributed to Fred Meyer, SNG vice-commodore was issued to the press earlier today saying, “Once again BMW Oracle’s strategy to try to win the America’s Cup in court instead of on the water has been successful. For the first time in the history of the America’s Cup the Defender has been stripped of its fundamental right to select the venue. Société Nautique de Genève accepts this decision and Alinghi is looking forward to racing for the America’s Cup on the water in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010.”

So the defenders aren’t too happy about the way this Match is shaping up, but given how they tried to set the rules to their advantage ever since the last match, they shouldn’t be too surprised if they aren’t being consoled by the rest of the sailing world. And given how many decisions they’ve lost in court, one would think they might’ve  been ready with a new line other than Commodore Meyer’s oft-repeated refrain.

I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb now to say that every sailor involved in this and any other America’s Cup, even those in the Alinghi group, will find some blessed relief in the fact that the opportunity to focus on a sailboat race now has a chance to interrupt the legal tedium. It’s still many days until February, when we might see these two beautiful pieces of technology lining up against each other on a cold and blustery day on the south coast of Spain; hopefully there won’t be too many distractions unrelated to sailboat racing between now and then.

BMW Oracle's trimaran is loaded in San Diego for the trip to Valencia, Spain.

BMW Oracle's trimaran is loaded in San Diego for the trip to Valencia, Spain. Bob Grieser/Outsideimages.co.nz

In recent days, Larry Ellison’s wing-sailed trimaran has been disassembled at its training site in San Diego and loaded on a ship bound for Spain. More photos and blog entries about the process can be seen on BMW Oracle’s blogsite.

—John Burnham

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