I am back home for the holidays, after three months in Valencia. As we all know, the event has yet to gain traction. The court case between BMW Oracle and Alinghi has completely derailed the America’s Cup. As of this time, there is no date, there is no class of boat, and no venue. There is a defender (Alinghi) and one (1) challenger, BMW Oracle.
Desafio Español, like most other teams, has had to make new plans. In the New Year, we will go to a reduced operation until there is some certainty about the next Cup that the team will be able to participate in. A new program has the team competing on the TP 52 Med Cup and GP 42 Circuits next summer, both in the Mediterranean. These circuits are very competitive and in fact most of the America’s Cup sailors race there. By having its own team boats, supported by Iberdrola and other top sponsors, Desafio will keep the sailing team working seriously and together and continue its presence in the sport of sailing.
This situation is obviously hard on the people on every team who have to, after getting their lives organized to be in Valencia for two years working for the America’s Cup. It is also a shame for the fans of the sport and the corporate sponsors who were starting to appreciate what sailing can offer.
It is amazing to think that just 6 months ago, on the 21st of June, we were heading to the most competitive America’s Cup final in many years following on of the most interesting Louis Vuitton Cups. The first America’s Cup in Valencia raised the profile of the event world wide and indeed Alinghi is to be complimented for that. But, how long will it take to get back to that level? When will we next see a harbor with 60,000 spectators and the kind of enthusiasm we witnessed last summer? What a shame to be in this situation.
For me, I plan to continue with Desafio on their TP 52 project next summer, keeping the team together and hoping for some Cup news before December of 2008. This spring, I will sail on Warpath with Steve and Fred Howe of San Diego, on the Farr 40 circuit which includes Key West, Miami SORC, and the World Championship in April (also in Miami). We finished 4th in the World Championship in Sydney a few years back, so it will be fun to try to improve on that.
I am also revisiting a plan I had last year to race with my kids and a few others to Hawaii. There is a lot of organization required to get a project like that to come to fruition but no time like the present. No Star sailing for the time being although my new boat still sits in a friend’s hangar at Gnoss Field in Novato….fully cured I guess by now.
For now, a bit of a rest and family time. We will be at our home in Kentfield, CA for Christmas and then off to Lake Tahoe for a week of skiing. I want to wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Year’s!