Careful what you wish for

America’s Cup
Here is my latest theory… Ernesto will fight Larry tooth and nail with lawyers. He knows how to do that. His goal will be to get the BMW Oracle challenge dismissed in court by any means and for any reason possible and then host a multi-challenger event in 2011. He will not build a multihull in Switzerland with all Swiss parts. It would not be easy and would take years for them to make winches, 3DL sails, titanium bolts and so on. Remember that this is a Deed of Gift challenge… another hurdle for the Swiss…”a yacht or vessel propelled by sails only and constructed in the country to which the Challenging Club belongs”. I think that means all of the boat.

There will no doubt be a lawsuit about what that means too. Meanwhile, Ellison is full steam ahead building his 90ft catamaran right now and is probably ahead of where Bertarelli could be anyway even if he did have the materials that are available to Ellison in the USA.

So what does Ernesto do if he doesn’t win in court?

My theory… If Ernesto loses in court and must defend the Deed of Gift challenge, he does nothing. Ellison and Coutts and their army of sailors, designers, shore team, boatbuilders and so on go through the whole rigmarole of getting the boat designed, built, tested, ready and to the race area, then complete two races by themselves. Ernesto hands over the trophy and says, “Congratulations, Larry, you finally won the America’s Cup.”

Where does that leave Ellison? Holding a turd, that’s where. A very expensive one at that. What kind of commercial credibility does the AC have after the media get done with that one? Corporate sponsors??? How long will it take to get the America’s Cup back to where it was just eight short months ago?

Just a theory.

By the time this article comes out we will be on the eve of another TP52 MedCup season. The fleet will be even larger than last year and, with the Cup on hold, there will be more AC sailors involved than ever. I will sail with Desafío Español on their new Vrolijk 52 for five of the races this summer.

Desafío are keeping their AC team together and active by sailing in the Med with the TP52 and the GP42. We will be training out of our AC base in Valencia for two weeks at the end of April and beginning of May. The new Quantum Racing will also be there, as will a few other teams undoubtedly. It will bring a bit of life to the dormant Cup Harbour. I am looking forward to racing these great boats again this summer.

Farr 40 worlds
The Farr 40 worlds may be over, or at least be ongoing, when this magazine hits your desk. We have just completed the Acura Miami Grand Prix, the second ‘tune-up regatta’ for the World Championship in April.

No fewer than 10 nations will be represented at the worlds, making this a truly international event. I am sailing with Fred and Steve Howe on their Warpath. We have just made a nice step up in our programme with a new boat for the Miami Grand Prix.

Thanks to a great shore team and some excellent outside contractors, stepping into the new boat was mostly just a pleasure.

We made a few changes in the crew as well and the net result was a third-place finish for the Warpath team in Miami out of 28 boats. Barking Mad won the event with 62 points, current world champion Mascalzone Latino finished second with 66 and Warpath had 67 points. Behind us it was 20 points to fourth place and another 19 points to fifth.

The top three boats showed an ability to come back from bad starts to get top 10 results more often than the others and this is what made the difference in the end. We are going to be training for five days in April before the world championship proper.

I feel good about this team and our chances.

Pacific Cup
Now this is the important event of the year. I am living a life dream: to race with my kids to Hawaii. Now is the time!

The crew of eight will include my two children, Danny and Allie, 19 and 18 respectively, four other kids around 20 years old and myself and one other ‘older’ person. The purchase of Hula Girl is complete. I am going to sail the boat up to San Francisco with my kids during the Easter break. That will be the beginning of our training…

I have been thinking of how you get a crew of offshore novices up to the task, without a Morning Light type of programme. I am thinking we first do day-sailing on the Bay to get the basics sorted. Then we sail for 48 hours, through the nights, again in the Bay… around and around, that’s right.

We learn what it is to be on a watch system, when it is convenient to eat meals, what it is like to steer in the dark. All that in SF Bay (a very calm place!). Then we go out in the ocean in daylight. We reef in the ocean, we gybe in the swells, we try not to… scratch that. We wrap the spinnaker around the headstay and send someone up the rig with a machete to cut it down. Next we sail through the night to Monterey and back; then for 30 hours on the track to Hawaii… and back. Then we load the food and go!

That is the report for April. Out.