In one week the 33 AC gets under way. Matthew Sheahan starts his daily reports
In a ‘normal’ America’s Cup cycle where years rather than days mark the build up to the most prestigious event in yacht racing, only those arriving from Mars during the week before would be unaware of the start of the America’s Cup. Sadly, this time round there are still many people for whom the two year bitter struggle between Defender and Challenger has been a turn off.
Fortunately, despite the arguments and legal wrangling, the boats that have been built as a result and are about to set out onto the course are two of the most extreme machines that the racing world has ever seen. Not only are they eye wateringly quick with speeds that can reach four times the wind speed, but no one really knows whether these machines can actually make it around a race course that, at 40 miles as the crow files, is more like a mini offshore or coastal race than a match racing sprint around the cans.
Having watched both boats train over the last six months there was barely a moment when either boat could sail for more than 20 minutes before an alarm sounded. Come the match they will be sailing for around 2-3 hours if the breeze stays up. For all the amazing technology that’s involved, this America’s Cup could well be decided simply by the boat that makes it to the finish line.
Yachting World will be based in Valencia throughout the build up and the match to bring regular reports on the action. We start our coverage with the first of our daily preview reports for the seven day countdown. We will also be posting an extensive list of useful web links, podcasts, both regular and special, along with video clips of the action where we can.
In the meantime, the focus for today in the Cup world will be the first Jury hearing of the event with the newly formed five man panel. The Jury will be considering five key points today.
1. Skin friction issue – re-inserted Racing Rule 53 (‘Skin Friction’). Alinghi/SNG obtained a New York Supreme Court ruling to delete it., BMW Oracle want this deletion to stay, especially now they have a super slippery surface on the underside of their tri.
2. Start time – Currently shown in Notice of Race at 10am. BMW Oracle/GGYC argue that Deed of Gift says the start time has to be by mutual consent. Alinghi claim that the start has be then in order to provide enough daylight time to run to the time limit of 7 hours.
Don’t be surprised if the race finishes in the dark as the course cannot be shortened!
3. Wind and wave limits – BMW Oracle/GGYC are unhappy that Alinghi/SNG has set wind limits to favour its own boat when no such wind limits exist in the Deed of Gift. Contrary to popular opinion, there were no fixed wind or wave limits in the last event. The decision to race came down to the race officer’s discretion. New Zealand 2002/3 was the last time fixed wind limits were used and demonstrated that such limits were easier in theory than in practice.
There is nothing in the Deed of Gift about having stable winds, winds of more than a certain strength, or less than a certain strength.
4. Wind detection units – BMW Oracle/GGYC are unhappy that the Notice of Race now bans the use of certain wind detection units. The American team has a sophisticated laser wind spotter that the manufacturers claim can see gusts and shifts up to 1km ahead of the boat. Such equipment was permitted under earlier drafts of the NOR.
5. Notice of Race to overrule the Racing Rules of Sailing – Normally ISAF racing rules dictate proceedings, in America’s Cup racing it’s the Deed of Gift which states that the race will be conducted under the Defending yacht club’s rules. The order in which various rules are and notices are applied has been re-arranged for this event. BMW Oracle/GGYC want to see the structure returned to normal with ISAF rules towards the top of the tree, just under the Deed of Gift.
JURY OUTCOME? – CLICK HERE We had expected to report on the outcome of this hearing today (Monday) but no conclusion has yet been reached. We will report as soon as we have details. Keep an eye on Matt’s blog.
YW PREVIEW SPECIAL
Check out our previews to the Cup as published in the January and February 2010 issues of Yachting World now available in pdf format and available free online.
YW VIDEO CLIPS
See BMW Oracle hit 25 knots in 6-8 knots of wind
Official 33rd America’s Cup Site
AERIAL VIEW OF THE HARBOUR
Aerial view of Darsena and commercial harbours
WEATHER – FORECASTS
Wind and Waves Valencia – Puertos del Estado
XC Weather Spain – Current National conditions
HOW TO GET TO AMERICA’S CUP VENUE
To Valencia by Air:
The easiest way is to fly to Valencia and then take a taxi. Approx cost of taxi to harbour, €20
See www.valenciaport.com for more information
Unfortunately, at this time of year there are fewer direct flights to Valencia than during the summer season. Therefore an alternative route is to fly to Alicante and either take the train or hire a car. Driving takes approx 2 hours and car rental is cheap.
To harbour from Valencia train station:
A taxi from the train station is about a 20-minute ride.
Heading to Valencia on the A7 toll motorway, connect to the V-15 or V-30 to the port, which is signposted.