Sunday, August 9, 2009

America’s Cup Up in the Air Over the Emirates

Oracle Team Up in the Air
Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle told Valencia Sailing that his team was keen to race in February 2010 but as for the suggested UAE venue, “We don’t have experience in Ras al-Khaimah so we will send a team of people there to see what the venue is like…I personally have raced in Dubai and have been to Abu Dhabi but have never been to Ras al-Khaimah so we don’t know what the weather is like or what facilities are available.”

Alinghi Boat Up in the Air
Since announcing the RAK venue the giant catamaran belonging to America's Cup defender Alinghi has been carried by the world's largest helicopter from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea.

After two weeks of trials on Lake Geneva, where it was built, the 35-metre-long yacht was flown 300 kilometres to the Italian port of Genoa for its first sea trials.

A Russian MI-26 helicopter, the largest and heaviest in the world, carried it using long cables. The catamaran's 50-metre tall mast, which weighs two tons, has been flown to Italy separately.

The boat and her crew will now spend a month training on the Mediterranean.

Onto the Water
With the delays and threat of new legal challenges, Alexander Smith expresses something of the frustration being voiced by commentators and the sailing public. In his article for Reuters blog entitled ‘Time to Get America’s Cup Back On the Water’ he writes:

“Sometimes you have to wonder if it wouldn’t be better for everyone concerned if Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli slugged it out in the boxing ring rather than the courts to decide who should lift the America’s Cup.”

“Despite huge sums they’ve poured into designing, building and testing the most outrageously hi-tech sailing machines imaginable, there’s certainly no sign of the two billionaires getting anywhere near competing for yachting’s most prestigious prize on the water.”

Valencia Sailing Talks to Russell Coutts About the 33rd AC Venue, Valencia Sailing, 7 August 2009.
Alexander Smith, Time to Get America’s Cup back on the Water, Reuters, 5 August 2009.

On Related Sites
“Malls Should Not Sell Clothes Inappropriate for UAE”, Experiencing the Emirates, 9 August 2009.
Visit Al Bidya Mosque—the Oldest Worship Place in the Emirates, Fujairah in Focus, 9 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Alinghi being carried by the world's largest helicopter from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea.