Friday, October 9, 2009

BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More about Light Winds than Iranian Dangers

Chip Cummins in his Wall Street Journal article suggests that BMW Oracle’s plea to change to venue from RAK to Valencia may be more about light winds than dangers from the regatta’s proximity to Iran:

“The site of the race could be important for reasons unrelated to Iran, which is in tense talks with Western nations over its nuclear program. The Persian Gulf, with calm waters and light breezes, could serve as a kind of equalizer, neutralizing the power of the BMW Oracle trimaran.”

“Grant Simmer, Alinghi's design-team coordinator, says Ras al-Khaimah's light winds are ideal for the fast boats both Alinghi and BMW Oracle have designed. Too much wind could be dangerous, he says.”

“‘Frankly, that's rubbish,’ says Tom Ehman, a BMW Oracle spokesman, adding: ‘They have purposely designed a boat for very light wind and flat waters.’”

Alinghi Interest in UAE
“Alinghi's links to the emirate also factored into the team's interest in racing there, Mr. Simmer said. A Swiss technical institute that has helped Alinghi with boat design is building a campus in the emirate. Decision SA, one of Alinghi's boat builders, has a joint venture with a unit of RAK Ceramics, the emirate's biggest state-owned conglomerate.”

Concerning Dangerous Iran
“Ras al-Khaimah officials hope to meet with Mr. Ellison to change his mind. Mr. Ehman says there have been talks about meeting, but nothing has been set.”

“Chief executive of the Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority and adviser to the emirate's crown prince and de facto ruler, Mr. Massaad says race boats won't get near Iranian waters, including islands Iran and the U.A.E. contest, less than 50 miles away. Despite tension over Iran's nuclear ambitions, shipping -- some of it U.S.-flagged -- hasn't been affected, he adds. Local officials note that neighboring Dubai hosts regional headquarters for Mr. Ellison's Oracle Corp.”

“Alinghi 5, a 90-foot catamaran, arrived in the emirate last week. ‘The only thing we are waiting for is Oracle to confirm’ it is coming, Mr. Massaad says.”

Read Entire Article
Chuck Cummins, Iran Looms as Obstacle for Sailors, WSJ, 9 October 2009.

Other Stories and Related Sites
Said of Obama: ‘He’s Not a Muslim. He’s a Good Man’, Experiencing the Emirates, 7 October 2009.

See Alinghi Settling into Base at Ras al Khaimah UAE, America’s Cup in the UAE, 7 October 2009.

Thanks to the Many who Serve in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 8 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: BMW Oracle sailing in high winds off the coast of California.