Archive | 32nd America’s Cup

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Mussels eat America’s Cup keel in Valencia

Posted on 29 May 2014 by Valencia Sailing

This isn’t a headline from the National Enquirer but the sad fate of ESP-65, Desafío Español’s first IACC boat for the 32nd America’s Cup. After being abandoned at the yacht club, docked for years, her keel fell off, breaking her mast and revealing her sorry state. She began her life as USA-65, one of the two boats of One World Challenge, the US challenger to the 2003 America’s Cup, part-financed by Microsoft mogul Paul Allen and skippered by Peter Gilmour.

She was acquired by Desafío Español in 2005 and together with ESP-67 (former USA-67) she served as the Spanish challenger’s test and trial boats until 2007. Now, more than 11 years after her birth, her keel lies somewhere at the bottom of the sea and her hull is covered by a thick layer of, otherwise delicious, Valencia mussels.

ESP65 capsized at the Valencia Yacht Club. Valencia, 29 May 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

ESP65 capsized at the Valencia Yacht Club. Valencia, 29 May 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

ESP65 capsized at the Valencia Yacht Club. Valencia, 29 May 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

ESP65 capsized at the Valencia Yacht Club. Valencia, 29 May 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

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The America’s Cup lands in Valencia

Posted on 23 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

It wasn’t scheduled to take place but it did. The cargo ship HR Constitution left San Diego a month ago carrying the entire America’s Cup circus, minus Oracle Racing, Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, and headed to Naples, the next venue of the America’s Cup World Series. A number of teams, including Artemis Racing and Green Comm Racing, had expressed their interest in having a brief stopover in Valencia in order to offload their containers and boats and take advantage of the three-month hiatus by carrying out winter training sessions in the venue of the 32nd and 33rd America’s Cups.

It turned out that HR Constitution brought Valencia much more Christmas gifts than expected. The cargo ship arrived in Valencia on Tuesday, docked on Wednesday and offloaded a total of 104 containers, belonging to America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM) and six teams, Green Comm Racing, Artemis Racing, Team Korea, Aleph, Team Energy and China Team. Then on Thursday it was the turn of close to 30 boats, tenders and racing yachts to be offloaded.

There are now six AC45 yachts in Valencia, four of them with their platforms assembled (Green Comm Racing, Artemis, Team Korea and Aleph) while the remaining two (Energy and China Team) are in their respective containers.

In regards to the team schedules for the next three months, it is clear that Artemis and Green Comm will spend long hours off the Malvarosa beach, practicing with their AC45’s. It is the most obvious option since they both are “Valencian” in one way or another.

The Artemis Racing AC45 yacht being offloaded. Valencia, 22 December 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Artemis actually have two bases here. The first one belonged to Areva Challenge in the 32nd America’s Cup and is located right inside Port America’s Cup while the second one is in the small city of Sagunto, 20km to the north (click here for a view on Google maps). It was designed to become a mega-yacht boatyard and repair shop but the project never took off and its owners went bankrupt. Given the immensity and complex logistics and handling of an AC72 yacht and her wing, it is probably the ideal one with plenty of empty space around an immense hangar. In addition, unlike Valencia’s darsena, access to the Mediterranean is much simpler and direct.

The platform of the modified ORMA60 trimaran is currently sitting in front of the hangar, most probably waiting for her wing to arrive from the Future Fibres factory, a few kilometers inland. I guess it will not be long before we see her sailing off the Valencia coast.

The Green Comm Racing AC45 yacht being offloaded. Valencia, 22 December 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Green Comm Racing challenges for the 34th America’s Cup representing the Real Club Náutico Valencia, so it is the home team. After a well-deserved holiday break, the team will regroup during the second week of January in order to train for approximately two months on home waters. With the Naples event starting on April 7th, the entire America’s Cup “army” should leave Valencia no later than mid March. Regarding the other four teams in Valencia, has no information as to what plans they have or whether they will indeed train here.

As for the remaining three teams, Oracle Racing should have their four AC45 yachts in San Francisco while the Emirates Team New Zealand – Luna Rossa “joint venture” will be spending a couple of months in kiwi summer, training together and working on their AC72 sister yachts.

The Green Comm Racing, Team Korea and Aleph AC45 yachts, ready to be offloaded. Valencia, 22 December 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

The Team Korea AC45 yacht being offloaded. Valencia, 22 December 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

The Aleph AC45 yacht being offloaded. Valencia, 22 December 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

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Luna Rossa training in Valencia

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Luna Rossa, the 32nd and, allegedly, 34th America’s Cup challenger is back in its Valencia base for a one-week training session in view of the upcoming Rolex Middle Sea Race that starts exactly a month from now, on October 22nd.

After a two-year hiatus, Patrizio Bertelli’s STP-65 is back in the famous 606-mile offshore race. According to the official event website, Luna Rossa’s entry is skippered by Max Sirena and “counts amongst her crew a glut of top professionals from the Grand Prix circuit – both mono and multihull…Francesco Bruni, Paul Campbell-James, Lorenzo Bressani, Ben Durham.”

Training off the Malvarosa beach started on Tuesday and conditions so far have been perfect with summer-like temperatures, sunshine and the famous Valencia seabreeze that kicks in at 2pm and tops 15-16 knots. On Thursday morning, the Luna Rossa crew was busy working on the STP-65 yacht and I suppose they will also go out to train today as well, even if conditions are not picture-perfect due to the first low front coming from northern Spain.

My apologies for the lack of sailing pictures, I’ll try to have some nice ones during the weekend.

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Team Iberdrola to enter the 34th America’s Cup?

Posted on 13 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

According to reliable information, high-level meetings have been held in Valencia between Iberdrola’s CEO and local authorities for the creation of Spanish challenger for the 34th America’s Cup.

It appears that last week, José Ignacio Sánchez Galán, CEO of Iberdrola, met with Rita Barberá, mayor of Valencia, and Francisco Camps, president of the Valencia region, in the Iberdrola base. If the head of the Spanish group, the world’s fourth largest utility, has a serious intention to back a Spanish syndicate it wouldn’t come as a surprise that he held talks with the city’s and region’s authorities. It would be absolutely logical for any serious Spanish effort to be based in Valencia.

However, what came as total surprise was the presence of Manuel Chirivella and Gerardo Pombo in those meetings! For anyone interested in the America’s Cup and living under a rock for the last 4 years, we remind that Chirivella and Pombo are, respectively, the former vice president and current president of the Spanish Sailing Federation and, most importantly, creators of the infamous Club Nautico Español de Vela (CNEV), the botched Challenger of Record for the 33rd America’s Cup.

If this information is confirmed, it’s beyond my understanding how Chirivella and Pombo are allowed to be even remotely involved with yet another Spanish America’s Cup campaign! I really hope they have learnt their lesson well and opt to represent a real yacht club. There are hundreds of them in Spain!

Desafío Español beats Emirates Team New Zealand in race 6 of the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals. Valencia, 20 May 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

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Vasco Vascotto on the America’s Cup: “I will tell you what everybody thinks but is afraid to say”

Posted on 09 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

When Italy’s most famous sailor calls to talk about the America’s Cup, you answer the phone and write down his opinion. Vasco Vascotto wanted to express his “disappointment” with this edition of our sport’s pinnacle event, claiming he was expressing what “98% of sailors said in private but never voiced in public.” He strongly opposes the move to catamarans and sees it as a “move to penalize” strong teams such as Team New Zealand and Team Origin. Vasco, what is it you want to tell us? Why do you want to criticize the current America’s Cup?
Vasco Vascotto: You know, I wouldn’t say I ‘m angry but rather disappointed. It seems to me that the team that legitimately won the 33rd America’s Cup then didn’t act in a way to help the sport of sailing. Hasn’t the America’s Cup always been like that? At the end of the day the Defender does what is best for them.
Vasco Vascotto: Yes, I agree. If they want to do whatever they want, that’s fine with me but then they should expect criticism from the sailing world. I think my opinion is shared by 98% of the world’s sailors. Maybe the remaining 2% are happy with the changes but 98% of them strongly oppose them, as well as at least 80% of the journalists I talked to. Now, if those journalists don’t openly write their opinion because they might be afraid or feel under pressure, that’s another issue. I think I have never seen such level of discontent with the change to catamarans in the America’s Cup during my 40 years of sailing. This is a strong claim you make. Is it because you are angry you are out of the loop without a job in any of the teams?
Vasco Vascotto: Let me tell you something. I, personally, have never had so much work. I have never been busier in my life and I’m very happy with what I’m doing. I’m just telling you what the rest is afraid to say. This is what everybody discusses on the dock when we are in a regatta. This America’s Cup, sailed on catamarans, will have very few teams and will not even be a cheap one, as they claimed so many times. It won’t even be a fair America’s Cup because we already know who is going to win and this is quite evident. Oracle fought hard in the 33rd edition to have a fair regatta. That’s very good but I don’t think they are now acting in the same way. I’m not convinced there has been any discussion between them and the Challenger of Record and this comes from good friends I have inside the team. Given all those factors, I don’t think this America’s Cup will be a success and so far it has failed to live up to its promise. I don’t think they have waken up the interest for a new and different America’s Cup.

Back in 2008-9 the world financial crisis had already started but there were more entered teams in the 33rd Cup with the AC90 than now. The crisis was already there and in fact, we are now getting out of it. What lacks today is the enthusiasm we had then. Let alone the fact sailors are unhappy. In 2007 in Valencia we had a total of 1,000 people working in the teams while in this one we won’t have more than 100. If this is the result of one’s action that are supposed to promote the common good of the sport of sailing then something is wrong. This is my personal opinion, I don’t wish this edition of the Cup to fail, on the contrary, I wish enormous success. However, I think we’re heading the wrong way. The discontent of the sailors was seen in Key West when during the prize-giving ceremony a person went on stage and was booed. A few hours ago we had in Paris the official presentation of the sixth challenger, the second one from France. We still have another 50 days before the inscription period ends and there is talk of challengers from China, Korea or Australia. Don’t you think prospects aren’t as dark as you depict?
Vasco Vascotto: They might not be as dark but they certainly aren’t rosy, not even green or blue. Now if someone wants to contradict me, he will be doing like the ostriches that hide their head in the sand. The fact that a few days ago the Challenger of Record stated they couldn’t find the necessary funding means that what they are doing is not attractive to investors. If it were attractive, Mascalzone Latino, a team that has always found the money to take part in the previous editions, wouldn’t be in that situation now. They can’t find money even if they are the Challenger of Record and this gives the event a bad image. You can’t compare what was happening 5-6 years ago when it was raining money in Spain or Italy to the current situation.
Vasco Vascotto: No, you can’t but as I told you before, even in 2008-9 during the crisis we had 20 teams that had paid their inscription for the AC90’s. Do you think this new format that was supposed to create enthusiasm, has really brought enthusiasm? However, this time we have a team from Australia, two from France.
Vasco Vascotto: Are you sure they will go ahead? I repeat, I would be very happy if this turned out to be very successful. Forget my personal interest. I express the sentiment of 98% of the sailors and I’m not just sure about it, I’m absolutely sure. Everybody asks why we don’t have a Cup in monohulls, a conventional event that would have provided jobs to everybody. Everybody was ready to start. Team Origin were ready to start. Team New Zealand still has serious doubts about their future. It’s true, there are new teams and I hope they bring fresh air. I still haven’t seen them, I’m not sure they are there.

You mentioned the French. Today Team Energy stated they had a budget of 70 million euros. So much for cost reduction! So much for the fact that we are already in February and we don’t know where the next races will be. I personally don’t see any planning or seriousness so far. I see people working, I hope with enthusiasm but I’m convinced I can already tell you who will win, I can tell you that right now. Don’t forget that the previous Cup was blocked because it wasn’t fair. Tell me that: If Oracle were then Little Red Riding Hood and Alinghi were the bad wolf who is Little Red Riding Hood now because I only see bad wolves? Even if you might not agree with Oracle’s decision you have no alternative right now. Couldn’t this move be a positive one, longer term? Couldn’t you see it as a move from the bicycle to the motorcycle?
Vasco Vascotto: Saying that we move from the bicycle to the motorcycle is stating that we move from something antiquated to something modern. First of all, let me tell you that catamarans exist since 50, 70 years or even more. It wasn’t necessary to win the America’s Cup to claim you made a world revolution with the catamarans. The catamarans already existed. If the Cup existed for many years in a certain format that means there was some reason. For me, the best Cup ever was the one in 2007. I don’t remember it going through any moment of crisis. None. If you want to change the best Cup in history with something different, you have to aim at something certain. I now have a question for everybody: Do you think that this proposed revolution has brought any benefits? To me the answer seems absolutely clear. In addition, I’m not entirely convinced that a motorbike race is always more exciting than a bicycle race. Then in this Cup the teams will only have 11 sailors onboard while in 2007 you had 17 or 34, depending on the number of yachts each team had… … Sure but if you now have two boats can’t you have 22 sailors?
Vasco Vascotto: Maybe, but it will still be 22 versus the 34 you had last time. Now, if the budgets are established so that they reduce the human factor, I’m not sure they do the sport of sailing any good. In order to further promote the sport of sailing we should increase the number of sailors on the water, not always try to reduce it. Let’s add engines, let’s add remote controls so that we have virtual races on a computer with no need for sailors. In addition, they still have to prove that catamaran races are more exciting than monohull races. I really hope I’m not the only to talk that way. I’ll take my responsibility, I will tell it to you just as I will tell it to others, because it seems logical to me that some criticism must reach the ears of those in command.

I listened in silence to the criticisms advanced to Alinghi in the past and I listened in silence to all the statements from Oracle in the past. I was expecting from them something better, a little more seriousness, after all the fuss they made. Long live the MedCup circuit, this I can scream clearly, and the fact that we are in a crisis like this one and we have 6-7 new boats, is a clear sign that people want something serious on monohulls, how much people want monohulls and that the prepared teams want monohulls. This is obvious. The MedCup is not a circuit within the reach of everyone, especially in times of crisis like this. Yet clearly there is need for such a circuit.

What I can say is that until yesterday the favorite team to win the next America’s Cup was Team New Zealand and, in my opinion, these new rules were made almost entirely to penalize a team as strong as them. Prepared, serious, with very experienced sailors that have lost but also won the Cup. In doing so they have broken them up. Old sailors that had by now created a group, have been demobilized. Team New Zealand is now a team comprising of few people, assuming they go ahead. It has now lost all its strength. For Team Origin the same applies. It was a team ready to, probably, win the next Cup. By doing so they have broken them up as well, they took away their power. They made them weak just as they did with Team New Zealand. So, if this is the way to win the next America’s Cup, this is bullshit. If we do not like the catamaran, at least let us consider the aspect of sport. In the sport of sailing there were highly trained team, serious, that had made the right steps: they have been disassembled. They were told: “As of today we sail on catamarans. Since you are strong we do it with catamarans crewed by 11 sailors so that half the people you have hired stays at home.” These are strategies and things that harm the sport of sailing. What about the longer term, not just this Cup? Can’t you see Artemis becoming a strong team in 2017 or 2020?
Vasco Vascotto: Artemis will be strong in 2017? I’m happy for them. I only know that in 2011 the America’s Cup, instead of taking a step forward, stops. Everyone was happy when Oracle won against Alinghi in 2010. We said: “A new world starts, a new era. Finally.” Now I ask you a question: are you still so happy or do you have more doubts? I’m not the one that holds the sense of truth, but I say that the Cup in 2007 was the most beautiful in the history of sailing. Can anyone say otherwise? No, nobody and I am convinced about that. What the next Cup will need, thanks to you journalists and bloggers, is visibility. If you’re interviewing me now is thanks to the 2007 Cup, to that kind of America’s Cup, we have become famous and I am not convinced that those who come out of the next America’s Cup will have the same visibility. This is to let you know that we are taking a step back. And it shouldn’t be like that. Last but not least, let’s talk about you. What are your projects for this season?
Vasco Vascotto: I will be in the AUDI MedCup circuit with Matador, Alberto Roemmers’ TP52 yacht, that in April will present a new team, a new sponsor and above all a very serious yacht club. I have heard of the new AUDI Azzurra Sailing Team. Are you referring to that one?
Vasco Vascotto: Well, let’s wait the official presentation before making nay comment. However, I’m very happy because it’s a great opportunity for me to be able to race in the best-organized and professional circuit that exists right now. I will not miss other events such as the Primo Cup in Montecarlo, the Farr 40 Worlds in Sydney, the Melges 32 in Sydney. As you see, I have enough racing… So, again, it isn’t a personal feeling that drives you to make those statements because you joined the ranks of jobless sailors that can’t get a job in the Cup?
Vasco Vascotto: No, no and no. Look, I’ve got more than enough commitments. I’m fine and I am happy. Nevertheless, I would, probably, do the Cup with a catamaran, if the opportunity existed. But then again, for me it is a big step backwards. Even Team New Zealand will be forced to build catamarans, just like the other teams. But between being forced and being happy there is a big difference and it is something entirely different. I know many people will disagree with what I’m saying and what I said, but I will never become tired of repeating that 80% of journalists and 98% percent of sailors agree with me.

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Video: Louis Vuitton Cup Retrospective

Posted on 02 December 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Here’s a nice video retrospective of the 30 years Louis Vuitton is associated with the America’s Cup, through the sponsorship of the Challenger Selection Series, called, what else, the Louis Vuitton Cup.

It’s also interesting to see how the shape of the ACC yachts turned from a aircraft carrier into a canoe!

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Statement by Captain Salvatore Sarno, Managing director Team Shosholoza

Posted on 12 March 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Statement by Captain Salvatore Sarno, Managing director Team Shosholoza:

“I am shocked and outraged at the way Team Shosholoza has been treated this week and condemn in the strongest terms the audacious action taken by the Consortio Valencia 2007 who have used the Spanish Police to seal off the South African America’s Cup base in Port America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, and ordered us to empty the base and vacate it immediately.

“I personally went to Valencia in September last year to meet with the Mr J Gisbert, the Managing Director of the Consortium and we agreed on 28th March as the deadline for vacating the base. In addition I have paid 90 000 euros to cover arrears in rent which became effective when Alinghi declared that there would be no more America’s Cup in Valencia. We have also supplied declarations from the Spanish Receiver of Revenue that Team Shosholoza has no outstanding debts or tax owed in Spain. In addition, because they were threatening to impound our equipment, we also supplied certificates of insurance and our custom bond as we need custom clearance in order to move our equipment.

We started packing up the base some months ago and had made arrangements for all the team’s equipment to be moved to storage facilities elsewhere in Valencia. However we were unable to start affecting our move because BMW Oracle Racing team, who occupy the adjacent base, had moved their containers and other equipment onto the quayside in front of the doors to the Shosholoza base during recent racing for the 33rd America’s Cup.

Yet incredibly, with over two weeks still in hand before our deadline to move expires, the Consortio Valencia decided not to honour their word and instead used the police to assist them in this audacious and outrageous action.

This is not a polite way to be treated. It is an abuse of power and not right what they have done to us. I have expressed my fury and disappointment in no uncertain terms in an open email to Mr J Gisbert of Consortio Valencia. The email is as follows:

Dear Mr Gisbert

I have been astonished to hear that this morning police officers have been at the base with a Court order to lock and seal it. Mr Moctar Fall who was preparing the material for the trasportation to the contracted wharehouse has been forced to leave the premise.

It seems that you had been duly informed of our preparation to leave the base and nevertheless you have preferred that the police sealed the base because you were under an erroneus impression

Your action remember to me the old racist apartheid regime who was governing our Country twenty years ago: same system, same action. Certainly you feel now very proud for having given a lesson to the Africans.

I want just to recall you that Team Shosholoza, the africans, played an important role in Valencia to have the public partecipating effectively to that historic event which was the 32nd Americas Cup.

We were the first team to take delivery of a base and establish the Team in your town. As you know from the certificate of Debt Clearance from the Receiver of Revenue, we have no debt in Valencia and we have duly paid our taxes. When we met in september I simply explained to you our situation; you agreed with me on the proposal I suggested and then…….you failed to respect the agreement.

Due to the above we stress to the public our dissatisfaction on the way you and the Authorities have treated guests in your country. I hardly believe that somebody can utilise such a bad determination against honest people like Team Shosholoza. Remember that your national soccer team will be guest in our Country in three months time: would you like that our Authorities will treat them in the same way??

Mr Gisbert you and Valencia 2007 are guilty of abuse of power and Team Shosholoza request that formal apologies be forwarded to the Team, miss Shirley Mullins and mr Moctar Fall.

It is understood that in case the closure of the base will delay our packing,transfer we will not be responsible anymore for such a delay.

Reacting to an article by editor Pierre Orphanidis posted on his Valencia Sailing Blogspot last night, Captain Sarno said the police seals had been removed this morning and that Team Shosholoza is now in the process of moving: Said Captain Sarno: “We are moving but I would like to stress that it is certainly not a sad end for Team Shosholoza.”

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Meanwhile in Valencia… Sad end to Team Shosholoza

Posted on 11 March 2010 by Valencia Sailing

For anyone involved in the America’s Cup, the ups and downs constitute a fact of life. If you happen to be the winning team, then the moment your yacht crosses the finish line victorious, a brand new cycle starts. On the other hand, if you are any of the remaining teams, an uncertain future lies ahead of you. It has always been like that and this time it isn’t any different.

Yet one thing is to wind down in an orderly fashion and a completely different story is what we saw on Thursday morning in Port America’s Cup. To our great surprise, the main entrance of the South African base has been sealed by the Spanish Police and the team has been ordered to empty it and vacate it. This must have taken place on Wednesday or Tuesday. The boat shed is open and, most probably, the shore crew will have to start packing very soon and try to find a temporary storage somewhere else.

We have no information as to why the Police took such action. Whatever the reason might be, this is a truly sad end for the first ever America’s Cup team from the African continent.

The Spanish police seals the Team Shosholoza base. Valencia, 11 March 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The Spanish police seals the Team Shosholoza base. Valencia, 11 March 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The Spanish police seals the Team Shosholoza base. Valencia, 11 March 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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