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America's Cup - Off the Record - 17 April: The tent goes up

'Launch of the Alinghi D35, by helicopter, in Villeneuve in preparation for Challenge Julius Baer which starts on May 8th on Lake Geneva'    Carlo Borlenghi/ Alinghi ©

Much of what we have written since the Appeal Court Decision of 2 April has come from various sources, international and local, close to the America's Cup action, who won't be quoted but are reasonably happy to talk off the record, on a 'not to be attributed' basis.

The situation, as we hear it today, runs something like this:

Meeting - what meeting?

It seems that Societe Nautique de Geneve have not yet had a response to their offer of a meeting with Golden Gate Yacht Club, suggested for next Thursday (23 April) in Geneva at 1030. 14 Apr 09.pdf!Click here to read the letter from SNG to GGYC

A conflict in sailing commitments is thought to be the main reason with Larry Ellison already committed to a regatta in the RC44 class (where he is one of the top owner/drivers, and in fact is a very good helmsman, even against the professional skippers).

Their Head of External Affairs, Tom Ehman, has a long standing judging/jury commitment with the BMW World Sailing Cup at Malcesine in Lake Garda all next week.

Alinghi principal, Ernesto Bertarelli, will attend the Geneva meeting if Larry Ellison were also present. However, if not, it would just be between some of the key people from either side, and further meetings would be necessary. The chances of having the matter agreed at one meeting would seem to be unlikely, unless all the key players from both teams were present.


The exchange of letters has taken place and the first meeting would appear to be set to proceed on 23 April at 1030hrs in Geneva. The venue will be the Societe Nautique de Geneve. Representing Golden Gate YC will be Melinda Erklens (General Counsel and GGYC Board member), Richard Slater (Rules) and Manolo Ruiz de Elvira (design).

Larry Ellison is arranging a separate meeting with Ernesto Bertarelli, and will not be present.

The SNG/Alinghi team is expected to be led by Lucien Masmejan (General Counsel) and similar functionaries to those above.

The letters can be viewed by clicking here?nid=55901

The tent goes up:

On Sailing Anarchy the sleuths have pin pointed some new activity at the Decision building facility in Villeneuve, Switzerland.

What is believed to be an an assembly tent is being constructed behind the factory, and is expected to be used for the assembly of the Alinghi multihull from constructed components. This is the first public milestone in the construction phase of the Alinghi Defender.

With further deduction and scaling, the SA design team have concluded that the dimensions of the Alinghi multihull are 115ft long by 75ft wide (compared to the 90ft by 90ft Challenger).

Further by linking to other Swiss multihull design sites?nid=55901, they have dropped these dimensions and expected design features and come up with a couple of CAD drawings of how the Defender could look.

Click here to read the full thread (currently running to 17 pages!)

To see a photo of the tent under construction click here?nid=55901

Quite how the boat will transported to Valencia remains to be seen. By helicopter is probably not an option, meaning that the boat will have to be disassembled for the trek through the Swiss Alps to Spain, or the nearest port, before being barged to Valencia.

While it is possible to deduce launch dates etc from the time the giant multihull enters the tent (based on timeframes taken by the BMW Oracle building team to go through the same phase, the BOR90 was built alongside the water in Anacortes - so full and final assembly of the Challenger was possible - which is not believed to be the case with the Swiss response.


The low-flying Bruno:

Little is known of the outcome of meetings between Bruno Trouble and others in Valencia. It is believed these took place on Thursday.

There are a couple of scenarios being put forward.

The first has it that some of the former Challengers for former 33AC have asked the ebullient Frenchman to step in and put together a series of regattas in Valencia, based around the now cancelled Pre-Regatta previously being organised by America's Cup Management. Most of these were owners of America's Cup Version 5 boats and the event would be an 'own boat' regatta.

Another school has it that Valencia will be included in a Louis Vuitton Pacific Series type regatta or wider circuit, on a borrowed boat basis

From left Bruno Trouble (Louis Vuitton), Russell Coutts (BMW Oracle) and Brad Butterworth (Alinghi) -  © Richard Gladwell?nid=55901   Click Here to view large photo

Whatever, it would seem that the Challengers, currently excluded from the Multihull Match, seem very keen to continue what started in Auckland. And in Bruno Trouble, they have an outstanding ambassador, diplomat and organiser.

Unusually, Bruno, has been able to fly under a lot of radars since the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. We understand that he has been very active, which is all good news.

We expect more on this in the coming days and weeks, as Europe looks to a summer sailing season.

More to come ....

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.Com


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7:06 PM Fri 17 Apr 2009 GMT

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