AC34: An Evolving Landscape—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
Mascalzone Latino sailing in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup Event Media
News is still sluggish to emerge about which challenger will fill the gaping hole left in the landscape that was the 34th America's Cup, now that Vincenzo Onorato, the boss of Mascalzone Latino, has announced his withdrawal as Challenger of Record and from the Cup itself. 'Since the very beginning of our role as Challenger of Record, I have been working on this project focused to bring the Cup in our Country,' wrote Onorato. He added that, '...we have discussed for a long time the challenge that the next Cup must face: an international situation with a big economic crisis and therefore huge difficulties to find sponsors.'
Vincenzo Onorato of Mascalzone Latino at a Press Conference for the
34th America's Cup
While Mascalzone Latino's withdrawal was foreshadowed by the fact that they did not take procession of their AC45, and by a comment that Onorato made several weeks ago predicting this move, succession is not clear. According to the Deed of Gift, Artemis Racing—the second challenger to enter the 34th Cup—has the right to Challenge before other teams can shoulder this responsibility. The only other team that's currently fully funded—Emirates Team New Zealand—has signaled that this is a role that they do not seek. This news brings the total number of teams involved down to thirteen, including the Defender, Oracle Racing. Stay tuned for more, as it becomes known.
The Velux 5 Oceans fleet
In Charleston, South Carolina, the four competing skippers in the Velux 5 Oceans Race have set out on their final 3,600-mile Ocean Sprint, which will take the fleet to La Rochelle, France. 'These guys have already taken on the Southern Ocean, which is regarded as the most dangerous, but the North Atlantic can be as brutal,' said David Adams, Race Director of the Velux 5 Oceans Race. 'Different [than] the Southern Ocean legs where there are prevailing winds, on Ocean Sprint Five the skippers will have to deal with whatever the North Atlantic throws at them. It could be huge storms, or it could be a massive high-pressure system.' While the top step of the podium is already reserved for Brad Van Liew, the rest of the fleet will be battling hard for results.
Breaking news, reports of a magnitude 6.5 earthquake off the Papuan New Guinea coast in the Pacific Ocean, which could generate a tsunami, more news as it comes to hand.
Also, my apologies go out to the 2011 Melges 24 Worlds, which is about to start in Corpus Christi, Texas. In my last editorial I erroneously reported that 111 boats participated in the 2010 worlds; in fact, the correct number of entrants was 79. We have the latest news and photos from the Pre-Worlds and will be following the event closely with on-the-water reports and image galleries—right thru until May 21, so stay tuned.
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