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Fisher's View- Luncheon Day in Valencia

by Bob Fisher on 10 Feb 2010
Bob Fisher Daniel Forster
Bob Fisher reviews the first rest day in the 33rd America's Cup:

The mandatory rest day after the cancelled race provided a wonderful opportunity for a decent lunch.

None of the sandwich-on-the-fly that is so usual at regattas, but a thoroughly civilised sit down to napery and cutlery with fine food and good company – an opportunity provided by that King of hosts, Bruno Troublé, in order to purvey information about a yacht racing event.

It was almost possible to detect an air of irony that the event, or more strictly four separate events, uses the very boats that this America’s Cup made redundant. And what’s more has proved wonderfully successful in its first two editions, attracting goodly crowds of spectators to the thrilling racing.

They are the Louis Vuitton Trophy events, each a separate item because some years ago ISAF sold the 'world series of match racing' and all that goes with it to the World Match Racing Tour for the proverbial mess of pottage. So, as a result, every one of these has a separate trophy.

The next one is in Auckland, starting March 9th 2010, and will be followed by one in La Maddelena, Sardinia in May, another in Dubai in November and a fourth is planned to next January (2011) in Hong Kong. Necessarily, hopes are high for Auckland where eight teams, all members of the World Sailing Teams Association, will contest the event on the Waitemata.

Lunch was followed by the promise of a Cocktail Cruise aboard a large and luxurious motor yacht. It was to provide information about the laser wind reading system that has been developed and is used by BMW Oracle’ USA.

It should be noted that the Alinghi team was offered the device but turned it down. We’ve always wanted to be able to read what the wind is doing further up the track, and now our dreams are realised. (Ours of a cruise were to be denied – the Captain decreed that it was too rough outside the harbour)

For a mere US$150,000 this hand-held unit, looking for all the world like an overgrown pair of binoculars, can be yours and you will be able to turn yourself into as good a wind-sniffer as the legendary Buddy Melges. His ability in this area was (and probably still is) quite phenomenal.

Rather appropriately it is known as Racer’s Edge and will certainly give its owner an edge over the opposition. I can see it being banned by the Racing Rules of Sailing.

Harold Bennett, the PRO, could possibly have used a similar crystal ball as he sat on Tuesday evening pondering over whether or not to delay the next day’s start. Meteorology is an indefinite science, believed to be run by Mr. Sod (he of the Law).

If Harold opts to delay, it’s as good as guaranteeing that conditions will be perfect at 1006 CET.

On Monday Harold proved a good mediator before the first race when the handbags were drawn in battle.

Golden Gate YC is entitled to have an observer aboard the Committee Vessel, and it had been agreed between Brad Butterworth and Russell Coutts that it could be Tom Ehman, who is a former international Judge and Umpire.

When Tom turned up at 0700 on Monday to board the boat he was met with resistance from Fred Meyer, the Vice-Commodore of the Societe Nautique de Geneve, who refused to let him on board.

Harold, on the other hand agreed to Tom boarding and stood his ground.

Enter Lucien Masmejan, the SNG legal counsel, who said that if it had been agreed with Brad and Russell, it was all right by him.

Meyer remained adamant that Tom should not go, but finally wiser heads prevailed and the handbags were put away.

I understand that the same GGYC representative will be on the committee boat when it puts to sea on Wednesday.
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