33rd America’s Cup starts Monday, Feb. 8th. Does anyone care?
While the history of the 33rd America’s Cup up to now has not been pretty, the best two out of three races are scheduled for Monday the 8th, Wednesday the 10th, and Friday the 12th in Valencia. The continual war in court between the battling billionaires has driven away the sponsors, the challengers, and for many, any interest in the race.
The boats themselves though are spectacular. BMW Oracle was built at Core Builders in Anacortes ~
- Length and width – 90′ x 90′
- mast height – 185′ tall (and rumors have it even taller).
- The wing is longer than the wing of a 747.
- The sail area is just immense
- main sail – 7,000 sq. ft.
- genoa – 6,700 sq. ft.
- gennaker 8,400 sq. ft..
BMW Oracle Video
Article from the Telegraph
America’s Cup to be over in days after years of acrimony between Alinghi and BMW Oracle
The acrimony between two power-crazed billionaires might be familiar, but in every other respect the 33rd America’s Cup bears little relation to anything previously seen in its 159-year history.
By Kate Laven Published: 5:18PM GMT 03 Feb 2010
Boats apart, everything else has been scaled down reflecting the diminished size and importance of an event ravaged by the passions, obsessions and egos of two men.
Swiss tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, whose Alinghi team are the holders of the cup and therefore owners of the event, has grown to despise Larry Ellison, the head of BMW Oracle and the fourth-richest man in America, who has spent millions aggressively blocking any moves by Bertarelli to claim the upper hand.
Usually the ‘Auld Mug’ is fought for over four months with multiple challengers competing for the right to take on the defenders.
This time, after almost three years of courtroom wrangling over its format, believed to have cost more than $50 million, it will be decided in a best-of-three head-to-head which is likely to take just three days or less, depending on the weather.
There will be two boats, though these are no ordinary cup boats. Typically, America’s Cups feature big but skinny monohulls, powered by massive sails and stacks of human muscle.
The multihulls in Valencia are big and fat – about 90ft by 90ft – powered by massive sails and for the first time in history, electric winches which means they can be loaded up like never before to achieve speeds of up to 40 knots, making all previous contenders look limp and pasty.
But there is every chance that Alinghi’s catamaran and BMW Oracle’s trimaran, which sports a 190ft-high wing serving as a sail, will arrive on the start line located 20 miles off shore and beyond the reach of spectators, and with the first meaty puff of wind suffer a catastrophic breakage.
The load calculations have been precisely worked out and the margins are minuscule, making the potential for meltdown enormous if the boats encounter wind speeds beyond the 13-knot limit.
With a three-year build up to this match, costing about $100 million but involving so much collateral damage to the event, the sound of splintering carbon may come to symbolise the ill-fated 33rd America’s Cup.
There are also concerns that one boat may be much quicker than the other, creating an uneven and anticlimactic contest that is impossible to televise. Only if the contest is close can both competitors fit on to a television or computer screen.
This may explain why no television deal has yet been struck to stream the action back to the States.
Conspicuous by their absence in Valencia will be sponsors, since they have deserted the event in their droves, including long-time supporter Louis Vuitton, which has set up a rival event.
The television cameras will also be thin on the ground and spectator numbers are likely to be well down on 2007, when 2.8 million visitors passed through the gates of Port America’s Cup in Valencia.
According to John Bertrand, skipper of Australia II when Alan Bond grabbed the cup from under the Americans’ noses in 1983 after 132 years of domination, the rank and file have switched off.
But the problems between Bertarelli and Ellison, which he likens to an acrimonious divorce, will in time be seen as a “blip” in the history of the event.
“It has become too confusing,” he said. “There has been too much bull—- and it has been too feral in terms of how the decisions have been made. There is no question that people have lost interest.
“But you cannot kill off the America’s Cup because there is so much history and intrigue associated with it. There is no other event where individuals as syndicate leaders can win a world cup or series.
“It is a ticket to stardom – Thomas Lipton launched his business on the back of the America’s Cup, even though he lost five in a row and after he won in 1983, Alan Bond was able to talk to any banker in Wall Street or Saudi Arabia – it launched him globally.
“It is one of the reasons why it keeps going, so in my opinion this will be a blip in the history of the America’s Cup.”
There will of course certainly be a result in the latest contest, but that, too, is likely to have a different feel to it. While the race jury wave flags and impose penalties on the water, the high court judges in New York will ponder the latest lawsuit, filed by BMW Oracle over the legality of Alinghi’s sails.
They were made, it is claimed, in America and are in contravention of the rules which state that sails belonging to a boat of Swiss origin should be built in Switzerland.
So should Alinghi win, Bertarelli’s silver ewer will be quickly wrested away, back into the lawyers’ clutches. Should BMW Oracle win, control of the cup will fall into Ellison’s hands back in the United States – though what happens after that is anyone’s guess.
Founded by Larry Ellison as Oracle Racing in 2000, but have never been in an America’s Cup final. Best performance was in 2002-03 when they reached Louis Vuitton Cup finals, losing to Alinghi.
Ellison has driven and funded this latest campaign against Alinghi, but he has left all the talking to Russell Coutts, the former skipper of Alinghi and Team New Zealand, who he recruited in 2007.
In 2008 they launched the 90 foot trimaran called USA and last year added a revolutionary carbon wing, replacing soft sails. It is expected to be helmed by Australian James Spithill and likely to perform best in fresher breezes. Ellison may not even be on board due to strict weight restrictions.
Created in 2000 by Ernesto Bertarelli, who led his Swiss team – mainly poached from the New Zealand America’s Cup squad – to victory at his first attempt in 2003.
Bertarelli is a passionate sailor and often helms the boat, though Ed Baird, an American, is likely to take this role for the Deed of Gift Match in Valencia after his success defending the cup in 2007.
The team is headed by New Zealander Brad Butterworth, a former skipper and tactician for Team New Zealand. Alinghi 5, the spidery 90ft catamaran, was launched last year in Switzerland and flown across the Alps to Genoa for trials by the world’s largest helicopter. It is thought to be faster in light airs.