Formula One is preparing to touch down in Abu Dhabi in the next couple of weeks. A couple of hundred miles north in Ras Al Khaimah, Alinghi are settling into their new base to defend the America’s Cup. The courts have yet to rule on whether the venue is deed compliant, but the Swiss have invited the world’s media to view the facilities and watch the first ‘official’ test sail of Alinghi 5.
The Wall Street Journal reported that there was a press conference and that the boat sailed in 4-7 knots of wind reaching a top speed of about 10 knots. The Washington Post carried a story by Associated Press that quoted Alinghi owner; Ernesto Bertarelli refuting GGYC claims that the venue was unsafe. While BMW ORACLE have used media coverage of Ras Al Khaimah to allege it is the home of terrorism, Bertarelli is quoted as saying:
“I think perhaps if we want friendship and dialogue between nations, one cannot only just send aircraft and soldiers. They have to send sportsmen. That’s exactly what we are doing here.”
Abu Dhabi based, ‘The National‘ (which unsurprisingly was not one of GGYC’s media sources, in their letter to SNG this week) focussed on the benefits that hosting the America’s Cup in the region would bring.
They quote Bertarelli as saying:
“Sometimes when I read the press releases coming out of BMW Oracle I feel that I am reading the trailer for a Hollywood movie,” said Bertarelli. “My kids have been dressing up getting ready for Halloween over the past couple of days so it’s in fashion to come out with horror stories. Do they [BMW Oracle] think we don’t know that 40 per cent of the world’s oil traffic goes down the Strait of Hormuz?”
Apart from the message that the security concerns are ‘invented’, Alinghi had no new announcements yesterday, however Alinghi 5 took to the water. Accusations that the venue will not properly showcase the potential of the incredible boats built for the 33rd edition may be on more solid footing.
Valencia Sailing reported:
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a day to write home about. Winds were very light, ranging from 4 to 7 knots. Nevertheless, one realizes the speed Alinghi 5 can reach, even under these conditions. We were barely able to keep up with her, obviously observing some basic safety rules, even with a rib that reached 30 knots as Alinghi’s catamaran was able to top 15 knots.