Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BMW Oracle: ‘return America’s Cup 33 Match to Valencia’

“The America’s Cup is meant to be hard to win, not impossible to lose,” Russell Coutts

In the latest round of court battles with Team Alinghi, BMW Oracle’s hosts Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) of San Francisco have stated:

“GGYC has served our reply brief and exhibits on SNG and filed them with the NY Court. Our latest filing is a point by point rebuttal of SNG's opposition papers to our motion asking the Court to invalidate RAK as the venue and return the AC 33 Match venue to Valencia in February, 2010. The hearing on this venue motion, and our motion for fair rules previously briefed (and papers posted below), is Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 11am, Supreme Court of New York County, 60 Centre St., New York City.” 19 Oct 09

Team Alinghi, through their club Societe Nautique de Geneve SNG, replied:

Geneva, Switzerland - (2009-10-27)
“By filing their eighth legal action against the Defender of the America's Cup in two years, Larry Ellison and his Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) have demonstrated yet again that their true intention is to win sailing's most prestigious trophy in court instead of on the water. After failing in their attempts to circumvent the terms set in the governing Deed of Gift, Ellison is now seeking to snatch the Cup from Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) with a new round of baseless allegations,” said Fred Meyer, Société Nautique de Genève Vice-Commodore. “As two-time winner of the America's Cup and organiser of what was widely considered the most successful America's Cup event ever in Valencia, Spain, in 2007, SNG and Alinghi will continue to fight for their legitimate rights in order to promote the sport of sailing around the world. We hope that GGYC will abandon this unsportsmanlike conduct and either join the competition on the waters off Ras Al Khaimah this February or let other teams who want to participate challenge for the Cup,” he concluded.

Alinghi team skipper Brad Butterworth said: “BMW Oracle should clean up their unsportsmanlike behaviour with a dose of saltwater and sunshine and challenge for the Cup on the water. Otherwise they should stand aside and let other teams compete.”

"The complaint is an affront to the America's Cup, to the UAE, to our country's relationship with an important ally, and to the judicial process. It is just a PR stunt. There is nothing in the complaint that hasn't been the subject of prior or pending legal proceedings. Basically, GGYC doesn't want to race SNG on the water after it disenfranchised 19 other clubs from competing in an elimination series and dislocated hundreds of sailors and participants in the sailing industry,” concluded lead counsel for the Société Nautique de Genève, Barry Ostrager of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

It is perhaps significant that, where GGYC have simply stated their intention to continue their court action, SNG used their reply to continue maligning Team BMW Oracle and questioning their motives. It would be nice to think that, following the court’s decision later today, a line can be drawn under this sorry chapter in the history of the America’s Cup..........but don’t hold your breath... If Ernesto Bertarelli can be persuaded to put the bad feelings that exist between him and Larry Ellisson to one side, Valencia would welcome both teams back with open arms.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sorolla returns to Valencia

I was determined to see the Sorolla exhibition once again on its return to Valencia, the last stop before the paintings are returned to their rightful home in the Hispanic Society of New York. This marvellous exhibition has been all over Spain, starting and ending here in Valencia but visiting Sevilla, Málaga, Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid on the way and becoming a record breaker as the most visited Art exhibition in Spain with over two million visitors.

A clever friend rang me to tell me that as we were clients of Bancaja, the exhibition organisers we could have priority booking (entrance is free but only a limited number of people are allowed in at any one time and though you can turn up on spec, the queues are likely to be very long) so we got a time slot for Monday and met six friends there to see the show. Anyone who lives in Valencia or visits regularly cannot fail to know a little about this artist, his pictures crop up on posters and adverts all over the city- he is, after all one of Valencia's three favourite sons, along with Blasco Ibañez and Calatrava.

The exhibition consists mainly of the enormous panels he was commissioned by the Hispanic Society depicting life throughout his homeland of Spain painted in the latter years of his life, between 1890 and 1915. It is said that these paintings exhausted him and contributed to his stroke the year following their completion.

It is quite an experience seeing an exhibition with so many people. It is fascinating to realize that we all take different things from a work, what I found in one picture T would see something else, B spotted another aspect, or a piece left Th cold and was inspirational to D...Sorrollas work is extraordinary, apart from the sheer enormity of the pieces, (One is over 17m long), the way he captures light with a few brush strokes is fantastic.

I have two favorite panels, one was the 'Grupas' (actually a Valencian piece), a wonderful party of orange pickers and their families on horses riding through the groves. My other has to be the largest of the panoramic panels entitled 'Castilla- la Fiesta de Pan', it is a scene typical even today of a summer fiesta, the detail is extraordinary, the children and costumes beautiful, faces so alive, and baskets of ceramics so real you feel you could touch them.

On show for the first time in Valencia are two other wonderful paintings; the gorgeous 'Afternoon Sun' and the sweet image of two children playing on the shore 'Sea idyll'. Also on display is what is probably Sorolla's most famous work 'Triste Herencia' a moving painting of crippled children playing in the sea, a painting which earned Sorolla the Grand Prix and a medal of Honour at the Universal Exhibition in Paris 1900.

It is worth queuing to see this exhibition, the last time it was here in Valencia it proved so popular that it remained open 24 hours a day in its final weeks. Get there early to see this remarkable work.

Serendipity and the Beatles

It's not everyday you stumble upon the Beatles in the streets of Valencia!
On arriving in Valencia from out of town Monday morning, I came across a rock band setting up outside the bullring.
Intrigued, I hang around looking a bit like an ageing groupie! After a short warm up session whilst a few photographers and a crew from Canal 9 did some filming, the band finally got going.
The logo on their drum-kit was a good clue to the music we were about to hear! The Blisters, sang the music of the Beatles to a small but appreciative crowd, many of whom, including me, were singing, and even bopping, along to the rhythm. Very good they were too, though sadly they didn't look at all like the real Beatles! I must have been a little over zealous in my dancing because I ended up being interviewed by Canal Nou - what, I wonder is the 'Spanglish' equivalent of Valenciano and English? Whatever it is, it must have sounded funny!
A visit to the Blisters' website (theblister.es) will show you that they appeared live at Liverpool's Legendary Cavern Club in August and their next live appearance in Valencia is at Abastos at 20:00h on 19 December. Their manager tells me they are available for weddings, Bar Mitzvas....