Sunday, October 10, 2010

TP 52 Worlds 2010

photos ©2010 Tim Birch

Valencia, 9 October 2010

Watching the crew line-up for the TP52 Worlds was a bit like reporting on the America’s Cup, so many names and faces were familiar. And of course, the America’s Cup Port venue and the waters off Valencia played their part in supporting this feeling.

Paul Cayard was sailing aboard Artemis, the Swedish yacht helmed (yes, helmed) by businessman Torbjorn Tornquist. Jochen Schueman, the German Olympic sailor (and former skipper of Team Alinghi) was steering Audi/All4ONE, whilst Terry Hutchinson, tactician aboard Team New Zealand, took the helm of US entry Quantum Racing.

Thanks to a Franco/German alliance, no less than 8 nations were featured in the championship which, due to an unfortunate earlier incident, left host nation Spain without a representative. Their yacht Bribon was severely damaged in a collision with Audi/All4ONE and could not be repaired in time for the start of the regatta. Nevertheless, Valencia provided a welcome mix of weather conditions which saw Argentina’s yacht Matador going into the last day just 3.5 points behind Quantum Racing.

After a two-hour delay, a 6 – 8 knot easterly set in and racing got under way.
The Russian yacht Synergy, steered by Eugeni Neugodnikov showed good speed off the line heading left. Artemis had a fine start and headed right. When these two crossed, Synergy had to duck behind Artemis. Meanwhile Bigamist, the Portguese entry steered by Afonso Domingos, continued out to the right and crossed the fleet coming into the top mark. Matador was over the line early and had to tack back, giving Quantum Racing the perfect opportunity to watch their every move. Their aggressive covering held Matador down in seventh place going into the first downwind leg and only some tactical sailing allowed them to reel in the American yacht before they rounded the bottom mark. During the final beat, Quantum racing carried Matador far out to the right “almost to Ibiza” quipped one of the cameramen. They rounded the top mark eighth and ninth, both carrying protest flags and followed closely by the on-water judges.

Bigamist led the fleet home to claim her first win of the regatta, followed by Audi/All4ONE, Cristabella (the first British yacht), Artemis and Synergy.
As Quantum Racing crossed the line just behind Matador, Terry Hutchinson ordered the removal of their protest flag and the Argentines generously applauded their well-deserved victory. Just 2 points separated these boats after nine races. Just 1 point separated the next four yachts but Synergy had done enough to hold onto her 3rd overall.

1 Quantum Racing USA 31.5
2 Matador ARG 33.5
3 Synergy RUS 41
4 Artemis SWE 41
5 Audi/All4ONE GER/FRA 41.5
6 Cristabella GBR 42
7 Bigamist POR 51.5
8 Pace GBR 72
9 Weapon of Choice GBR 76.5

Mike O’Neill

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Kasabian, originally uploaded by beadyeye.

Anita Darling and partner in crime PJ are at Heineken FIB Benicassim, reporting live with great pictures at flickr and tumblr and they're also tweeting live

Monday, June 28, 2010

What a weekend in Valencia

It has been quite a weekend here in Valencia - The F1 Grand prix took place on the Valencia Street Circuit- loathed by aficionados but pronounced a triumph by Bernie Eccleston. It was a warm weekend, Sunday was a particularly hot day, apparently 3º hotter than last year and that was August!
Gay Pride had their annual parade in the city on Saturday night followed by a concert featuring mainly drag acts. We got to see the parade but after a day's sight seeing with visitors from the UK, a quiet dinner at home was the favoured choice, friends who did go said the concert was good but the atmosphere was great!
We met up with friends at the Guinness House to watch the England/Germany match - one of the friend's we were meeting texted ahead to say that Hamilton and Button had come second and third in the Grand Prix, a good omen- but I pointed out that a German had taken first place- not such a good omen.
We are just putting the finishing touches to two other big events this summer Fib Heineken Benicàssim - Our own Anita Darling will be there, this year in the company of ace photographer Pj; they'll be reporting on a daily basis on thisisvalencia and on thisisfib.tumblrand they'll be twittering too - so don't forget to follow!
La Tomatina takes place on the last wednesday August whis this year is the 25th, we ran a great luxury bus tour to this whacky food fight and we're taking bookings now clock on the headline for more info.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

An Air show above the beach at Malvarossa, Valencia

Valencia hosts on 12th and 13th June, the VII City of Valencia International Air Show, a festival that, over the years, has gained a great reputation thanks to the skill of the participants and the setting over the beautiful Playa de la Malvarrosa beach.
At the six previous editions, some of the most representative figures from the world of national and international aeronautics in its different forms have taken part in this event. This latest edition features new spectacles for spectators and fans of aerial acrobatics.
Last year's show was a great hit with sailing aficionados, and this year boats will be allowed to moor at sea to enjoy the City of Valencia Air Show. Sailing enthusiasts will find the mooring plans from the Valencia's Royal Air Club webpage.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

WNBR at Puente de Flores in Valencia

P6052393, originally uploaded by beadyeye.

June 06, 2010 — World Naked Bike Ride in Valencia June 05 2010.
They left from the Festival Alternativa in the river park Turia and cycled around the city protesting about not only the traffic but Rita Barbera's plans for Cabanyal.
Here we see them getting ready

WNBR World Naked Bike Ride Valencia2010

June 06, 2010 — World Naked Bike Ride in Valencia June 05 2010.
They left from the Festival Alternativa in the river park Turia and cycled around the city protesting about not only the traffic but Rita Barbera's plans for Cabanyal.
Here we see them coming out of the Plaza Ayuntamiento past the Plaza de Toros where, coincidentally a Ninja Flashmob is about to start.

WNBR World Naked Bike Ride - start

The start of the World Naked Bike ride in Valencia yesterday - It left from the Festival Alternativa in the Rio Turia Park and took a route around the city past the Ayuntamiento (town hall) and the Station, where, coincidentally a Ninja Flash Mob was just about to take place - check out that video too!

Ninja Flashmob Valencia 2010

Not quite the expected 700 participants but good fun all the same!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Valencia - What's on in the coming days

With Easter on our doorstep and spring (and high pollen count) in the air, there is a wealth of things to do in Valencia this month and next.
The solemn marches and processions of Semana Santa take place over the next few weeks in Cabanyal, the maritine suburb of the city, down by the port. They are quite moving to watch and these are the biggest outside of Seville. There are also processions in Sagunto if you want to make a day of it and take in the Magnificent Roman Castle too.
Also down at the beach from the 9-11 April is the wonderfully colourful 13th edition of the annual Kite Festival - Great fun for all the family and free!
A few euros buys you vouchers that not only get you in to the Mostra de Vinos by the Calatrava Bridge in the Park Rio Turia, but also entitle you to wine tastings and food sampling. A very inexpensive way to try some of the great wines (and Foods) of the region of Valencia, just don't go down, like we did last year, at lunchtime, because all of the food stalls were closed!! And we'd gone for lunch!
Dance and Ballet fans should check the press from now until early May for some wonderful performances and artists appearing for the International Dansa Valencia - check for full listings.
The lights go out for the night in Valencia as part of the Global initiative,Earth Hour at 20:00h on Saturday 27th March.
Finally, Cirque du Soleil Fans will not want to miss Saltimbanco at the Velodrome from 14-18 April.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Campanar Nou and their 600,000 euro Falla

It was announced this morning that Campanar Nou's 600,000€ masterpiece (pictured above) came second to Convento Jerusalem's latest work costing only half - we'll have pictures of it for you tonight. Fallas, meanwhile is hotting up with the wonderful spectacle of the ofrenda starting today, 150,000 costumed women (falleras) parade though the streets to the cathedral to offer flowers to the Virgin.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Line up additions to Benicassim

Heineken Fiberfib at Benicassim, the most famous of the summer festivals in Spain, announced additions to the growing line up today - Echo and the Bunnymen, Hot Chip and Ellie Goulding are amongst the new names - the festival takes place from the 15 - 18 July and the line up is now - Vampire Weekend + Leftfield + Dizzee Rascal + The Cribs + Echo and the Bunnymen + Foals + Four Tet (live) + Hot Chip + Ian Brown + Ilegales + Klaxons + Mumford and sons + PiL + The Specials + Sr Chinarro + Benga + Calvin Harris + The Courteeners + Cut Copy + Dirty Projectors + Ellie Goulding + Jonston + Magnetic Man + Scratch + Perverts + Skream + Southern Arts Society + The Temper Trap + Triángulo de Amor Bizarro + Two door Cinema Club + Yacht & the Straight Gaze + Yuksek.
For travel and general information and more news as we get it, click on the headline, or go to

Terry Gilliam Loves Mascletàs!

Terry Gilliam is in Valencia today to look for locations for his latest production 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'. He was accompanied to a Mascletà, the midday firework display of noise that takes place each day in the Plaza Ayuntamiento during Fallas, by members of the Valencia Film Office and was said to be very impressed. The movie, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, about a man who time travels between the present day and 17th century La Manchahas been beset with problems since its conception and has been the subject of a documentary 'lost in La Mancha.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Las Fallas

Las Fallas is almost upon us. It officially starts on the 15th of March and ends on the night of 19th March with La Cremà - when the entire city appears to be on fire. For a full description and everything you need to know about the wonderful Festival click on the headline.
All Photos ©2008/9/10 Diana Birch

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Google Transit comes to Valencia

Google have launched Transit for Valencia, It's a nifty bit of kit that allows you to plan your route around the city by public transport. You simply type in your departure and arrival points and it tells you how far you will have to walk to the nearest bus or metro stop and the same for your destination - all very impressive we think!
Try it here

AMERICAS CUP 33, 2010 Summary

Larry Ellison and Members of the crew collect the Cup in a ceremony by Veles e Vents on Sunday evening

On St. Valentine’s Day 2010, the crew of BMW Oracle, with skipper James Spithill and CEO Russell Coutts, achieved owner Larry Ellison’s ambition to win the America’s Cup.

That it took two and a half years and a reputed 300 million dollars to reach this objective speaks volumes for the man and for the determination of his rival Ernesto Bertarelli to hold onto the trophy. Despite all the allegations and court appeals, BMW Oracle stood their ground and demanded the ‘Deed of Gift’ match be held in Valencia, not in Ras al Khaimah where Alinghi wanted to race.

When the two craft appeared in January, it quickly became obvious that this was to be no ‘normal’ America’s Cup match. Both multihulls were reputed to be capable of speeds in excess of 40knots (74km/h). Further, it seemed that Alinghi 5 was so light and so highly-loaded that she was unable to sail in winds over 15knots (28km/h) or with waves of more than 1 metre. BMW Oracle on the other hand was much heavier and capable of stronger conditions. She sported a wing mast that had cost over 5 million dollars, the price of a reasonable AC campaign ten years earlier!

Race 1 was due to take place on Monday, February 8 but was delayed until Friday due to variable wind direction. The two multihulls came together in the starting area and Alinghi, with Bertarelli at the helm, incurred a penalty. BMW Oracle, skippered by James Spithill, stalled before the start and Alinghi sailed away into a 660 metre lead. Their joy was short-lived as the American boat overtook them on the 20 mile beat and extended their lead all the way to the finish. The start of Race 2 was delayed until five minutes before the cut-off time and Alinghi, once more helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli, once more incurred a penalty. This time it was the Swiss boat which was late for the start and which then proceeded to overtake the Americans. BMW Oracle fought back and went on to win the race and the America’s Cup.

During Sunday evening’s press call, Larry Ellison confirmed that the Italian team Mascalzone Latino had been accepted as Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup. The questions of when and where the series will take place are as yet undecided but Ellison declared: ”... There will be a completely independent jury, there will be completely independent umpires. It will be an independent group which manages the next America’s Cup and there will be a level playing field for all competitors.”

His remarks were prompted following the bitter legal battle with Team Alinghi over the allegedly high-handed and self-serving manner in which the original 33rd Challenge was set up by the Swiss Defenders. Even so Russell Coutts, when asked if Alinghi would be invited to take part in the next series said: “Of course we would like to see Alinghi back as a challenger. They are one of the best teams in this business, and they have proven that.”

Where next? It seems logical that Ellison would want to hold the next regatta in San Francisco, home of Golden Gate Yacht Club and close to his Oracle Corporation headquarters. But doubts have been raised as to how the San Francisco waterfront could accommodate all of the 11 to 14 challengers expected for the 34th America’s Cup series. A more likely venue would be San Diego, where BMW Oracle was extensively trialled before being shipped over to Valencia. Another possibility is Newport, Rhode Island where Cup matches were traditionally held until Australia II won in 1983.

When? To get the best possible entry level and to generate maximum interest in the event, the spring of 2013 would seem to be the earliest that a new series could be held. Apart from finding sponsors, the challengers would need time to learn what type of boat had been chosen for the next series and to prepare a budget based on the cost of building and campaigning the new craft.

Was it all worth it? Certainly Larry Ellison and his team will think so. Ernesto Bertarelli is probably still coming to terms with the reality of the situation and his future decisions could well be decided for him by key members of his team, who have remained remarkably tight-lipped during this whole event. But what about all the other challengers, their designers and supporters; how do they feel? Many lost their jobs 2 years ago when it became clear that nothing was going to be resolved quickly. And what about Valencia, whose leaders had the vision to create a magnificent new harbour; how must they be feeling now? A great deal remains to be written about this whole episode. Let us hope that lessons have been learned and that positive action is taken to protect the future of the America’s Cup and of this superb harbour complex in Valencia.
Good sailing,
Mike O’Neill

Monday, February 15, 2010

AMERICA'S CUP 33 - the statistics

39 TV channels acquired the broadcasting rights : Sky (Great Britain), Canal + (France), Teledeporte and Canal 9 (Spain), Eurosport (Europe), Show Time (the Middle East), ESPN (the USA) FOX Live (Australia), TVNZ and Sky (New Zealand).
15 hours of live broadcasting to 216 territories
27 hours of special programs
2,160 million potential viewing audience.

2,800,000 visits
1,200,000 unique visitors
656,000 unique visitors watched the live racing direct through the official web site
(this audience does not include the streaming broadcasting by 350 other Internet sites worldwide)
346,000 was the record number of unique visitors, occurring on the 12 of February 16,000 Facebook fans and 13,000 followers on Twitter in the three official languages of all the communication of the Web (Spanish, English and French)
More than 300 articles published more in three languages on

PUBLIC AT THE MARINA REAL JUAN CARLOS 1(from the 7th to the 14th of February)
Global number of visitors: 201,000 between the 7th the 14th of February
Record: 7th of February 2007 - 60,000 people at the event inauguration
More than 2,000 children of Valencian schools in organized visits
More than 1,200 hamburgers more served
More 5,000 served plates of paella
More than 800 fondues (150 kg of cheese) served
More than 1,400 kilos of powder in `mascletás'

965 Requests accreditation requests from 37 countries (Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Great Britain, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, the Faeroes, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Holland, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, Islands Vírgenes and the Ukraine)
More than 8,000 articles were published
400 daily users connected to the Internet to the Wi-Fi network of 120 Mbs
10 kilometers of optical fiber installed
15 official Vehicles that have realised 13,244 kilometers in more than 700 services
5 official press conferences in the conference hall

2,000 sq m of canvases
500 banners
180 bus stop advertising panels
1,000 1 minute adverts of the 33rd America's Cup in the trains of the Mediterranean corridor area
Continuous advertising of 35 seconds in 345 buses of Valencia
10,000 official programs distributed.
Presence in airports of Madrid and Barcelona

2 boats: the catamaran Alinghi 5 and the trimaran the USA
2 regattas: 12th of February and 14th of February 2 formats of racing: Windward/Leeward (12th of February) and triangle (14th of February)
79 nautical miles of racing: 40 in the first and 39 in second
24 sailors in the official crew listing: 14 on Alinghi 5, 10 in the USA
2-0, the score in favor of BMW ORACLE Racing
15 minutes and 25 seconds, the delta of first race, the 12 of February
5 minutes and 29 seconds, the delta of second race, the 14 of February

33 editions of America's Cup between 1870 and 2010
4 countries have defended the America's Cup: The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland
28 editions defended by the United States: 1870 to 1983, 1988, 1992, 1995
1 edition defended by Australia: 1987
2 editions defended by New Zealand: 2000 and 2003
2 editions defended by Switzerland: 2007 and 2010
7 countries have reached the America's Cup Match (England, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and the United States)
6 venues in 159 years: New York (the USA), Newport (the USA), Fremantle (AUS), San Diego (the USA), Auckland (NZL) and Valencia (ESP) 1 trophy: the America's Cup
1 America's Cup

Source - America's Cup Consortium 2007
photo - ©2010 BMW Oracle Racing

Sunday, February 14, 2010

America's Cup Race Two – BMW Oracle wins the CUP!!

AC 2010 Race Two – BMW Oracle wins the CUP!!
The wind finally settled (it needs to be within a directional range of 30 degrees for a Cup race) at around 4pm today in Valencia. Alinghi 5 with owner Ernesto Bertarelli at the helm won the right to enter on starboard but were inside the starting area before time and were penalized before the race even started.

BMW Oracle, with both Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts onboard, steered around Alinghi and headed out to the left side of the course. The Swiss catamaran, slow to get moving, sailed out the right, already 400m behind. After several minutes, it became clear that Alinghi’s performance had been transformed, sailing both higher and faster than in Race One. Within minutes, the Swiss boat had sailed into the lead as the breeze on the right gave a significant advantage. Bertarelli handed the helm to Loick Peyron, the French multihull veteran. At one point, Alinghi 5 was 600 metres ahead and it was noted they had raised a protest flag. As they neared the windward mark, Alinghi tacked over to the left, crossing BMW Oracle who had already tacked for the mark. When Alinghi tacked, her speed dropped dramatically and, as BMW Oracle was already moving fast, it looked as if the Swiss had misjudged the layline to the mark. Sure enough, BMW Oracle was able to squeeze up, rounding the mark 28 seconds ahead.

On the first reach, The US boat again showed her off-wind abilities, swiftly climbing to 30 knots in the 8-knot breeze. Alinghi stayed in touch but could not seem to match the speed of the American boat. By the final turn, BMW Oracle was nearly 2000 metres ahead. Alinghi tried everything to get back into the race, dropping water ballast and changing to a larger headsail. These moves improved her speed but not by enough to close the gap.

Two miles from the finish, BMW Oracle ran into some light airs and was forced to tack, allowing Alinghi to close the lead down to1000 metres. But minutes later the US trimaran crossed the finish line to win the America’s Cup. As Alinghi neared the finish, they sailed into a perfectly executed penalty turn, dropped their protest flag and crossed the line just over 5minutes behind. The prizrgiving is at 8pm, so I’m off!!

Mike O’Neill

AC 2010 Race Two......maybe!

The start of Race 2 was postponed for two hours, then for another one hour. At 2.15pm local time, the Race Committee are still unable to confirm a start time, with the wind direction between South East and East. If there is to be a race today, it has to start before 4.30pm, which is the cutoff time.
Mike O’Neill

Friday, February 12, 2010

America's Cup 33 Valencia - Race One....washup

We won’t call it a post mortem because Team Alinghi is far from dead; however...
What we saw out there on the race course today was proof-positive that Russell Coutts and James Spithill were right to push for a wing mast instead of the ‘soft’ sails they had started with. The wing appears to generate so much lift in anything over 4 knots of breeze that the extra weight is easily compensated.

The only possible weakness, the downwind leg, proved just as strong, with BMW Oracle sailing faster and deeper than Alinghi for much of the time. Spithill later said ‘we seemed to carry the breeze right down to the line’ whereas Ernesto Bertarelli said Alinghi ‘sailed into some lighter conditions’ which forced them to stay high to keep the windward hull clear of the water.

When asked: ‘faced with a clearly faster boat, what are the options?’, Bertarelli replied: ‘ First a nice cold beer, then a good nights sleep, then tomorrow we can examine the data’.

Larry Ellison summed up the days events with: ‘“Today I did say that sailing is a lot harder than running a software company!”

Race 2 is scheduled for Sunday and will be a ‘triangle’ of 39 nautical miles; a windward leg followed by two reaches (wind at right angles to the boats). The forecast is for a moderate northerly but, as we know, that could all change.....
Mike O'Neill
Photos©2010BMW Oracle Racing/Gilles Martin-Raget

BMW ORACLE Racing Team:
James Spithill (AUS) skipper/helm BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“Obviously it was quite exciting at the start. We were able to get a piece of them in the entry and that is something we had been thinking about for quite some time, and it started to set up to look like we might be able to get a penalty on them, so I pushed it pretty hard in there. Obviously that left us pretty close to them and we then we had a hard time slowing the boat down. We were in a pretty controlling position then, as time went on through we got ourselves stuck in irons, but also I want to say well done to Alinghi, they did a good job getting out from there.”
“ We still have a lot to learn. It kind of showed today that we aren’t at race level preparation that we are kind of used to in these campaigns. But it was an exciting start with plenty of action.”

Larry Ellison (USA) team founder and afterguard BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“ I think my emotions started when it looked like we were going to race in three and a half knots of breeze. Russell and I were on the boat and we were told that we might be sailing in 20 minutes then we had the call to get as many people off the boat and as much stuff as possible off the boat to sail as light as possible, because there was a very, very light breeze. I had to get off the boat and so did Russell. And so we sailed with a minimum crew. So I think it is more stressful to watch than to sail.”

Russell Coutts (NZL) CEO and afterguard BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“ I think it is early days. I said before the series that you wont be able to draw conclusions from the first few minutes of these races….but how about that win….??

Alinghi (SUI):
Brad Butterworth (NZL) skipper/tactician Alinghi (SUI):
“We tried to keep the boats apart with having the bottom pin offset but it was not actually set up that well, and we thought we had just done enough but obviously not. But that really did not have any reflection on who won the race. It made some interesting stop and start, in irons and going backwards, something we’d never done on multihulls.”

Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), helmsman and team president Alinghi (SUI):
"For sure at the start after the penalty it felt good they were stopped we could gybe and start. The wind changed quite rapidly. We had six or seven knots during the pre start and right off the start we were surprised with the wind coming in so strong, so quickly, 12 knots, but we thought we were doing good. But they caught up. We had to make a sail change which slowed us, but they were fast today and the wing seems to be quite a weapon. "
"I tell you, when you are in my position with the ten years that are behind and the team I have and the opportunity to race one more, or maybe two more races in the America’s Cup, you can’t call any day a hard day in the America’s Cup. They are all good days. Today it just happened they were faster, they sailed a good race.”
“We lost and I learned over the years that losing is part of enjoying sailing and going racing.”

America's Cup 33 Race One....what drama!

It may have been a long wait but what a race! BMW Oracle's skipper James Spithill came into the start area gunning for Alinghi, who failed to tack in time to avoid a penalty. The two craft continued their duel until, one minute before the start, both were over the start line and it became clear that BMW Oracle were stalled. Alinghi bore away, picked up speed and crossed the start line 87 seconds ahead of the US boat.

BMW Oracle started 660 metres behind Alinghi, who were tearing away at 16 to 17 knots in a 5.5 knot southerly breeze. The US boat began to pick up speed and was soon pointing higher and moving just as fast as the Swiss defender. After 20 minutes of racing, BMW Oracle had reduced the lead to zero and, in a surprising move dropped their headsail, showing that their revolutionary wing mast was capable of generating enough power alone.

By the windward mark, BMW Oracle was ahead by over 1,300 metres. Alinghi was expected to be faster off the wind and the only question was, would the penalty turn she had to take slow her enough for the US boat to hold onto her lead. It soon became clear that, although much heavier, BMW Oracle generated enough power to increase her lead until the finish, where she crossed 3,500 meters and 6 minutes ahead of Alinghi, who still had to complete their penalty turn.

What was especially interesting was that both Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts, who were jointly responsible for putting the whole challenge together, chose not to be aboard BMW Oracle today. Their opponents Ernesto Bertarelli and Brad Butterworth performed their helmsman/tactician roles as usual.
Mike O’Neill

America's Cup 33 - Race One

AC 2010 Race One........due to start at 14.10

America's Cup 33 Valencia - Race One........ Third Time Lucky?

AC 2010 Race One........ Third Time Lucky?

As I write this, it looks very much as though Race One is going to happen today..... The committee boat is in position about 26 nautical miles east of Valencia and seems to be setting a course to allow for a wind shift which is due to reach the race area soon. Both Alinghi 5 and BMW Oracle are testing the conditions and making final adjustments to get the most out of their craft. If you are in Valencia and can bear watching without sound, then Punt 2 is showing the race and you can stream live information from or from If you have one of those amazing ‘digiboxes’, there is a dedicated Americas Cup channel close to the Aprende Ingles channel. We will up-date you as more details become available but latest info is that racing will begin ‘soon’, which could be in as little as 15 minutes time.....

photo courtesy of

Mike O’Neill
12.00 Friday

Thursday, February 11, 2010

AMERICA's CUP 33 - What's it like on the ground in Valencia?

The Stars and Stripes at BMW Oracle

The Multihull and its amazing wing, longer than a jumbo jet wing.

Let's face it - it is turning out to be the biggest non-event of the year.
Battle of the Giants? Giants these boats may be but they seem just a little too delicate for the job in hand - my sailing friends tell me - assure - me that a normal America's Cup yacht would have loved the conditions on Valencia's waters these past few days.
The Press room has been teaming with press from over 37 countries - over 900 of them all waiting with bated breath for what has been billed as the race to beat all races - and there is some urgency for many of them as they will have to leave for Canada to report on the winter Olympics which start this weekend. Who is going to care (apart from the protagonists and their yacht clubs) once the Winter Olympics get under way?
For those spectators who have made the effort to make it to Valencia for this AC33 will also be deeply disappointed that they won't even be able to see the BMW Oracle boat in the flesh, the construction of the 'wing' means that it is too dangerous to bring the boat into the Marina, so it is moored out in the commercial port and, unless you are invited as friends and family or press there is just no way to see it up close. (if the visibility is good and there is no crane in the way, you can just see the huge wing in the far distance) I have been lucky enough to see it in the flesh - a very early start to see the docking out ceremony - (more of which later) and it is stunning- huge and stunning.
Which brings us on to the racing - that too will take place (if it ever happens) miles out to sea. 20 miles or so - that is a very long way from shore (think Dover to Calais) and too far away to see with the naked eye, so you can really only watch the races on television or on the internet. There is a giant screen at the AC Park with a few scattered loungers around to watch from - but there are fewer and fewer spectators each day and so any atmosphere there was is less and less tangible. The highlight so far has been the incredible Mascletà at the opening ceremony. But if you are not a fan of noise and daytime fireworks and just want to watch good sailng, you won't have been impressed.
The AC Park has been spruced a bit but they were still fixing broken decking on the Veles e Vents building on the Monday, when racing should have already started. Though there is a bar open there are empty shops. There are a few stalls acting as tapas, burger, fondue and paella bars, and they are not bad value. The general consensus on the souvenir shops is that they are far too expensive, much more so than the previous America's Cup Merchandise.
It is fascinating to watch the press conferences (you can watch them online on the teams websites) and here them talking about how great the races will be - the question is - when.
Timothy Birch
Photos ©2010 Birch/Mike Adams

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

America's Cup 33 News- Race One...nearly (again)!

Racing was postponed for two hours and then a further one hour today in an effort to allow the swell from yesterday’s high winds to subside. At around midday, race director Harold Bennett took the decision to abandon racing until Friday.

There were some interesting comments surrounding the decision. James Spithill, helmsman of USA said at the BMW Oracle press meeting: “we think probably at 10 am there was a window but having that said that, it is very easy to look from the outside. I think Harold Bennett is the right man for the job. I have full trust in Harold”. A member of the press asked “maybe you are not as well informed as Alinghi, they were saying last night there would not be a race today”. Spithill said “I can’t comment on that” but clearly was disappointed not to have been able to put the trimaran to the test.

Loick Peyron, co-helmsman of Alinghi 5 said: “The conditions were possibly boat breaking. These boats are for Formula 1 racing and you do not take them off to do the Paris-Dakar.”

There was a sense of disappointment among the crowds who had flocked to the America’s Cup port and the lack of accurate information was partly to blame. Since all the main action takes place far from the Velas y Vents building, it is essential that interest is maintained with regular broadcast up-dates.

Sadly, the programme does not allow for racing tomorrow but we will be there to assess the conditions ahead of the planned 10am start on Friday.
Mike O’Neill

Harold Bennett (NZL) Principal Race Officer explained:
“We have issued an amendment that there will be no signal before midday tomorrow Wednesday). We will make a further assessment at 0830hrs in the morning. So we will have a look at what it is like early in the morning. We will take a check then. There are a lot of strong winds forecast overnight and offshore and that is going to throw up a swell. So it is more the sea-state that is going to be of concern. Until we see what the sea state is we are not going to guess. I don’t want to put the boats out there if they are not going to sail. I do not want to put them all the way out there and bring them back without a race. Talking with the weather guys from both teams they agree that this is what we are going to get, so it is a fairly easy decision to make.”

America's Cup News - Day Two and still no race!

The only racingthat took place today at the AC Park was with these BMW Oracle Radio controlled model yachts.

The New Aston Martin Rapide on display in AC Park today.
Another day without a race in Valencia today, waves in excess of 1.3 metres forced organisers to cancel the races for the second time this week. More later in detail from Mike O'Neill.