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The America’s Cup Absolutely Freaking Kills Me

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Despite our righteous indignation at having been turned down for press access to the America’s Cup, duty compelled us to head for the harbor today on the first day of racing and check out the scene.


And so we did, for about an hour. I can say in all honesty, and without the slightest amount of sarcasm that it was the most thrilling, gripping, intense and wonderfully ecstatic hour of my entire life.

Allow me to assist you in imagining the scene: under the austere auspices of the Veles e Vents building, a sparse crowd had gathered! With no way to see the actual race, people had congregated around a large screen! Heavily tanned gentlemen in polo sweaters were everywhere! Alinghi clowns danced among children and possibly delighted one of them! A palpable sense of boredom permeated the air!

Workers darted in and around the crowd, chanting “Or-ac-le!” “A-lingh-i!” That’s right: paid employees were trying to generate excitement by goading people into chanting the names of corporations. Like the spirit of the Olympics, only much more moving and authentic!

Hundreds of schoolchildren were bussed in before the race’s scheduled start time. A brilliant strategy! Children are loud, generate a buoyant atmosphere without prodding and, besides prisoners, are the only people who can be forced into attendance. And you can’t expect sailing fans to mingle with prisoners! The kids made up about a third of the crowd. I felt sorry for them when the race was postponed 6 hours and eventually rescheduled to Wednesday. But at least there were Alinghi clowns.

This America’s Cup is an unmitigated disaster for sailing fans, for the event itself, and especially for the city of Valencia. Friends tell us that the 32nd edition held in 2007, was fantastic; not just exciting on a sporting level, but successful in bringing fame, money and tourism to Valencia. This time around, the constant (and still on-going) litigation has snuffed out any legitimate interest.

So if you don’t get down to the port to check out the action for the 33rd America’s Cup, don’t feel like you’re missing out on too much. You’re not.

More pictures from the 33rd Americas Cup, taken this morning:


Get ready for Fallas 2010

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February 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm Comments (5)

The America’s Cup — It’s On?

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How about this? For the 2010 edition of the America’s Cup, ditch the yachts and put the presidents of Alinghi and Oracle/BMW in canoes, rowing for their lives away from Valencia’s Mayor Rita Barbera, who will be following them in a motorboat with a shotgun. I’m sure poor Rita would be up for that idea, and it’s something I’d pay to watch.

Americas Cup 2010

On again, off again, on again, off again, now in Valencia, now in the United Arab Emirates, now in Australia, perhaps then again in Valencia. Oracle sues Alinghi, who counter sues, or raises a complaint, or files suit, or makes an appeal. Sigh. Trying to follow the legal maneuverings and fickle decision-making of the two teams has been a Sisyphean task.

But now, it looks as though Valencia has won the day. The 33rd edition of the America’s Cup is set to take place in February, 2010. Only Alinghi (the current champion) and Oracle/BMW (the challenger) will be competing in the event that is currently set to run from Feb 8th to the 12th. It won’t be as lucrative a boon to the city as the 32nd edition in 2007, but still… in this economy, every little helps.

Explore Valencia’s Harbour

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November 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm Comment (1)

America’s Cup in Danger! And Now the F1?

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Oh man, would you guys just decide already?!

The Swiss team Alinghi, current holders of the America’s Cup, and Oracle/BMW are headed back to court yet again. This is like watching spoiled rich kids fight over who gets to ride on the pony first.

We’ve lost track over who said what, and the accusations and recriminations being thrown around. The only thing which seems certain is that the big loser will be Valencia. There’s still no guarantee that the competition will be held here at all.

Source: Valencia Sailing

My feeling is Valencia should just withdraw any effort to get the America’s Cup here. It’s turning into an expensive drama that the city ultimately has no say in. Let the world’s wealthy elite have their playground somewhere else! The harbor could be better used for other things. Granted, we don’t know much about sailing and weren’t here for the 2007 edition… what do you all think?

And as if the possible loss of the America’s Cup isn’t enough bad news, the local paper here recently published an article titled “¿Adios a la Fórmula 1?” The financial crisis and last year’s roundly criticized inaugural Grand Prix are combining to throw doubt on the future of the race in Valencia. It’s just rumor at this point, but the loss of the F1 would be terrible news for the city.

Instead of sporting events for the elite, wouldn’t the city’s money have been better invested in rehabilitating the downtown?

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May 7, 2009 at 5:50 am Comments (2)