Saturday, December 22, 2007

Update from Paul Cayard

Saturday, December 22, 2007
I am back in San Francisco after a three month stint in Valencia. The short story is that I joined Desafio Español assuming that we were in for a short America's Cup, with a new class of boat which I found very interesting as it meant a new game and a compressed time frame.

As we all know, the event has yet to gain traction. The court case between BMW Oracle and Alinghi has completely derailed the America's Cup. As of this time, there is no date, there is no class of boat, and no venue. There is a defender (Alinghi) and one (1) challenger, BMW Oracle.

Desafio Español, like most other teams, has had to make new plans. In the New Year, we will go to a reduced operation until there is some certainty about the next Cup that the team will be able to participate in. A new program has the team competing on the TP 52 Med Cup and GP 42 Circuits next summer, both in the Mediterranean. These circuits are very competitive and in fact most of the America's Cup sailors race there. By having its own team boats, supported by Iberdrola and other top sponsors, Desafio will keep the sailing team working seriously and together and continue its presence in the sport of sailing.

This situation is obviously hard on the people on every team who have to, after getting their lives organized to be in Valencia for 2 years working for the America's Cup. It is also a shame for the fans of the sport and the corporate sponsors who were starting to appreciate what sailing can offer.

It is amazing to think that just 6 months ago, on the 21st of June... the longest day of the year, we were heading to the most competitive America's Cup final in many years following one of the most interesting Louis Vuitton Cups. The first America's Cup in Valencia raised the profile of the event world wide and indeed Alinghi is to be complimented for that. But, how long will it take to get back to that level? When will we next see a harbor with 60,000 spectators and the kind of enthusiasm we witnessed last summer? What a shame to be in this situation.

For me, I hope to continue with Desafio on their TP 52 project, keeping the team together and hoping for some Cup news before December of 2008. I will sail on Warpath with Steve and Fred How of San Diego, on the Farr 40 circuit this spring which includes Key West, Miami SORC, and the World Championship in April (also in Miami). We finished 4th in the World Championship in Sydney a few years back, so it will be fun to try to improve on that.

I am also revisiting a plan I had last year to race with my kids and a few others to Hawaii. There is a lot of organization required to get a project like that to come to fruition but no time like the present. No Star sailing for the time being although my new boat still sits in a friend's hangar at Gnoss Field in Novato....fully cured I guess by now.

For now, a bit of a rest and family time. We will be at our home in Kentfield, CA for Christmas and then off to Lake Tahoe for a week of skiing. I want to wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Year's!

Paul Cayard