Friday, August 7, 2009

Questions + Answers about Ras al-Khaimah the new venue for the America’s Cup

33rd AC

Questions + Answers about Ras al-Khaimah the new venue for the America’s Cup

Where is Ras al-Khaimah?
Ras al-Khaimah is one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); it covers an area of 656 square miles (1,700km2) and borders on Oman, situated in the southern part of the Persian Gulf. The capital city of Ras al-Khaimah is located 45 minutes from Dubai airport and is also served by the Ras al-Khaimah International airport. The 300,000 population is ruled by HH Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al-Qasimi. The Deputy Ruler is Crown Prince HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi.

What are the reasons for choosing the UAE and Ras-al-Khaimah?
1. The absolute priority in making the venue decision was the prevailing weather conditions and the resulting safety they bring to both teams.
2. The investment and the infrastructure provided was another important reason: a purpose-built island is being made available for both teams to operate from.
3. The experience and commitment the UAE has in hosting international high-standard sporting, arts and business activities.

Why this choice over somewhere like Dubai where Alinghi had already trained in 2006/2007?
We looked at the Emirates and many other places but in the end we settled on Ras al-Khaimah because it has a great building sea breeze during the day, similar to Mediterranean conditions in the summer, making it good for these boats and safe for all concerned.

Isn’t it a conflict region?
The UAE is recognised worldwide to be extremely secure; testimony to this is the fact that some of the most important international corporations have business interests and investments in the country, particularly coming from the USA. It is also a popular venue for sporting events: Tiger Woods is currently designing his first golf course in Dubai; Roger Federer, the Williams sisters and other tennis stars play in the country every year; there will be a Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi in October and Russell Coutts sails there each year with his RC44 class. The Arts are also very well represented in the region: Guggenheim is building a museum in Abu Dhabi and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra will perform there as well.
Even Harvard has a School and Medical Centre in Dubai.

How will you tackle security concerns?
The UAE is among the safest countries in the region, a fact that is acknowledged around the world and Ras al-Khaimah in particular is known for its peace and stability.

How much has Ras al-Khaimah paid SNG to host the 33rd AC?
There is no venue fee.

Why is there no venue fee?
Because the venue is already making a considerable investment in infrastructure.

Does the facility provide for both teams?
Yes it does on a purpose-built America’s Cup Island in Al-Hamra Village near Ras al-Khaimah.

What are the overall facilities provided by the venue?
A 22-hectare purpose-built island inside the Al Hamra Village lagoon – a new luxury resort on the coast of Ras al-Khaimah – will host the team bases and all the necessary facilities for both teams, the media, the sponsors and the public. There is an 18-hole golf course, 5-star accommodation and 3,500 residences. Ras al-Khaimah is making a multi-million dollar investment to ensure a high standard venue for the 33rd America’s Cup.

BMW Oracle says that the Deed doesn’t allow a Northern Hemisphere venue in February, other than Valencia, in contradiction to the New York Court order (below). What is Alinghi’s position?

We are confident that the NY Court order of 12 May 2008 allows for a Northern Hemisphere venue in February other than Valencia. Excerpt from 12 May Court order: “[…] ORDERED that the location of the match shall be in Valencia, Spain or any other location selected by SNG, provided SNG notify GGYC in writing not less than six months in advance of the date set for the first challenge match race of the location it has selected for the challenge match races; and it is further […]”

What is the alternative if the court decides against SNG’s choice of a Northern Hemisphere venue other than Valencia?
As ever we will accept the NY Court’s order just as we follow the provisions of the Deed of Gift and will look for an acceptable alternative.

What other venues did you study?
Quite a few including Valencia.

Does the SNG still consider Valencia for a future America’s Cup?
Should SNG and Alinghi successfully defend the Cup in 2010, we will then look into all options. Nothing is decided at this stage; everything is open.

When will Alinghi move to the Venue?
Alinghi will move to the Venue towards the end of 2009.

Are there any special links between Ras al-Khaimah and Switzerland?
There is interest from both countries to collaborate in a number of business and academic projects. Just a couple of examples that are also close to Alinghi: the École Polytéchnique Fédérale de Lausanne is working on a new university project in Ras al-Khaimah and also Bertrand Cardis, who runs Décision, has a boatyard investment in the area. -
Photo credit: Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi