Wednesday, 4 July 2007

33rd America's Cup - Start Your Engines

To accompany this blog's increased coverage of all things America's Cup, we thought we'd stare a while at the Confused + Emotional crystal ball.

With the 32nd America's Cup safely back in the hands of Swiss team Alinghi, our thoughts turn inevitably to the next series, the 33rd.

Alinghi have already let it be known that if successful in their defence, they'd like to see the next series run in 2009 - one factor possibly being the sooner the cup, the less time given to challengers to prepare themselves. We therefore predict:

When: 2009

The programme will kick off just as soon as another existing or as yet unknown team challenges Alinghi to defend it's title - which we expect to happen as early as July 8th 2007. Now this isn't a simple process of doorstepping the team captain and making a wager - it's the subject of much heated debate and politics. Currently in the running are Desafio Espanol, the Spanish team recently spied in intense negotiations with Alinghi's key legal team (see image above); TeamOrigin, the newly formed British bid for the next two competitions who would love to make a big splash; and an as yet unnamed team out of Dubai, whose financial backing would undoubtedly help grease the wheels somewhat. Many of the teams won't be in a position to go official until late September/early October, the time at which most team's contracts are up and personnel can be seen to officially 'jump ship'. We currently think that efforts to establish a Valencia-based yacht club to sail as representatives of places the Spanish at the head. We therefore predict:

Official Challenger: Desafio Espanol

We presently don't see many teams dropping out from the 32nd challenge; there might possibly be fewer representatives of Italy, but otherwise we suspect that the field will only grow, the fore-mentioned British and UAE teams as likely additions.

Having chosen Valencia for the location of the land-locked Swiss defence, and the massive amount of investment and development involved, we think it unlikely that Alinghi will look elsewhere next time around. We therefore predict:

Where: Valencia, Spain

Word also reaches us that we shouldn't be too surprised if there's a strong correlation between the pre match regattas and Acts and the programme of F1 races around the world.

There you have it - we went and stuck our neck out - and we just know how wrong we're likely to be... No matter, we'll be on hand to right the wrongs and bring all the developments as they happen.

In the meantime, enjoy the links to Cup Teams and informative sites and blogs, and check back for more news soon.

Inset image: Photo © Tom Ehman / BMW Oracle

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