One City: Two Holy Grails

Valencia, MaxZ86 News, ISAF Suspension

ONE CITY: TWO HOLY GRAILS **Unless you spent your Thanksgiving holiday climbing a remote mountaintop, spelunking deep underground, or in a turkey-induced torpor, you heard that Valencia, Spain will be the home of the next America's Cup. The Louis Vuitton Cup is set to start in April 2007, followed by the 32nd America's Cup, starting June 23, 2007.Time to get your bearings. Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, is close by the Mediterranean situated at 39 degrees, 26 minutes North, 18 minutes West, roughly parallel to Atlantic City, N.J., in latitude. This area of Spain is called the Costa del Azahar (the Orange Blossom Coast), for the groves of orange trees that grow on the coastal plain. Thanks to a warm Mediterranean, the climate is pleasant and described as spring-like, with mild winters, and an annual mean temperature of 63 degrees. The big weather worry for sailors is the Levante gale, which can occur during the spring and fall, and blows hard (up to Force 10) out of the east to northeast for as long as a week at a time. Pilot information for the area also reveals that there's a south-flowing current running at about 1 to 2 knots, but that a Levante could increase the current to as high as 4 knots. The tide is minimal.Valencia is an ancient city. Thanks to its climate and location on the Med, Valencia has been settled and conquered by many different civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Goths, and the Moors. The America's Cup isn't the only priceless ewer that's come to Valencia; the Holy Grail sits in the Sala Capitular of the city's Gothic cathedral where it's been since 1437. More recently, Valencia was the seat of the Republican (Socialist, supported by the Soviet Union) government of Spain during the Spanish Civil war in the 1930s. Valencia has since become one of the more popular tourist destinations in Europe, and as a result, is already well equipped to handle tourists in large numbers.Take a look at any good atlas or the very good East Spain Pilot-written by Robin Brandon and published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson-and you'll quickly realize that the Cup infrastructure will be located in Puerto de Valencia, a major commercial port located on the outskirts of the city of Valencia. Although once predominantly an industrial area, the port has recently begun turning itself into a more tourist-friendly place, with a project already in full swing to convert the waterfront to a Balcon al Mar-Balcony on the Sea. Plans specific to the Cup include a 240-foot-wide canal to allow the Cup boats direct access to the sea from the port-probably to avoid the considerable commercial traffic in the main part of the harbor. Plans call for as many as 15 syndicate compounds to be housed in Puerto de Valencia, which will require not a little time and effort to construct. Don't expect any teams to leap into residence any time soon; the Cup Village won't be ready for tenants until the fall of 2004 at the earliest, with a projected completion date of 2005 for the entire project. For more on Valencia, see's springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, and like salmon heading upstream, sailors are headed for the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean. Jean Luc Van Den Heede is making a run at the east-to-west circumnavigation record in his 83-foot aluminum monohull, Adrien. Sailing around the world East-to-West is a good way to drive yourself insane, as it's a route that's predominantly against the prevailing breeze. Imagine a 14,000-mile upwind leg. VDH, as he's called, has tried to break this record before and been foiled by a dropped rig. As of today, he's 4 and 1/2 days ahead of the record and just south of Brazil. The record is 151d:19h:54m, held by Philippe Monet. Anyone who's ever experienced slatting offshore in even a slight seaway will appreciate VDH's logbook entry from late last week. "On Friday afternoon, I experienced what was really my first time being becalmed in heavy seas, which were due to the 30-knot wind from the night before. The rigging took such a pounding with the mainsail banging violently around from one side to the other that I brought it in and waited for it to pass." Check in with VDH's progress at NEWSRoy Disney may be causing a ruckus in the world of Disney these days (, but that's not stopping him from moving forward on his latest Pyewacket, a Reichel-Pugh designed MaxZ86. Pyewacket's crew will be heading down to New Zealand at the end of this week for some practice on the new ride, which has just been launched. Too fast for the Sydney Hobart, both Pyewacket and running mate Morning Glory, also a R/P design, will sit that race out, but are headed for the Caribbean this winter. Don't be surprised to see both canting-keelers in Newport next summer, as both Disney and the owner of Morning Glory, Hasso Plattner, have been lobbying the Bermuda Race committee hard for inclusion in the Newport Bermuda race in June. The first of the MaxZ86's, Bob McNeill's Zephyrus V, will likely be seen on the Great Lakes this summer in Windquest livery. **OUCHFrom the ISAF website, a result of an infringement of Racing Rule of Sailing 69-Gross Misconduct-the ISAF Eligibility of four sailors has been suspended with immediate effect. The following four sailors are suspended from competition as detailed in Regulation 19.3, until the dates specified:Juan Majdalani (ARG) - until 5 May 2008 Daniel Luza (ARG) - until 5 May 2005 Ignacio Luza (ARG) - until 5 May 2005 Juan Dato Montero (ARG) - until 5 May 2005 The above sailors are not permitted to participate in the events as detailed in the ISAF Eligibility Code, Regulation 19.3CAN'T GET ENOUGHTen of the Open 60 monohulls that recently completed the Jacques Vabre Transatlantic race started a race from Brazil to Rochelle, France, last Sunday. Titled Le Defi Atlantique, the 4,100-mile race is a great opportunity for solo skippers intending to race in the Vendee Globe in 2004 to evaluate themselves, their boats, and the competition. Brit Mike Golding, sailing his IMOCA 60 Ecover is currently in first place. This race should really start to get interesting when the racers leave the doldrums north of the Equator behind and head into a wintery North Atlantic. Prix Sailor is compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you'd like to subscribe, see Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger (, Dave Reed (, Stuart Streuli (, John Burnham (