After a certain amount of confusion, the official venue for the 2010 America’s Cup has been announced and it’s not one that even the most imaginative journalist would have predicted.
Ras Al Khaimah lies about 100 kilometres east of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, so enjoys the same climate but has yet to witness the type of intensive development experienced by the latter emirate. It is, in the view of many people, an unusual choice for an event that places so many infrastructural demands on the host area.
One Doubting Thomas is BMW Oracle’s CEO, Russell Coutts, who has vocally supported Valencia as the most suitable venue of the 33rd America’s Cup. In an interview with the Valencia Sailing blog he appeared to question Ras Al Khaimah’s suitability, but admitted that he was so keen that the race should take place with no further delay that he was loath to register any legal challenge to its adoption.
He stated, “We don’t have experience in Ras Al Khaimah so we will send a team of people there to see what the venue is like,” although an earlier communication alleged that Team Alinghi’s choice of venue subverts the spirit of the all-important Deed of Gift, which has dictated the rules of the race since the mid-nineteenth century.
By the time the race takes place next year, Teams Alinghi and BMW Oracle will have battled as fiercely in the courtrooms as they have on the sea.
In the meantime there will be many disappointed valencianos, who were hoping to welcome the America’s Cup teams and spectators to their historic city.
However, given the massive success of 2007’s Valencia-based event it’s certain that, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, it will be back.