Some sore heads in the Kiwi camp this morning (thanks by the way to local SailJuice fan ‘Anonymous’ for his comment on yesterday’s piece, seems like the Kiwi camp partied long and hard last night!).
Such was the release of pressure yesterday in the Kiwi team as the champagne corks started popping, it was almost as though they’d won the America’s Cup itself. One of the senior management team commented at the team barbecue last night that they’d done the job they came here to do. What? Surely the job is only half done?
Yes, the Kiwis had a right to party after winning the Louis Vuitton, but the real job has yet to begin. Hopefully a gap of two and a half weeks before the America’s Cup is enough to reset Kiwi ambitions for the Cup, and put victory in the Louis Vuitton Cup into perspective.
Meanwhile, the Kiwis must be beginning to wonder if they’ve got any fans in the world outside of the North and South Islands. A couple of days ago Desafio Espanol went out training with Alinghi. Let’s not forget that the Spanish have given the Kiwis their toughest challenge to date, holding them to 5-2 in the Semi Finals, with a boat – ESP 97 - that some pundits believe is the fastest design of any challenger team.
Today the vanquished Luna Rossa team put out this announcement: “Being the only semi-finalist still working here in Valencia to not have raced against Alinghi, after they raced Emirates Team New Zealand two days before the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals and also against the Spanish Team during the Finals, Luna Rossa will race the America's Cup defender Alinghi tomorrow.”
It is not in Patrizio Bertelli’s commercial interest to see the America’s Cup head south, nor is it in Desafio Espanol’s. There is a fear that if Emirates Team New Zealand win the Cup, that they will take the event back to the dark ages, to a corner of the world that offers nothing like the same commercial opportunities that Europe has opened up, and to re-establish strict nationality rules that would benefit the Kiwis more than anyone.
The Kiwis have as yet been tight-lipped on what plans they have for the Cup should they manage to wrest it away from the Swiss, so it might be unfair to suggest this is where they would take the event. But that is certainly the fear, and is the reason why the likes of Spain and Italy are breaking one of the unwritten rules of the America’s Cup in agreeing to tune up against the Defender.