Cup dreams sailing away

SPAIN looks set to rain on the Fraser Coast’s parade.

Queensland’s chances of hosting next year’s America’s Cup nose-dived yesterday after defending champion Alinghi indicated it was ready to run the race in the Spanish port of Valencia in February.

Earlier this week Hervey Bay, along with Townsville and Airlie Beach, emerged as a contender to host the race, which has been the subject of a bitter two-year legal battle between Swiss team Alinghi and US rival Oracle over the venue.

In a letter to New York Supreme Court Justice Shirely Kornreich yesterday, Alinghi’s yacht club – Societe Nautique de Geneve – said talks to resolve its fight with San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club had broken down.

Valencia was the preferred venue of Oracle.

Justice Kornreich previously rejected Alinghi’s first choice, a Gulf venue near Iran, due to security concerns.

Meanwhile, veteran Australian yachtsmen John Bertrand says any decision to sail the Cup in Spain would be a “crapshoot”.

Bertrand, who skippered Australia II to victory over the New York Yacht Club in 1983, said he was disappointed Queensland had missed out on hosting duties.

He said the state’s sites offered better sailing conditions.

“Valencia will be problematic and the wind is very light and variable at that time of year,” he said.

“It would make the racing very much like a roll of the dice.

“It’s a crapshoot, light variable and very difficult conditions.

“It really surprises me.”

Bertrand said Australia could have easily hosted the event.

“The conditions would have been ideal,” he said.

The Chronicle understands that Alinghi’s preferred venue remains Queensland but that the team views reaching a compromise with Oracle as a higher priority.



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