Monday, October 22, 2007

So We've Been to Court

But we haven't been to court and back.

Interesting that BMW Oracle Racing would imagine that they could put their team-colors 40-footers through their paces off the San Francisco cityfront and no one would notice.

Russell Coutts was "in town for meetings" according to a source inside the team, "and it's hard to keep Russell off the water."

The presence of James Spithill was neither confirmed nor denied, but he was undeniably there on the water, sailing out of the Golden Gate Yacht Club. A friend of mine who sailed with a different team in Valencia tells me that Spithill has signed with BMW Oracle—his former ride, Luna Rossa, is not coming back for the next round, remember—so we may have to add a Spithill-Oracle alliance to the long-rumored, eventually-announced Coutts-Oracle alliance as one of the worst kept secrets of 2007. It will give armchair analysts plenty to work on as they try to figure how the boys might divvy up responsibilities under a single roof. I was told that John Kostecki was also part of the sailing, but didn't see him myself. I was busy yachting thisaway and thataway on a 1946 sloop named Kate II, a past Swiftsure winner recently brought to San Francisco from Puget Sound and slated for a complete restoration. She's a beauty already, and don't worry, friends in the Pacific Northwest, she will be treated like the lady she is.

From the Department of Useless Factoids:

1) BMW Oracle Racing was 91 minutes ahead of Alinghi in releasing a brief reaction to the day in court, which consisted of arguments from each side and then a statement by the judge that he intended to render a judgment quickly, probably in a matter of weeks.

2) The reactions of each side were similar.
BMW Oracle Racing headlined:
GGYC welcomes prospect of speedy court decision
Alinghi headlined:
Alinghi welcomes prompt resolution

Click on the links above to see the full text of each statement plus so much more as you enter the wonderful world of valid versus invalid challengers of record.

Or just have a gander at a few of the examples from our local fleet of classics sailing the Jessica Cup regatta. As my fellow crew, Joe Horn, pointed out with a certain sense of wonder, "They all have new sails."

And hedging on just a few, it was true. Here we have a Farallon Clipper and a Lion sloop, each looking rather pristine . . .

Shh. Don't tell anybody, but Alpha (foreground) is aluminum . . .

And here's a variety pack . . .

The schooner Yankee, 101 years young but, no, not one of the new-sails gang . . .

Point of view, Kate II . . .

And here is the schooner Santana. The sail fabric is manufactured in tan; that's not an effect of age . . .

In another time, rigged as a yawl, Santana belonged to Humphrey Bogart, who sailed the pants off this boat, spent a lot of weekends at Catalina and won a lot of races on the Southern California circuit. As you see, she has fallen into good hands again. I would have cropped more from the left but decided to leave you with the additionally useless quiz item: What softward mogul who backs America's Cup teams has a house at the top of yon hill? Yes, I'll accept "duh" for an answer—Kimball