Desafio Espanol

Tim Jeffery talks to Luis Doreste
Alinghi: the home team? Not according to the Desafio Espanol who are the Spanish team, competing in their own country. Try explaining this finer point to the non-sailing public that Alinghi are the Cup holders from Switzerland who are hosting the next America^s Cup in Valencia because Spain's third city won a bidding war against the likes of Lisbon, Marseilles, Naples and, dare you mention them, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca. This is what the Spanish team have to do, saying that they are just one of 11 challengers and have to fight for the right to sail in 32nd America^s Cup against Alinghi. "Alinghi try and say they are the local team but I think the Spanish public see us as the home team. They support us," says Luis Doreste, Double Olympic Gold medallist and sporting director of Desafio Espanol. ¨Alinghi only sail at the end but the public have to support us through the Louis Vuitton Cup," continues Doreste. ¨They are two different competitions and the public has to understand this. In Spain, there is not the knowledge about the Cup. Sailing is not a very popular sport and so they don't see the difference between the Louis Vuitton and the America's Cup. To them it is all the America^s Cup." Not for nothing is the Spanish base one of the bigger ones in Valencia even though the team's budget is a mid-pack 55 million Euros. Lead sponsor, Iberdola, is a power generator pressing its green credentials with wind power. Hence the lime green branding of the America's Cup boats. An old hull ESP 51 is touring Barcelona, Malaga, Madrid and Valencia to spread the word. A grinding game is tied into Boat Show visits. Some 60-70 schools in the Valencian Community are visiting the team base while Desafio Espanol is building its television