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16 September 2004, 06:33 am
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America's Cup Act One
Marseille

Assessment after the violent storm that hit the J-4 pier in Marseille, France in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The storm toppled three America's Cup Class boats from their cradles, and since team members, the event organisers, accident investigators and insurance adjusters have been assessing the damage and confirming plans for Acts 2 and 3 of the America's Cup in Valencia.

On Monday morning USA-76 belonging to BMW ORACLE and SUI-64 from Team Alinghi were lifted from the ground by crane and placed again on their cradles. Emirates Team New Zealand's NZL-82 will be lifted Monday afternoon. It is only now, with the boats stable again on their cradles that a full damage assessment can begin.

What is certain is that Acts 2 and 3 will begin on time, in Valencia.

The 32nd America's Cup started with a fantastic opening Act last week in Marseille, said Michel Bonnefous, the CEO of the AC Management, the event organisers. Right now we are working with the teams to ensure the same thing happens with the Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts beginning on October 5th.

For BMW ORACLE, their current plan is to race their second boat, USA-71, in Valencia.

Our other 2003-generation yacht, USA 71, is in Valencia and can be ready in time, said skipper and team CEO Chris DICKSON. We have two weeks of work to make 71 race-ready, but we will be on the starting line on 5 October. We've come to Europe to go racing. Marseille Louis Vuitton Act 1 was a fantastic regatta, and we are determined to move forward and to be as competitive as possible in Acts 2 and 3 in Valencia.

Alinghi will also race in Valencia in October. At the moment our preferred option is to look at repairing SUI-64 over the next couple of weeks, said Grant Simmer, the co-Managing Director of Alinghi. We'll make that decision once we're in the shed in Valencia. The other boat hasn't sailed since Auckland...and there are several issues relating to using that boat... But one way or another we'll be there on the starting line in Valencia.

The situation is more complicated for Emirates Team New Zealand. After an initial assessment, their NZL-82 appears to be damaged too much for a repair to be carried out in time for the Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts. But the team is currently making every effort to find a way to bring its other race boat, NZL-81, to Valencia in time to race. In this scenario, the boat would be flown as cargo from Auckland to Valencia.

In addition to the six teams that raced in Marseille, two Italian teams will join the fleet in Valencia, the Luna Rossa Challenge, and +39. Racing in the Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 2 is scheduled to begin on the 5 October.
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