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28 March 2007, 09:26 am
A Lumpy Day's Practice
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America's Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

With just a few days to go until Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 13 begins nearly all the teams were out on a rough Mediterraean Sea on Tuesday, cramming in a last few vital hours of practice before the serious stuff begins in Spain next week.
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With an onshore breeze of 12-14 knots and a surprisingly lumpy sea, there were 16 boats out on the water, either two-boat speed testing or doing battle in practice starts. Furthest out to sea were the big teams such as Emirates Team New Zealand, BMW ORACLE and Luna Rossa, sailing as far away from prying eyes as possible.

Closer into shore, some of the smaller teams were engaged in 'friendly races'; Desafío Español against Victory Challenge, the German team against +39 Challenge, and Shosholoza appeared to be sailing with Areva.

Guessing Game

It would be tempting to draw conclusions from watching the practice racing, but it is a fool's game. The teams are often testing new equipment, trying out new crew, or working to get their settings right for new conditions. The results are often less meaningful than the process and the debrief at the end of the day.

For example, +39 won the pin end of the line with United Internet Team Germany splitting to the right. When they came back together, +39 appeared to be comfortably ahead. Does it mean anything? Who knows? It is fun to speculate but we are not going to know anything until Alinghi and the 11 challengers start racing in anger a week from today.

The America's Cup Match and Challenger/Defender Series are designated as ISAF Special Events. For more information on the America's Cup, the Louis Vuttion Acts and the teams competing, visit the official America's Cup website - www.americascup.com. For a complete list of all the news about the America's Cup 2007 CLICK HERE.
Andy Rice (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Emirates were one of the teams practising in Valencia on Tuesday:© Chris Cameron/ETNZ
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