In addition, the Port America's Cup is now filled with team bases and Superyachts. The atmosphere we normally associate with the America's Cup Match is building, two full years before the event.
The twelve skippers of the teams of the 32nd America's Cup met the media yesterday morning ahead of the start of racing in the Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts.
The twelve competitors at the America's Cup represent a full spectrum in terms of nationality, experience, and preparedness, including five new challengers since the end of the 2004 racing season. The addition of the China Team and United Internet Team Germany add two countries which have never competed in the America's Cup before. In fact, the twelve teams from ten nations make for the most diverse list of competitors in the long history of the Cup.
The Defender of the 32nd America's Cup, Alinghi (SUI), is competing in each of the Louis Vuitton Acts ahead of the America's Cup Match in 2007. This is a new development in the America's Cup and offers both the challengers and the Defender a sense of how far and fast the other is progressing.
'We see this as an opportunity, as I'm sure it is for these teams as well, to square up against us,' said Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), the helmsman of Alinghi. 'I think it is good for both parties. We at Alinghi are really happy. We get to measure our progress and keep our team sharp. And I'm sure these other teams will gain something from it, but that's what sailing's all about...taking what you've got and learning to do the best with it.'
Following the press conference, some of the teams headed out for some final training and preparation. For South Africa's Team Shosholoza, Wednesday was the last opportunity to take RSA 83 out for its maiden sail before racing. The team has been battling to work out some kinks with the mast of its new design, and was scheduled to sail the boat for the first time yesterday.
'We are hoping to have our first sail this afternoon,' confirmed skipper Geoff MEEK (RSA). 'We have had a few hiccups. We have had to buy a secondhand rig and put it on the boat and hopefully we will sail today. We are trying to keep the boat in one piece for this regatta while trying to race it...We know we have heaps to learn and we are out to learn as much as we can all the time.'
While racing begins tomorrow, this evening the teams will bring the spirit of the America's Cup to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in the centre of Valencia, as all the competitors of the 32nd America's Cup will gather together to meet the public. The ceremony will include a presentation of each team in turn, and be followed by a fireworks spectacle.
The pairings list was also published on Wednesday morning, and offers an intriguing all-Italian match-up in the first Flight, when the Luna Rossa Challenge meets Mascalzone Latino - Team Capitalia.
Other highlights on the day are the first matches for the local Desafío Español 2007 team, which did not race last year, but is competing on home waters Thursday, as well as the first ever America's Cup racing for German and Chinese teams.
America's Cup 2007 Teams
(Challengers in order of acceptance)
Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts 4 & 5
Line ups for the first two flights
Match 1: Emirates Team New Zealand vs. K-Challenge
Match 2: Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team
Match 3: Desafío Español 2007 vs. United Internet Team Germany
Match 4: Victory Challenge vs. BMW ORACLE Racing
Match 5: +39 Challenge vs. Team Shosholoza
Match 6: Alinghi vs. China Team
Match 1: Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
Match 2: United Internet Team Germany vs. K-Challenge
Match 3: Desafío Español 2007 vs. Luna Rossa Challenge
Match 4: Victory Challenge vs. +39 Challenge
Match 5: Team Shosholoza vs. Alinghi
Match 6: BMW ORACLE Racing vs. China Team