'We want to win and finish the year on a good note,' said Brad BUTTERWORTH (NZL), the tactician on Alinghi, as he looked forward to the final races of the season. 'I enjoy the fleet racing; I think it's a great add-on. It's not easy to lead around the mark in this fleet. I love it.'
The fleet racing regatta is a change of pace from the match racing Act which concluded earlier this week. With five races over three days, the winner of the fleet racing event will be the team which consistently produces good results in each race. There is no need to win all of the races, but to finish near the top of the fleet in each contest. In the two previous fleet racing events, both Luna Rossa (in Valencia, Spain) and Alinghi (in Malmö, Sweden) won the regatta with just one race win.
It's been a race to get ready for the fleet racing for Team Shosholoza (RSA), which touched the bottom on the tow in from the race course on Tuesday.
'All's gone according to plan and we're ready to race,' said Tim KRÖGER (GER), one of the most experienced sailors on the team. 'There was no structural damage, just a lot of scratches on the bulb. We've changed some keel bolts to be extra safe, but we're ready to go and looking forward to racing.'
The organizers of the 32nd America's Cup have also released the provisional dates and format for the 2006 season. All racing will be on the waters off Valencia, the host city of the 32nd America's Cup.
The 2006 racing programme consists of three Louis Vuitton Acts. Racing is scheduled to begin with Louis Vuitton Act 10, a six day match racing regatta on 11 May. This will follow the same round robin format of the events this year. It will be followed immediately with a three day fleet racing event, Act 11, from 19-21 of May.
The racing season will conclude with the Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 12, a match racing regatta that includes a round robin, semi final, and final. Racing in Act 12 is scheduled to start on 22 June, concluding on 2 July.