After the June Acts, the teams packed up in Valencia and the entire America's Cup 'family' was shipped to Sweden. With over 2,000 tonnes of equipment, including 86 RIBs and support boats, 70 shipping containers, 13 America's Cup Class boats, and over 20 masts, taking up 30,000 cubic metres, this was not a simple show to take on the road.
In Malmö-Skåne, Sweden, the teams enjoyed the atmosphere of a 'syndicate row' where all twelve teams shared a small compound space. Bases were defined by shipping containers and tents, with the teams sharing cranes for lift-in. Friendships were made and renewed and the feel of a smaller, more intimate event breathed fresh air into the Cup.
After Malmö it was a race to come to Sicily, Italy. With just one month between events, and 2,800 nautical miles separating the venues, the logistical exercise was immense. But as soon as the set up was complete, it was clear that the Trapani Louis Vuitton Acts would be a jewel, and mark an incredible end to the 2005 season.
Put simply, the enthusiasm and response in Italy to the 32nd America's Cup was overwhelming. Nearly 500,000 people poured into the America's Cup Park, including visitor number 1,000,000 to the Louis Vuitton Acts. Hundreds of spectator boats crowded the race course, and the teams responded in kind with some incredible racing. Act 8, the match racing event, concluded with the top four teams equal on points atop the leaderboard. One race was decided by just three seconds.
When it appeared nothing could top that, the fleet racing went down to the final race. The final race would not be decided until the last run. And the photo finish featured two boats crossing the finishing line at the same time! It was a wonderful sports event, but more than that, the Trapani Louis Vuitton Acts were proof positive that a new era has dawned in the America's Cup, and millions are enjoying the ride.
On the water, several story lines jostled for our attention over the year, as new teams came to the fore in each event. In the opening races in Valencia, it was Sweden's Victory Challenge, a new challenger with just 25 people on the payroll, who vaulted into fifth place. In Malmö-Skåne, the Swedes fell back, but the Italians +39 Challenge and the Spanish Desafío Español pushed forward. And in Trapani, Shosholoza, the fledgling team from South Africa, stunned the America's Cup world with a fifth place finish in Act 9 - an incredible achievement by an inspiring team.
Through it all, at the top of the table, the American BMW ORACLE Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, and Italian Luna Rossa were always pushing towards the front, but never quite arriving.
Indeed, heading into the final Louis Vuitton Acts of the season in Trapani, only one element seemed to be constant through the year - the supremacy of the Swiss Defender Alinghi. The Swiss won every match race in Valencia, and followed that up with a sweep in Malmö as well. Through the first five days in Trapani, they won every race they sailed. Heading in to the final day, Alinghi had piled up 31 consecutive victories.
And then they met the French K-Challenge. In Trapani it was the French team's turn to shine, and so they did. Thierry PEPONNET's (FRA) crew sailed a flawless race, stunning the Defender, and ending the streak. BMW ORACLE Racing piled on in the last match of the day, beating Alinghi and pulling them back into the heart of the leaderboard, where the top four teams, the 'big four' as they have been dubbed the media, all finished the Act equal on nine points.
But luck was still with the Swiss, as Alinghi popped out on top of the tie break, ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa, and BMW ORACLE Racing. Alinghi would hit the double again in the fleet races, winning Act 9 on the tie break, and dominating the season with wins in five of six Louis Vuitton Acts.
For the next twelve weeks, the America Cup will be examining the performance of each of the twelve teams, beginning this week with China Team and working their way up the 2005 America's Cup Class Season Championship. They will look at how the teams performed this year, and look at their prospects for the future.
The following table shows the collated wins by each team in head-to-head competition. The final column shows the total amount of races won by each team during the three Match Race acts of the 2005 season.
|© ACM 2005|
The following table lists all the teams' final standings in the 15 fleet races of the 2005 season. The final column shows the average standing of each team throughout the year. Note on the average score: teams that were disqualified (DSQ), did not start (DNS) or did not finish (DNF) a race are classified as finishing last in the race in which it occurred, and are hence counted as a twelfth place.
|© ACM 2005|
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