Eleven challengers begin battling for the Louis Vuitton Cup this year. The winner will have earned the right to fight Alinghi for the America's Cup beginning 23 June.
The occasion has been marked in spectacular fashion today in Port America's Cup, with 32 skydivers tumbling from the sky in a '-100' formation. Another group of parachutists trailed a 32nd America's Cup flag emblazoned with 'D-100'. All landed safely in the middle of the AC Park, the main public area of the venue, where the two trophies - the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup - were on display.
The 32nd America's Cup has featured racing in 12 Louis Vuitton Acts beginning in 2004. But this year, the ultimate season of racing begins. The final Act, featuring all 12 teams begins on 3 April, preceding the start of the decisive Louis Vuitton Cup on 16 April.
'I remember what it was like in 2002, just before the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup, when I was with Alinghi,' said Michel BONNEFOUS, the CEO of the organizing body for the event. 'Today, all 12 teams are feeling a heightened sense of expectation, of pressure and of tension. The years of hard work have been converted into skill and ability beyond what they could have imagined at the start of their campaigns. Their confidence is high and they want to prove what they can do. Beginning 3 April, they'll have that opportunity and over the course of the Louis Vuitton Cup, a champion will emerge.'
The AC Park
Following the 'D-100' celebration, attention turned to the AC Park, which has expanded each season to accommodate the growing events. This year, the AC Park is bigger and better than ever, with over 22 restaurants, bars and cafés, along with dozens of animations, exhibitions, concerts and entertainment activities. An entirely new development, on the South side of the Port America's Cup is open this year.
'The AC Park is the heart of the 32nd America's Cup,' said Paco LATORRE, Communications Director for the event. 'This is where the public can come and see how Valencia has embraced the America's Cup and the sea. The Port America's Cup has changed the city and there is something here of interest for everyone.'
The AC Park is already open, with several restaurants, bars, and exhibitions. Entrance is free. All of the animations, activities, restaurants, bars, and cafés will be running by 1 April, which is 'unveiling day' for the teams, who have to show the two boats they will use over the next three months of competition.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.