The official announcement of Valencia as the host city of the America's Cup was followed by a flurry of activity by the organizers and future participants as they look forward the event.
The major step was the release of the new ACC (America's Cup Class) Rule. This was done on schedule on 15 December. It was written by representatives of the Defender - The Societe Nautique de Geneve -, the Challenger of Record - The Golden Gate Yacht Club -, and coordinated by the 32nd America's Cup' organizing authority, AC Management. Version 5 of the class rules has many modifications both to respond to the local conditions expected in Valencia in 2007, and to more accurately reflect the current design practices. There are also attempts to make the boats more exciting to watch.
Phil KAIKO, Principle Designer summed up the changes: "Generally, there has been an attempt to tighten up on the design and construction aspects of hulls and appendages and to open up the design of rigs and sails".
Thierry PEPONNET, Helmsman believes that : "upwind, it won't change that much... One ton less in the total weight will be balanced by a deeper draft of 10cm. But downwind, the boats gain and additional 8% of power!"
Perhaps one of the more surprising changes was that the boats will have an additional crew on board, bringing the total sailors to 17. The crew weight has been increased to an average of 95kg per person! Peponnet reflected on this. "It won't be easy for the smallest ones to find their place on board; One guideline we will all have to follow is: work hard at the gym!"
There is a clarification surrounding the 18th man (used to be the 17th man). You have to carry the guest or now carry lead weights instead. This is good for sponsors. In the past if the winds were very light, teams often had to make the hard decision to not have the " guest " on board in case the extra weight would make them heavier and then slower. Now it is all even.
Speaking on the progress of the rule, Team Manager Dawn RILEY, noted: " The new rule is focusing on the development of the class into sails and rigs: as an example, the inflatable battens and battens in the headsails are now allowed. This has been adapted from traditionally strong French sailing classes like Open 60's and multihulls. This bodes well for K-Challenge."