At a ceremony held in Geneva today, AC management have announced that the venue for the XXXII America's Cup will be Valencia in Eastern Spain.
Winning from a shortlist of four, which included, Naples, Lisbon and Marseille, the Spanish city will play host to the oldest sporting trophy in history, defended for the first time in it's 152 year history, on the continent of Europe.
Jose SALINAS, Chairman of Valencia's bidding consortium, was clearly delighted at the news. "The project had the backing of the whole state, the government, and the King. We are extremely happy.
Both for Valencia and Spain this is a huge honour to be chosen as the host and it makes us very proud. Now we have to stand up to this difficult task, we have to deliver the best America's Cup in history, for competitors, for participants and for the public at large. We will try to do it with our best efforts and I think this is a big step forward for Valencia and for Spain.
There will be some facilities available for the teams that want to be here [Valencia] for the pre regatta starting in Autumn 2004. Things will then progress smoothly from there and what we call the stadium, village and bases will be ready for the final preliminary regattas in spring 2006."
The Louis Vuitton Cup challenger races will begin in April 2007, followed by the XXXII America's Cup Match. The first race is scheduled for the 23 of June, 2007.
The Commodore of the Societe Nautique de Geneve, Pierre Yves-Firmenich, in announcing the venue this morning, also confirmed that Louis Vuitton will be continuing their 20 year partnership with the high profile event and will be the principle partner.
Having supported the challenger series for the last 20 years, Louis Vuitton have upped their support of the cup and are now principle sponsors of the whole event, a decision that company president Yves CARCELLE explained. Next year sees the 150th anniversary of Louis Vuitton," he said.
"We're nearly twins. The cup was born in 1851 and Louis Vuitton born in 1854. So to be sponsors of the 32nd America's Cup is the best birthday present we could have expected."
Michel BONNEFOUS, Chief Executive of AC management, presented some of the thinking behind the final decision of choosing Valencia over the three other, very strong, shortlisted venues. "One of the aspects was to consider the worst case scenario for the weather. In Auckland we were looking at a possible 15 days lost to the weather, in Valencia the worst case scenario suggests just one day. This means that in Valencia we can more or less guarantee to sail which is obviously good for the racing and the television coverage."
l to r - Pierre YVES-FIMENECH, Jose SALINAS, Michel BONNEFOUS, Ernesto BERTARELLI, Yves CARCELLE. © Carlo Borlenghi
The whole event is set to receive a massive facelift from 2003, with racing being timed as opposed to the more traditional distance set, and with the proposed sailing location next door to the America's Cup Village site, things are looking good for the XXXII America's Cup.
The new class rules will be released tomorrow in the host city, and for the 15 challenger syndicates who were present in Geneva, and who are to be flown to Valencia this evening, the time line, format, and changes to the event will all become clearer over the next 24 hours.