A bright blue sky, and a strong, warm wind greeted the America's Cup family on its first full day in Valencia, the site of the XXXII America's Cup. It was a day for work, after the celebrations of the night before.
The previous evening, Valencia Mayor Rita Barberá personally welcomed the America's Cup to the Spanish city, along with a large and enthusiastic crowd who had gathered at the airport to celebrate the occasion.
Valencia had been revealed as the Host City for the XXXII America's Cup earlier on Wednesday at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland. Immediately after the announcement in Geneva, the America's Cup, along with a 100 strong delegation of the extended Cup family - potential challengers, dignitaries, journalists and officials - departed for Valencia on a private charter flight.
Mayor Barberá was at the airport to extend her welcome and escort the America's Cup to a reception at the Valencia City Hall. Crowds lined the road as a convoy of coaches with a police escort worked its way through the streets of the city. Upon arrival, Barberá displayed the Cup from the City Hall balcony, to the delight of the large crowd below. The evening concluded with a 30-minute fireworks display, that lit up the entire Valencian night sky.
Work resumed on Thursday morning with a Challengers meeting, where representatives from 14 prospective challenging syndicates, along with the Defender, Team Alinghi, were briefed on plans for the 32nd America's Cup.
Michel BONNEFOUS, CEO of AC Management, along with other members of the organising authority, passed much important information to the teams that will be competing in the XXXII America's Cup, information that until Valencia had been announced as the Host City was not possible to substantiate on. Included in this briefing was the outline schedule for the new pre-regatta programme, and details about when operational bases will become available.
Official business concluded with a press conference held at the Palacio de Congresos conference centre where Michel BONNEFOUS welcomed ENDESA, the Spanish utility company, as an official partner to the 32nd America's Cup. ENDESA joins Louis Vuitton, the principal partner, in supporting the 32nd America's Cup.
Antonio TORVA, the director of coordination for communications for ENDESA, said his company would leverage its participation in the 32nd America's Cup to increase its presence as a leader in the Spanish electricity sector. ENDESA also has interests in telecommunications services and other, complementary energy utilities.
Mayor Barberá then thanked the people of Valencia for welcoming the Cup with such enthusiasm and explained how Valencia would see developments and major investments in the marine, transport, construction, restaurant, tourism and leisure industries.
"We are now embarking on the next stage towards creating the infrastructure to make Valencia the best Host City in all the history of the America's Cup,"
Plans announced today will see the Port of Valencia upgraded and renewed, with a canal connecting the Port directly to the sea, giving the America's Cup boats quick access to the race course. A metro line from the airport to the Port, and a number of new hotels and services are also planned.
The America's Cup will remain in the Valencia until Monday, on display in the City Hall, enabling the people of this Mediterranean city to get acquainted with their new guest. The Cup will then return to its home at the Société Nautique de Genève, in Switzerland.
The debut of America's Cup Class racing in Valencia will be in September, 2004, when the first of a series of pre-regattas is scheduled to open the XXXII America's Cup.