At the end of February, the America’s Cup trophy left its home for the past four years in Geneva, Switzerland on the first leg of the ‘Road to Valencia’ tour that visited five cities, before reaching Valencia on March 15, exactly 100 days before the first race is due to start.

The occasion was marked in spectacular fashion, 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.

 

Victory adds sailor number 40

Victory Challenge needed to temporarily reinforce the sailing team for winter training in Dubai, because some of the crew were also involved in making Järv (SWE 96) ready in Valencia. One of the extra sailors was Keats Keeley, 33, midbowman for Young America in the 2000 America’s Cup. He is now the 40th member of Victory Challenge’s sailing team for the 32nd America’s Cup. “I was lucky.” he said “There is a lot that is different to the last challenge I was part of. Everything is bigger. I’m impressed.”

Germany gets a new tactician

Only three weeks before the beginning of Louis Vuitton Act 13, in Valencia, United Internet Team appointed a new tactician, David Dellenbaugh. Skipper Jesper Bank said “The position of a tactician is crucial on board. With David Dellenbaugh we appoint the most experienced tactician in our team.” Dellenbaugh has been tactician for several America’s Cup campaigns: the first time was in the US team Heart of America in 1987; then he was tactician and starting helmsman, in 1992, on the winning yacht America3 and, three years later, he was in the US team Mighty Mary.

A birthday present for Shosholoza

On the occasion of the team’s 3rd birthday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Patron of South Africa’s first ever America’s Cup Challenger, announced that he would visit the team in Valencia, Spain, on the 9th of June and be guest of honour at a proposed gala charity dinner during his stay.

In a message to the team the Archbishop said: “Are you only three years old? Well, you have been punching well above your weight and your age. Well done and heartiest congratulations on this momentous anniversary in the year when we expect even greater things from you. We are immensely proud of you, we the rainbow nation you represent so brilliantly. God bless you, Arch.”

SUI 91 flies in

SUI 91 returned from Dubai by Antonov AN-124, one of 56 planes built and introduced in 1986. They can carry up to 150 tonnes and 88 passengers, but rarely take more than a few due to limited pressurisation in the fuselage. Six crew members fly the 68.96m plane, which stands 20.78 metres high and has a wing-span of 73.3 metres, at a maximum speed of 865 km/h and a cruising speed of 800 km/h.

Onorato answers the question

Vincenzo Onorato, President of Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team, officially presented the team to the public and the press, on March 15, in Milan. Speaking of sponsorship, he said:

“Everyone knows that the America’s Cup is a wheel that turns a great amount of money, with budgets, for some teams, reaching over 100 million Euros. You may have asked yourselves many times, why would a business decide to finance a sport like sailing, especially a team competing for the America’s Cup? There are many possible reasons: because it’s a high level international event that will reach a vast audience, or because sailing represents a perfect symbiosis between the spirit of competition and nature. Also from an economical and financial point of view, the America’s Cup has a great advantage over a television commercial, for example, that lasts only a few seconds and is an enormous cost and will always be something artificial. Unlike a television commercial, the boats in these regattas remain on television for hours and represent a true subject matter that is unique to this event. Finally, we shouldn’t forget the historical value of an event that has been raced since 1851.”

He added “But the point I like to make is that it’s also passion that pushes me to lead for the second time, a challenge for the America’s Cup. In fact I represent and lead a team of more than 100 people that have chosen, for passion, to dedicate two or more years of their lives to what many consider just a race. In reality, however, the America’s Cup is everything I said before and even more. I am convinced that the work accomplished in these years allowed us to grow not only on the technical side, but also and most of all, in our souls”

New Zealand turns the heat up

Emirates Team New Zealand’s NZL 92 raced, off Valencia, for the first time against Luna Rossa’s ITA 94. “It’s all part of turning up the heat another notch or two,” Grant Dalton said. “We expect some tough racing out there. It may be informal, but it is run strictly on America’s Cup match racing rules and all teams are determined to do well as they all get into the groove that will take them into the fleet racing regatta which starts on April 3. “These races are not about results. We get a close look at the opposition hardware and crew work developments since July last year. It also keeps our sailing crew sharp while we get to know more about the Valencian breeze and sea state under race conditions.”

Longtze’s glamorous godmother

Basketball player, model, actress Xin Li, is the godmother of Longtze and ambassador for the team. Here we meet a beautiful young woman, full of charm but also very natural and with her feet on the ground. What impresses one about her is her naturalness. When she arrives at the base, the impression is that she has never left. She doesn’t play the star, she is a star. She is beautiful, that is all, with a team jacket or with an evening gown. She doesn’t need to add anything. This is what we call class, a natural distinction, an ever faint delicateness.

As a popular song says, “She has, I don’t know what, that others don’t have, that small additional soul, indefinable charm, that little flame”. She has a very particular chemistry to go looking for a destiny beyond a common one. This is not a girl who was born with a golden spoon in her mouth and she hasn’t forgotten it.

Three digits for Alinghi

On Saturday 17 March, SUI100, Alinghi’s latest and last new build, was launched at the base in Valencia. Syndicate head Ernesto Bertarelli’s wife, Kirsty, joined the team to christen the boat, the first to have a three digit sail number in the history of the Class. “God bless SUI100, all those that have worked on her and all those that will sail her. Good luck!” she declared as she smashed a bottle of Moët & Chandon over the bow.

A queen for Desafio

Three days later, Desafio Español’s ESP 97 got a royal baptism. In a departure from more traditional methods, Queen Sofie broke the champagne over a bow suspended above her, by pushing a button. Perhaps this more technical approach was appropriate for a boat whose keel has been designed using Europe’s most powerful computer.