Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Valencia is officially the host city of the 33rd America's Cup; Team New Zealand accepted as fourth challenger

Wednesday, 25 July 2007 is a historic day for Valencia and the America's Cup. After a hugely successful 32nd edition, Alinghi officially declared this afternoon its decision to repeat the oldest sports competition in the Spanish coastal city within two years, in the summer of 2009.

Despite the unexpected twist on Tuesday, the three public administrations (local, regional and national) decided on Wednesday to sign an agreement that would open the door to the public announcement of Valencia's repeat.

After the usual self-congratulatory speeches from all involved parties and the champaign glass in front of the trophy, Ernesto Bertarelli, head of Alinghi, and Michel Bonnefous, CEO of America's Cup Management, laid out the basic framework of the 33rd America's Cup.

You can listen to the entire statements of both Bonnefous and Bertarelli by clicking on the green play button. You can pause or stop the audio file with the control buttons, just like with any other music player. By clicking inside the horizontal bar you can move to any point of the file:

Michel Bonnefous:

Ernesto Bertarelli:

Venue and schedule
Obviously, the venue of the 33rd America's Cup will be Valencia, after what is unanimously considered to be a very successful 32nd edition, probably one of the best in the long history of the event.

As far as the schedule is concerned, it was not set with precision. There will be two pre-regattas in 2008, one in Valencia in the month of July and a second one in a European city, still to be chosen, in autumn. Unlike what some previous reports had speculated, it is the organization's intention to use both races courses (south and north) in Valencia.

The Challenger Selection Series will take place in the spring of 2009 and the America's Cup Match will obviously follow after that. Again, no precise dates were given.

Challenger of Record
Desafío Español, the Challenger of Record, and the Club Náutico Español de Vela, the yacht club it represents, enjoy the full support of both Alinghi and ACM. According to Bertarelli, Desafío Español is a "solid, reputable and strong" Challenger of Record that gave a "honored battle and tough time" to Emirates Team New Zealand.

New boat class
The new boat class will be announced by the end of October 2007. Starting September, Alinghi will consult with Desafío Español on how to "best propose" this new class. According to Bertarelli, the new boat will be more "exciting and vibrant". Each team will be allowed to build 2 new boats but there will be a very important restriction. Each of these boats can be sailed on any waters but at no time will they be allowed to "line up" with any other yacht, except during official ACM regattas.

According to Bertarelli, the aim of this rule is to reduce the amount of money spent on two-boat testing.

Alinghi's participation
Given the limit on the new boats, Alinghi will participate in the Challenger Selection Series up to and including the semifinals. If they are eliminated earlier, they will not race any further until the America's Cup Match.

Arbitration Panel - Jury
An independent Arbitration Panel has been nominated and the independent Jury will be nominated shortly.

Team New Zealand fourth challenger
Last but certainly not least, Team New Zealand was accepted as the fourth challenger.

It's now official, Valencia will be the host city of the 33rd America's Cup. Valencia, 25 July 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

It's now official, Valencia will be the host city of the 33rd America's Cup. Valencia, 25 July 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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