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Americas Cup Valencia

In 2007 the city of Valencia was transformed into a fitting host for one of the world’s most prestigious and oldest sporting events. This was the 32nd Americas Cup – and the major challenge for Valencia was to be ready in time for the all important final boat race in the summer of 2007.

More than one million spectators gathered on the shoreline to watch two of the fastest, costliest and most talked about super yachts fight it out for the trophy known as the Holy Grail of sailing.

As the reputed home of the real Holy Grail (the chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper) Valencia was seen, for a variety of reasons, as the ideal choice to host the first Americas Cup ever to be held in Europe during the event’s illustrious 154-year history.

This dynamic, forward-thinking city fought off fierce competition from seven other European contenders to win the right to stage an event which brought together some of the world’s finest sailors, best yachts (and battiest billionaires!).

Some history surrounding the Americas Cup

The prestige of the event together with the billions of dollars involved in making it happen, mean that the America’s Cup has been dogged by scandal, espionage and many a high profile law suit since its inception in the mid 19th century. But for millions of sports fans across the globe it remains quite simply the greatest sporting challenge of all time.

It all started in 1851 when a yacht race around the UK’s Isle of Wight was won by a schooner called America from the New York Yacht Club. The prize was a silver goblet, weighing almost 30 pounds, crafted by crown jewellers Garrard’s of London. The Americans challenged the world’s best sailors to win the goblet off them and the America’s Cup was born. But the cup stayed in American hands for another 132 years until an Australian team finally managed to secure it in 1983.

It was the Swiss based international team Alinghi who brought the cup to Europe for the first time in the history of the America's Cup when they defeated New Zealand in 2003. As a land-locked country, Switzerland was unable to host the next race so the hunt was on to find the most suitable venue in Europe for 2007.

Valencia emerged triumphant as the next host city and the local population erupted with joy when the priceless goblet was brought to the regional capital and put on public display.

The competition consists of a series of races leading up to the all-important Louis Vuitton Cup (April-June 2007) and the ultimate America’s Cup Match Race in June 2007. The first race was held in Marseille in September 2004 and four subsequent races took place off the coast of Valencia in the autumn of 2004 and summer of 2005.

As the teams headed off to race in Swedish and Italian waters, Valencia concentrated its efforts on developing the huge amount of infrastructure required to host an event of such magnitude. The city sizzled with America’s Cup fever as planners raced to finish the transformation of Valencia’s commercial port, upgrade the transport network and construct more hotels to accommodate one of their biggest challenges ever.

Preparation for the 32nd Americas cup

The port’s inner harbour was turned into a dedicated race village with 12 bases for the competing teams, a media hub for the world’s top sports journalists and a 250-metre super yacht pier. The project involved reclaiming land with the aid of 700,000 tonnes of gravel and 20,000 cubic metres of concrete.

When the two final super yachts went head to head in their sea-borne battle for the coveted cup, they started the 18.5 mile race course at a point just 15 minutes from the harbour meaning hundreds of thousands of spectators on the shoreline had a perfect view of sailing’s deadliest duel.

More information here about the 32nd America's Cup

The Teams:

Each crew competing in the America’s Cup consists of 17 sailors backed by a team of the world’s leading boat builders, sail makers and engineers.

The Crews challenging

  • Alinghi - an international team based in Switzerland and sailing under the colours of the Nautical Society of Geneva.
  • Desafio Español 2007 – Spain’s fourth bid to win the cup, under the colours of the Real Federacion Española de Vela.
  • The BMW Oracle Racing Team – an international team, representing15 countries sailing under the colours of the USA’s Golden Gate Yacht Club.
  • +39 Challenge – an Italian team led by Olympic silver medallist Luca Devoti and British gold medallist Iain Percy flying the flag of the Circolo Vela Gargnano Yacht Club.
  • Team Shosholoza - a South African team flying the colours of the Royal Cape Yacht Club.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand – a team led by New Zealand’s yachting legend Sir Peter Blake under the flag of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
  • Luna Rossa – an Italian team flying the colours of the Yacht Club Italiano
  • The K-Challenge – a French team flying the flag of the Cercle de la Voile de Paris Yacht Club
  • Victory Challenge – Sweden’s fifth try at winning the cup, under the colours of Stockholm’s Gamla Stans Yacht Club.
  • Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team – an Italian team sailing under the colours of the Canottieri Savoia Yacht Club.
  • United Internet Team Germany – Germany’s first attempt to win the cup, led by a Danish skipper and flying the flag of the Deutscher Challenger Yacht Club.
  • China Team – the event’s first ever team from China, sailing under the colours of the Qingdao International Yacht Club.

The Winner

  • Alinghi 

33rd Americas Cup

The 33rd America's cup was also held in Valencia in February 2010 and was won by the BMW Oracle team. The event was a staggering success attracting well over 200,000 and broadcast by 39 television stations.

More information here about the 33rd America's Cup

Facts about the Americas Cup

  • There have been 33 editions of America's Cup between 1870 and 2010
  • 4 countries have defended the America's Cup: The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland
  • 28 editions defended by the United States: 1870 to 1983, 1988, 1992, 1995
  • 1 edition defended by Australia: 1987
  • 2 editions defended by New Zealand: 2000 and 2003
  • 2 editions defended by Switzerland: 2007 and 2010
  • 7 countries have reached the America's Cup Match (England, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and the United States)
  • 6 venues in 159 years: New York (the USA), Newport (the USA), Fremantle (AUS), San Diego (the USA), Auckland (NZL) and Valencia (ESP) 1 trophy: the America's Cup