Monday, June 25, 2007

The America's Cup experience (1)

It is the oldest trophy in sport. It is held in Europe again after many, many years. And this blogger was there!!!! I still can't believe my luck!

To put it in simple words (I had to do some research myself!!) the America's Cup is a duel between two yachts - a match race. On one side is the winner of the previous edition (Alinghi of Switzerland) known as the Defender. Its opponent is the best of all the challengers, the winner of the Louis Vuitton races - a set of selection regattas to produce a single challenger from multiple contenders. This year's Challenger is the Emirates Team New Zealand . There are 9 races from June23rd until July 7th, the team leading in 5 of them will be the America's Cup winner.

Day 2 of the 32nd edition of the America's cup finished yesterday (today is rest day) with the New Zealand team winning so the current stand is 1:1.

Why is it called the America’s Cup?
In 1851, a boat named America won the 100 Guinea Cup given to the winner of a race around the Isle of Wight. The winners, members of the New York Yacht Club, donated the trophy to the Club, to be held as a ‘challenge’ trophy. Thus was born the America’s Cup, named after the boat, not the country. Source.

Here is a helpful link but if you get seasick, try this one, where you can find a timeline among other interesting facts. The New York Yacht Club successfully defended against challenges for 132 years, when they lost to an Australian challenge.

The victory of the Swiss team Alinghi in New Zealand in the year 2003 brought the America's Cup to Europe for the first time, as the winning team has the right to organize the following competition and to defend the title against the different Challengers. Switzerland is a country without sea and because of the impossibility of competing in a Swiss lake , a city had to be chosen (there were about 70 candidates) to celebrate the 32nd America's Cup.

Valencia was chosen for its tourism infrastructure and because steady summer breezes guarantee start times for the 32nd edition of the race. All of us in Spain are biased and keeping our hopes with the Swiss team, hoping Valencia would remain host for the next America's Cup, possibly in 2009 as there are plans to host it every two years and not every four, as it has been the case until now.

My America's Cup experience started friday evening with a nice dinner with our local hosts. Mr Mar had a steak tartare which was served star-shaped! it deserved a picture but the corporate wife had to behave to stop the impulsive blogger!! It looked wonderful b ut even so I wasn't tempted to have a bite... Drinks at the Inner Harbour of the Port of Valencia , which was completely transformed for this major event.

Saturday was the first day of the competition. Which follows the Louis Vuitton races, the winner was the Emirates Team New Zealand challenging the defender, the Swiss Alinghi team. We met at 11 am in front of a theater where a bus came to get us guests, about 50 of us, some of which came from abroad but within Europe, specially for this event. This was our ship :

There was a delicious catering service on board, the catering crew was always busy and friendly offering trays with marvelous finger food while practicing their balance! All kind of beverages were available too.

We motored (as opposite to sailing since the wind was blowing in the unfavorable direction!) way out to find the turning buoy, an orange triangle with the words Louis Vuitton. I heard today there were some 800! boats out there wanting to get the best view of the race. Security boats and the police were busy organizing all the ships and vessels . Here are the basics to understand the match racing...

See one of the judges below...

Boats trying to be as close as possible to watch the match race:

That's the orange marker buoy where the boats have to make a turn:

The race started at 3pm, and here they come:
(to be continued...)


  1. wow, that sounds like a blast -- I spent a lot of time sailing as a kid and love being on the water.

  2. Geez I am green, (not sea sick)but of jalousy ! The blue sky, the boats the cattering service .. ah and I am sitting here in the rain ! What did I do to deserve this ! You made wonderful pictures !
    I watched a little of this on TV but I would have prefered to be there life !

  3. Mar, I'll have to show this to mr. kenju. He loves sailing!

  4. Great pictures and a well informed background to the history of this Cup.

    Tell me, who of you are the sailing champ? the sailing lover?

  5. Wow, how exciting it must have been! Of course I just LOVE this post!

    I'll link you up in my post I'm about to post :-)

  6. Sounds like so much fun!! Don't you hate when the corporate wife takes over the blogging self? lol I catch myself at these fun elaborate functions thinking what wonderful photos I could get if only, but I wouldn't dare! lol

    Great history on the Cup!

  7. That star shaped steak tartare could have looked like a million bucks -- but I wouldn't have been tempted either! NO way!

    The boats, on the other hand, are VERY tempting!!! I learned how to sail when I was a child - but I'm afraid I'd be sad competition for these guys! LOL! I wouldn't mind just a leisurely day out on the sails though!

  8. How incredibly exciting Mar...! I have never known anyone before who was at this famous race....! And the pictures are so very exciting, my dear....! You had a First Class Seat, didn't you? Truly exciting, in every way....! I'm ready for the next installment!

  9. What a fanastic way to spend the weekend. Marvellous and so exciting too. It must have been wonderful just to be out on the sea in that lovely boat, let alone to see those boats racing!

    The irony of the Swiss hosting the race was not lost on me, being a land locked country :)

  10. Michele sent me back to see you again! Just wnated to add that I love your pics and can't wait to see more!

  11. For my water pistol it's a very good idea, lol ! I'll write to the king (who has nothing to say btw)
    This night it rained so heavily that Mr. Gattino got up to clean the "Abguss" otherwise our garage would have been overfloated ! It's a real shame this weather ! and in England it's even worse. Soon I'll post a picture of me with frog legs !

  12. What a wonderful introduction to the race. I've heard about The America's Cup a lot of times of course, but never knew the background and history - thanks!

    I just love steak tartare - please don't stop but take a pic next time:-)

  13. I love so much sailing! The chance you had to sea a so famous competition! And I imagine the special atmospher this day in Valencia!
    And you make me hungry, fresh air on the sea open my appetit!
    Beautiful photos!

  14. How cool that you're able to be right there. This is one of those experiences of a lifetime, I'm sure.

    Michele would agree!


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