Alinghi arrives

The party is warming up in Marseilles

Thursday August 26th 2004, Author: Peter Rusch, Location: France
Team Alinghi’s SUI-64, the boat that won the last America’s Cup, has arrived in Marseille, France, ahead of Act 1 of the 32nd America’s Cup. SUI-64, along with Le DEFI’s FRA-69, and Team Shosholoza’s RSA-48, pulled into port late on Wednesday night on the Dockwise transport ship, Explorer, a special delivery from Valencia, Spain.

On Thursday morning, the delicate job of unloading this precious cargo began, and Le Defi and Team Shosholoza were delicately placed on the J4 pier alongside the Vieux Port in Marseille. Strong winds building throughout the morning made it impossible to continue however, and SUI-64 remains on board the Explorer. It will be lifted with a crane, and unloaded onto the J 4 on Friday morning, if weather conditions allow.

These three America’s Cup Class boats will be joined by three others, making for a fleet of six that will contest the Mars eille Louis Vuitton Act. The K-Challenge, which has acquired FRA-57 from Team New Zealand, and Emirates Team New Zealand’s NZL-82 are currently in La Ciotat, a French port up the coast from Marseille, where they arrived from New Zealand earlier this month. They will make their way to the J4 later this week. Finally, BMW Oracle will be towing USA-76 from its training base in Valencia, Spain, to complete the fleet.

The Dockwise Explorer cargo also includes over 20 RIBs for Umpires, Race Officials and photographers, along with containers and spare masts for each team. Unloading the rest of this material will take place as soon as weather conditions permit.

The Marseille Louis Vuitton Act is the opening Act of the 32nd America’s Cup. It begins with a fleet parade on 4 September, ahead of the first scheduled race day, 5 September. The regatta opens with three days of fleet racing, ahead of a round robin series of match races. Both disciplines are score d equally, so the winner will be the most consistent performer across all of the races.

At the conclusion of the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act, the Dockwise Explorer will carry all six boats back to Valencia, in advance of Acts 2 and 3, to be held in the Host City of the 32nd America’s Cup.

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