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Final 2005 Acts get underway on Thursday

Tuesday September 27th 2005, Author: Peter Rusch, Location: Italy
The 2005 racing season for the 32nd America's Cup concludes with the Trapani Louis Vuitton Acts; racing is scheduled to begin on Thursday. The 12 America's Cup teams have been training on the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean off the western tip of Sicily for over a week already, and many took part in the official practice race day in light winds on Tuesday afternoon.

The racing in Trapani will determine the 2005 Louis Vuitton ACC Season Champion. Going into the racing, the Defender, Alinghi, has a commanding six point lead over its closest rival, BMW ORacle Racing. But the American team is just one point clear of Emirates Team New Zealand, and the top Italian team Luna Rossa. There are close battles up and down the points table, with many of the teams separated by just one or two points.

Luna Rossa will share the spotlight here with the two other Italian teams, +39 Challenge and Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team. All three are competing on home waters for the first time in the history of the America's Cup.

"For us it's very special to be sailing here," said Giuseppe Leonardi, one of five Sicilians on the +39 team. "Sicily hasn't really been considered a hotbed of top class sailors in Italy, but this shows that we have arrived. People even recognise us when we leave the dock. It's very gratifying and motivating for us and the entire team".

"The atmosphere is really very good, very hot for all of us Italians," said Daniele Bresciano, a grinder on Luna Rossa. "This would be the right place for us to have a great result. The people in the city are marvellous and very supportive. There's a bit more pressure though. On Sunday when we were training, there were about 20 small boats all around us when we were sailing. One of them even pulled up alongside and offered us sweets!"

"This is an important moment for us because it will allow many Italians to enjoy first-hand the unique atmosphere of the America's Cup," concluded Vincenzo Onorato, the leader of Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team.

In Italy, live television coverage of the racing is available on La7 from 14:00 to 17:00 every race day from the 29th of September to the 9th of October.

On Wednesday evening the public Teams Presentation for the Trapani Louis Vuitton Acts 8 & 9 will take place along the waterfront in Trapani. The waterfront area will be open for public access 17:30 and the ceremony begins with the Orchestra Lirico Sinfonico dell'Ente Luglio Musicale Trapanese at 18:45. The 12 boats will then parade along the waterfront area to musical and video accompaniment, and team members will appear on stage for short comments. The ceremony will conclude with music and fireworks at 20:00.

The first warning signal for the races is scheduled to sound at 12:30 on Thursday afternoon, with racing beginning at 12:40.

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