2005 season comes to a close

America's Cup racing in 211 had 211 race starts, 13 fleet races and 198 match races

Thursday December 8th 2005, Author: Peter Rusch, Location: none selected
A racing season which saw America's Cup competition between 12 teams from 10 countries take place in three venues across Europe came to a close, fittingly, on the road, on Thursday at the Salon Nautique de Paris.

The organisers of the 32nd America's Cup, along with several teams, were on hand to celebrate a successful 2005 racing calendar which saw 211 race starts, with 13 fleet races and 198 match races. Each team sailed nearly 500 nautical miles of racing over the course of the season.

Alinghi, the Defender of the 32nd America's Cup won the ACC season championship, but by the end of the season the top three challengers were nipping at their heels. In fact, in Trapani, the top four teams finished the match racing in Louis Vuitton Act 8 tied on points. Further back, a number of the newer teams were beginning to emerge as legitimate threats to the established powers.

The 2005 Louis Vuitton Acts were a success off the water as well with the America's Cup Park welcoming visitor number one-million in Trapani. And over one billion viewers have enjoyed America's Cup programming on television since the opening Louis Vuitton Act in Marseille at the end of the summer in 2004.

"This year we began to realise the potential of the 32nd America's Cup as a global event, new to Europe," said Michel Bonnefous, the CEO of the organising body for the 32nd America's Cup, during a presentation at the Salon Nautique de Paris. "The Louis Vuitton Acts sailed in Valencia, Malmö-Skåne and Trapani showed the full spirit, on and off the water, that is the heart of the America's Cup.

"Looking forward to 2006, we can imagine an even greater spectacle. The purpose-built Port America's Cup in Valencia is growing in leaps and bounds with each passing week. The canal linking the Port directly to the northern race course will open shortly. Construction has started on the Chipperfield-designed building that will house the Foredeck Club, and more team bases are completed and occupied each month."

When the new marina in the Port America's Cup opens it will provide over 600 new berths for yachts just minutes from the race course. The first phase of the marina project, some 300 slips, will be open in time for the next Louis Vuitton Acts in Valencia in May 2006. This is in addition to the 50 or so Superyacht berths already built in the middle of the Port America's Cup.

"Five new sail numbers have now been assigned among the teams (from 84 to 88), indicating a healthy number of new boats are already under construction," continued Bonnefous. "Finally, the weighting of ranking points on offer doubles in 2006, meaning the challengers will have every incentive to sail their hearts out when the start gun fires for Louis Vuitton Act 10 on May 11th. All these ingredients will combine to make a great event for spectators in Valencia and those following from afar as well."

The event organisers took the occasion of the Salon Nautique in Paris to announce a new marina project in the Port America's Cup and to promote a historical database, called the 'Circling Galaxy', now online (in French) that links the major players, events and boats that have competed in the past 31 America's Cup competitions.

The 'Circling Galaxy' is the largest online collection of America's Cup history. Written by noted Cup historian Jacques Taglang, the 'Circling Galaxy' is a treasure chest full of information about the America's Cup, presented in a unique, fun, visual environment. Currently online in French, other language versions will be added in due course.

Racing begins for the 2006 season on May 11th, with Louis Vuitton Acts 10 and 11 in Valencia. Act 12, a match racing round robin, semi final and final takes place in June. The dates in 2006 mimic the racing calendar for the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup Match in 2007, giving the teams an opportunity to race in similar conditions to those they'll encounter in the main events.

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