What a difference three months makes


I was last in Valencia in April for the first Round Robins for the Louis Vuitton Cup. It would be a good chance, I thought, to see all of the teams in action and to see who looked on the pace and who looked slow. Well, in the event everyone looked slow, very, very slow, in fact stationary.

For the whole week I was here not a single race was held through lack of wind. Each day everyone dutifully trooped out onto the race course, drifted around on a glassy flat sea and every evening back they came but with much improved tans.

Not only that but the marinas were near empty, the superyacht harbour was all but empty and only a handful of spectator boats joined the press boats and Larry Ellison’s vast yacht Rising Sun each day.

But today, what a difference. To begin with there was wind, not the normal sea breeze but a steady 12 knot north easterly kicking up an uncomfortable chop. And there were spectator boats, as far as the eye could see ranging from a large cruise ship, through a goodly selection of superyachts and right down to small yachts and RIBs.

It’s estimated that there were 800 of them encircling the race course so you can imagine the fun and games when they all returned to harbour after the racing, as this picture shows. Miraculously no one it seems hit anyone else. As one member of the press said ‘that was more exciting than the racing’. Cruel perhaps but after the first 10 minutes the first race of the 32nd America’s Cup was a bit of a procession. Oh yes, Alinghi won by 34 seconds.