Despite grey skies and occasional rain 23,000 attended the spectacular opening ceremony


Whilst southern England sweltered in unseasonal Spring weather with temperatures in the mid 20s, the story in Valencia, Spain, home of the 32nd America’s Cup which kicks off tomorrow 16 April, could not have been more different. It was a far from seasonal 17C with unrelenting grey skies and intermittent rain.

This was the scene that met the Cup organisers, the 12 teams and spectators at the official opening of the Cup. And yet some 23,000 people poured into Port America’s Cup to witness a spectacular parade of all the teams heading slowly along the canal from the sea and past the Veles e Vents. It was a son et luminere and huge firework show that would have made Cowes Friday fireworks look like an apology by comparison. During the day over 50,000 had visited Port America’s Cup. As Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli commented at a press conference this morning ‘there were more people at the opening last night than when we won in Auckland in 2003.

It begs this question. Should the Sir Keith Mills backed Team Origin succeed in bringing the Cup back to its spiritual home in a few years’ time, would the denizens of Weymouth, Portsmouth or wherever else the Cup might be held in the UK turn out in such numbers old a cold, damp April evening?