There is an explosive atmosphere around the Cup races

Fireworks. The Valencians love them and the bigger the bang the better. Any excuse and there will be a fusillade of white puffs above the town, followed by a cacophany of explosions. Yesterday as Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand left the docks for the first race of the 32nd America’s Cup there were fireworks, followed by fly pasts by the Spanish and Swiss aerobatic teams.

Then more fireworks as Valencians flocked to the beaches for an evening fiesta and yet more fire crackers as I headed back to the YW flat in the old town where the main square was cordoned off for a gay pride march. Yes, it’s all happening here.

But we had the best of the lot a day earlier when Richard Matthews of Oyster fame had kindly invited Matthew Sheahan and myself to an Oyster Owner’s dinner at the spectacular L’Hemisferic. The Oysters were in town for one of their several regattas – 39 boats in all took part – and Yachting World was to present the Concours d’Elegance Trophy.

After the prizegiving and an excellent dinner Richard launched his ‘surprise’. He likes his surprises which in the past have included aerobatic displays and a Spitfire flypast.

The glass wall of L’ Hemisferic slowly lifted and we were treated to one of the best, certainly the noisiest display I have ever seen.

I now have some idea of what it must be like to be under artillery fire – but without the risk. You could physically feel the deafening explosions as barrage after barrage shook the town. Great stuff!