Matthew Sheahan reports from the America's Cup media frenzy in Geneva as more details of the next America's Cup emerge
Two major announcements were made in Geneva this morning. The first, and by far the most eagerly awaited was that Valencia has been chosen as the host venue for the next America’s Cup. In winning the bid the Spanish team had beaten off stiff competition from Naples, Lisbon and Marseille.
“The sailing and sporting conditions were always our main criteria,” said Michel Bonnefous AC management’s chief executive.
“One of the aspects was to consider the worst case scenario for the weather. In Auckland we were looking at a possible 15 days lost to the weather, in Valencia the worst case scenario suggests just one day. This means that in Valencia we can more or less guarantee to sail which is obviously good for the racing and the television coverage.”
Another change to the new look America’s Cup is that the length of the races will be determined by time and not distance, a detail that should help avoid some of the frustrating delays that dogged the last event.
According to Bonnefous, another advantage of Valencia is that the nature of the location means that the public and spectators can get very close to the racing and that the America’s Cup village is next door to where the sailing will take place.
The second announcement of the morning was that Louis Vuitton would be the official sponsors of the complete event. During the build up to the venue announcement there had been speculation as to whether an alternative major sponsor was putting in a bid to support the event.
In the end, Louis Vuitton’s 20 year association with the Challengers’ series for the America’s Cup appears to have been an important factor.
The move marks an important change for the event too which will now have a single major sponsor and organisation running both the Challenger trials and the America’s Cup event itself.
Clearly delighted at Louis Vuitton’s continued association with the Cup, company president Yves Carcelle said there were close ties between the two organisations.
“Next year sees the 150th anniversary of Louis Vuitton,” he said.
“We’re nearly twins. The cup was born in 1851 and Louis Vuitton born in 1854. So to be sponsors of the 32nd America’s Cup is the best birthday present we could have expected.”
So it’s smiles and relief all round as the press gang file their stories before flying off to Valencia later this afternoon.
More news from the new home of the America’s Cup later.