Dockside parties mark the end of the Louis Vuitton Semi finals

Sunday, 16 January

The semi final build up of excitement, intrigue and accusations, exploded into a weekend of parties and celebrations. The catalyst was America True’s surprise win over Stars and Stripes on Friday, effectively binging the semi final rounds to a close, leaving Prada and AmericaOne in the ring for the finals.

After the race, America True was welcomed back into the viaduct basin by a hail of friendly water bombs, clouds of yellow and blue balloons, confetti and loud cheers, particularly fom the Prada contingent, greatly relieved at not having to sail a sudden death race against Team Dennis Conner. The evening continued with free flowing champange, interrupted only by the arrival of a fork lift truck loaded with beer and wrapped in a red ribbon. Another mark of appreciation from the Italians. Finally, a formal announcement was made that skipper, Dawn Riley, had crashed out in the sail loft. With her motto being “If you can dream it, you can do it”, this was obviously a planning session for her next challenge.

As four more syndicates begin packing for home, the gear swapping tradition amongst crews is well underway. Even Sir Peter Blake has been persuaded to part with one of his trusty red socks, which he was wearing at the time. Meanwhile, Prada, in an unprecedented move, opened its designer wardrobe and handed out t-shirts to all passer-bys. This is Prada’s first break with protocol, although no official protests were registered.