The America's Cup trophy left Switzerland bound for Valencia the question is will it return? 28/2/07

 Yesterday, Tuesday 27 February, the America’s Cup trophy left its home where it resided for the past four years in Geneva, Switzerland. The trophy will be travelling on the ‘Road to Valencia’ five city tour, which marks the end of three years of intense preparation by 12 teams determined to capture the most prestigious trophy in the world, the America’s Cup.

Just one month from now, the teams will begin racing in Valencia in the ultimate and decisive season of the 32nd America’s Cup. Combined, the teams have spent nearly 700-million euros over the past three years in pursuit of one dream. Hundreds of thousands of man-hours of research and design have gone into each of the 18 state-of-the-art boats built to capture the Cup. Final practice and preparation is well underway in Valencia, where over the coming weeks and months, one team will emerge to claim glory.

The ‘Road to Valencia’ is a celebration of this pursuit of excellence. Beginning in Geneva, home to the Defender of the trophy, the Société Nautique de Genève and its sailing team Alinghi, the Road to Valencia winds through Paris (28 February – 1 March), Rome (5 March), Berlin (7 – 8 March) and Madrid (12 – 13 March).

Each stop includes a press conference featuring challengers representing that country, along with the Defender. For the public, a unique and exciting slide show, projected in the evening on a landmark building in the city will capture the spirit and excitement of America’s Cup racing.

In Geneva, Michel Bonnefous, CEO of the organising body for the 32nd America’s Cup said: “Over the past three years, the 32nd America’s Cup has travelled more than at any time in its long and storied history. We’ve raced across the length and breadth of Europe, with the passion and emotion of the best sailing action building up to this moment.”

“At the same time, in Valencia, the Port America’s Cup has developed into a superb venue for the event. A welcoming home has been built where the public can enjoy everything the America’s Cup has to offer. The final countdown to the Cup is on!”

Today, the ‘Road to Valencia’ travels through Paris. France has a record of continuous challenges for the America’s Cup dating back to 1970, with Areva Challenge as the current challenger. Nicolas Texier, a grinder for Alinghi and Sebastien Col (helmsman) and Jean Galfione (grinder) of Areva Challenge were on hand to describe their experience as sailors in the 32nd America’s Cup. Michel Hodara, Chief Operating Officer for the organisers of the 32nd America’s Cup gave overall perspective on the event.

On Thursday evening, images of racing captured over the past three years will be projected on the Maison Louis Vuitton, 101 Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

Be sure to get a copy of Yachting World’s April 2007 issue with a free-52 page Valencia 2007 guide with all you need to know to follow the America’s Cup action