|VALENCIA, SPAIN-(13-10-2004) The people of Valencia have certainly been supportive hosts for the America's Cup. From Saturday through the conclusion of Act 2 on Tuesday evening, over 130 000 people visited the America's Cup Park in the Darsena Interior, and thousands gathered along the waterfront for the prize-giving ceremony where Emirates Team New Zealand was awarded their Act 2 trophy.
The Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 3, a Fleet Racing event, will now provide a spectacular close to the season. For the teams, the switch from Match Racing to a Fleet Race format requires a change in approach, as the tactic of focusing on just one opponent is unlikely to lead to the desired result when racing seven opponents.
For the winner of the Louis Vuitton Act 2, Emirates Team New Zealand, it will be interesting to see how their highly acclaimed new afterguard attack the Fleet Races. The Kiwis were the only one of the 'Big Three' teams in Marseille to fail to win a Fleet Race, as Team Alinghi and BMW ORACLE split the victories.
With three wins in four races in Marseille, BMW ORACLE helmsman Gavin Brady says he's looking forward to Thursday.
It's quite enjoyable doing the Fleet Racing, Brady said at the conclusion of the Louis Vuitton Act 2. You can't cover seven other boats. I think you'll see a lot of different winners. It's important to try and hang in there. If you're in third place for example, you might try and hold on to your third instead of taking a risk for the win, because third might be alright at the end of the day.
The starts in particular should provide some very exciting moments as 200-tonnes of boats all fight for the same piece of water on the starting line.
I really like the Fleet Race starts in these boats. It really is spectacular, enthused Thierry Peponnet, skipper on K-Challenge. I think it will be more open for some of us smaller teams, because the first boats will match each other, and we'll have some opportunities because of that.
Racing is scheduled to begin at 12:40 on Thursday afternoon.
2004 ACC Champion On Wednesday afternoon, the event organiser released the current standings for the 2004 ACC Champion. This title will be awarded to the team that has the best cumulative classification over the three 2004 Louis Vuitton Acts, based on a low point scoring system. After Act 2, Emirates Team New Zealand and the BMW ORACLE Racing team are equal on four points. With just one Act left to sail, they cannot remain tied. But Team Alinghi is just two points back, and could still claim the prize with a strong finish in Act 3.