The city of Valencia, and La Marina Real Juan Carlos I in particular, came alive in 2007 with the celebration of the oldest sailing competition in the world, the 32nd edition of the America’s Cup. This edition, held in Valencia, brought together the largest number of participating teams in its long history of over 150 years.

Originally known as the “100 Guinea Cup”, the competition was renamed the “America’s Cup” in 1870 in honour of the schooner America, winner of the 1851 race. Up until 1983, the year in which the yacht Australia II won the trophy, the competition had always been won by U.S. vessels. That same year, the Louis Vuitton Cup began; a competition held before the America’s Cup to determine who would face the defender of the trophy.

In the 2003 edition held in Auckland, New Zealand, a European ship, the Swiss Alinghi, won the America’s Cup after 152 years of Anglo-Saxon hegemony. The Swiss syndicate was in charge of organising the next edition in 2007. However, the official competition regulations, called the Deed of Gift, provide that the America’s Cup can only be held in sea water. Valencia was chosen as the host city after a struggle between 56 other candidates including Barcelona, Naples, Marseille, Palma de Mallorca and Cascais.

In the 32nd America’s Cup, the Swiss team Alinghi, the Defender, topped a list of 12 competing teams, called Challengers, which in order of registration were BMW Oracle Racing (USA), +39 Challenge (Italy), Team Shosholoza (South Africa), Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), Areva Challenge (France), Victory Challenge (Sweden), Desafío Español 2007 (Spain), Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team (Italy), United Internet Team Germany (Germany) and China Team (China).

After a thrilling final, the Swiss boat Alinghi won the competition in the seventh race, defeating Team New Zealand (5-2). Thus, the Alinghi team managed to defend their 2003 title in New Zealand. However, the 32nd America’s Cup also will be remembered for the outstanding role played by the Spanish team, the Desafío Español 2007, which for the first time managed to reach the competition’s semi-finals and finish in a praiseworthy fourth position.

On 20 July 2007, legal proceedings between BMW Oracle and Alinghi began. The American team reported the protocol signed between Alinghi and the Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV) for the organisation of the 33rd edition of the race to the New York State Supreme Court, the only court in the world that has jurisdiction over this race. In April 2009, the New York Court of Appeals issued a judgment invalidating the CNEV as a “Challenger of Record” for the 33rd America’s Cup and admitting that BMW Oracle was right. As a result, this regatta was to be decided through a best-of-three competition between the Swiss and the Americans in multihull boats, such as catamarans or trimarans, in the waters of Valencia.

After the U.S. team won the 33rd America’s Cup in February 2010 again in the waters of Valencia and against their great rivals, the Swiss team Alinghi, BMW Oracle decided to take the next edition of the competition, the 34th America’s Cup, to San Francisco Bay, where the world’s best crews will struggle in 2013 to defeat their opponents and win the “100 Guinea Cup”. Meanwhile, there are still some teams based in La Marina who are training for the next season.

The celebration of the America’s Cup in Valencia represented the city’s consolidation as a destination open to the Mediterranean Sea with more-than-adequate infrastructures to host this great event. The competition was surrounded by great intensity and it put Valencia on the map for nautical tourism. After the success of both editions, the waters of Valencia and the Valencian Community are known as the perfect setting for hosting and organising prestigious international regattas where everyone can experience the excitement of fast sailboats equipped with the latest technology.

Louis Vuitton MatchPort America's Cup: Alinghi Marina Real Valencia

32nd America's Cup Marina real Valencia

Valencia, 24 06 2007America's Cup MatchCanalAlinghi Spectators Marina Real valencia

Alinghi wins the 32nd America's Cup.Marina Real Valencia