Unveiling Day for all 12 teams in Valencia on Sunday

Sunday 25 March was ‘unveiling day’ at Port America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, as all 12 teams had to drop the protective ‘skirts’ that had been guarding the underbodies of their race boats. A traditional Valencian display of fireworks opened the countdown to all 19 boats unveiling at 0900, and all the team bases were opened to media and other team members. By 1600 over 40 000 people had passed through the doors of Port America’s Cup.

Although there were no visible breakthrough design innovations on the scale of the winged keel that Australia II rode to victory in 1983, many observers were astonished by the range of solutions to the same basic design question posed by the America’s Cup Class Rule.

Among the more visually clear differences were those seen in the size, shape and configuration of the keel bulbs on different boats. Some teams, like Emirates Team New Zealand, sported a short, fat bulb on one boat, and a long, thin, ‘cigar’ style bulb on the other. Luna Rossa showed off a radical hull underbody on ITA 94, which was marked by hard angles, slab sides and a flat bottom.

First ever South African team Shosholoza made the most dramatic debut, revealing it’s true – tribal – colours. Bringing out an elephant and five girls wearing little but leopard print body paint and the RSA 83 sail number, the display was good enough to attract rival team members. The fastest animal on the continent, the cheetah, was printed on the boat’s skirt and features on its keel bulb, pictured.

Louis Vuitton Act 13 is scheduled to begin this Tuesday, March 27.