In Vilanova i la Geltrú they are already preparing to host the debut of the America's Cup. The first preliminary regatta, in which the six participating teams will debut, already has a date and venue. It will be in the historic port of Vilanova, from September 14 to 17 this year. One day of training and three days of competition that will be broadcast on open television and that can be followed live from the town's beaches, where more than 20,000 people are expected every day.
The one in Vilanova will be the first preliminary regatta and will mark a before and after in many respects. "It will be the first competition aboard the AC40s, which will be the same ones that will be used in the women's and youth regattas", said yesterday Aurora Catà, vice-president of ACE Barcelona - the organization organizing the 37th edition of the America's Cup – during the official announcement of these preliminaries. The AC40s are spectacular boats that, powered by hydrogen, seem to fly over the water at a speed that can reach 50 knots.
The organizers have visited and analyzed several ports on the Catalan coast before deciding on Vilanova, "which meets all the essential technical criteria, has enough space for the six teams, sufficient water depth... and also for operational criteria. The commercial activity of the port will not interfere and the municipality can welcome the 20,000 visitors a day that we estimate can travel there during the regattas", explained Catà.
In principle, three preliminaries are planned before the celebration of the America's Cup, which will officially start on August 22, 2024. The first will be the meeting in Vilanova next September, the second is to be determined and the third will be will compete in Barcelona. "This pre-regatta is the first milestone of the America's Cup legacy project plan, in which all the administrations and the private sector are working together so that Barcelona and Catalonia are world capitals of sailing and we have the maximum positive impact for to the public", said Daniel Puig, president of the executive committee of the Barcelona Capital Nàutica Foundation.
New Zealander Grant Dalton, general director of ACE Barcelona, was enthusiastic about the choice. "The port of Vilanova is perfect, the regattas will be held a few meters from the port entrance; La Daurada will offer a perfect view and a large 'fan village' will be installed in the huge public areas", he announced in a recorded message accompanied by images of the municipality and its coastline.
"This election is great news that confirms the organization's commitment to bringing the sport of sailing closer to the whole territory, it projects our image to the world in an event that has audiences of millions", celebrated Albert Castellanos, secretary of Business and Competitiveness of the Generalitat. Also the president of Turisme de Barcelona, Eduard Torres, highlighted "the capital city of Barcelona, which in addition to attracting the event has acted as a lever towards the rest of the territory".
The mayor of Vilanova i la Geltrú, Olga Arnau, described this appointment as "historic" for the municipality. "We will work to meet all expectations, combining all possible synergies", he assured. In addition to Club Nàutic Vilanova, the Pendennis Vilanova and Vilanova Grand Marina facilities will be used to house the teams' bases and their AC40s. And the restaurant and event space La Daurada will give up its facilities of more than 10,000 meters with privileged views of the regatta field.