Hard to believe, but the final AC 32 pre-regatta, Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 13, begins on 3 April -- three months from today. The Act 13 Notice of Race has now been published by Regatta Director Dyer Jones, and is available to read or download here
The Challenger Commission has a good (in your Ed.'s humble opinion) story
posted that explains the 2007 AC racing program, including Act 13's fleet racing format and schedule.
Why is Act 13 so important?
+ It is the last time the Defender formally gets to race with the Challengers. When the AC 32 Protocol was negotiated, Alinghi insisted on having Act 13 as a means for the them to "check in" with the Challengers, because....
+ In Act 13 the Challengers and the Defender must use one of their "declared" AC 32 yachts (on or before 31 March each team must declare the one or two Version 5 ACC yachts, built in their home country, that they may use in the LVC and/or Match). With the LVC starting just eight days after Act 13, you can be sure that the Challengers will be using their Top Gear. The Defender? We shall see.
+ The Defender aside, the Challengers will be battling for their final Louis Vuitton Ranking points. This is a "times three" regatta so the top Challenger in Act 13 will score 11 x 3 or 33 ranking points, second place 10 x 3 or 30 points, etc. Together with points accrued in Acts 4-12
, these final ranking points will determine the overall standing of the Challengers going into the Louis Vuitton Cup, which in turn determines how many bonus points each Challenger gets to carry into the LVC Rounds Robin. There are LVC tie-breaking implications as well. (See the above-mentioned CCB post
+ Act 13 will be the first time a number of Challengers will race a new ACC yacht; and likely the first some will race their second new yachts.
+ It the last chance for the Challengers to check in with each other, sort their boats and technology, and polish their tactics and crewwork before the start of the LVC only nine days hence.
+ Finally, it is an all-systems warm up -- for the teams, organizers, television, host city, etc. -- and a chance to promote, locally and worldwide, the imminent start of the the Louis Vuitton Cup and, shortly thereafter, the 32nd edition of the oldest, and arguably most prestigious, trophy in international sport.
To whet your Act 13 appetite, we'll end this post with some great Gilles-Martin Raget shots from previous fleet-racing Acts.