Louis Vuitton Acts and the 32nd America’s Cup
Fleet Race in Valencia. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

As we established in the previous post, the Louis Vuitton Cup was established as the “playoffs” for America’s Cup to determine what nation would challenge the 2003 defender. Of the nine events that Louis Vuitton sponsored, five of the prevailing challengers went on to win the America’s Cup that followed.

From 2004 to 2007, the Louis Vuitton Cup was diced into “Acts” to narrow down the competition and talent that followed the “Auld Mug” around the world. These Acts consisted of thirteen fleet and match races that were held in multiple countries. A total of twelve teams, 200+ elite sailors, representing nine nations competed. Each Act would reveal a winning team that would accrue points ultimately earning the title of Challenger of the 32nd America’s Cup. The reigning defender and winner of the 31st America’s Cup was the Swiss Team Alinghi of the Société Nautique de Genève (Switzerland). Alighini brought the Cup to Valencia Spain for the 32nd America’s Cup and would compete in all 13 Louis Vitton Acts alongside the challengers.

Alinghi Holds the Lead

Over the course of the Acts, Alinghi held a strong lead, including winning the ACC Championship in Act 5. By the end of the second year of the Acts, Alinghi was at the top closely followed by “The Big Three”, Oracle BMW Racing, Luna Rossa, and Emirates Team New Zealand. During Act 8, in Sicily, the French Team K-Challenge knocked Alinghi out of it’s 31-race winning streak.

Swiss Alinghi races on the fourth day of match racing of the Louis Vuitton Cup Act 12 regatta off the coast of Valencia, 25 June 2006. Photo credit should read JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images.

Carnage in Valencia

Acts 9 – 13 brought festivities back to Valencia where the 2007 America’s Cup would take place. The final, 13th Act (originally dubbed the 14th Act so as to avoid an unlucky 13th race but called the 13th act at the end to avoid confusion) was riddled with carnage. Italy’s +39 was dismasted and Oracle BMW Racing’s spinnaker pole was snapped in half. At the end of 5 days of racing, Emirates Team New Zealand was victorious and moved on to challenge Alinghi during the 32nd America’s Cup.

Italy’s +39 Challenge is dismasted during the final Acts of the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia.

List of Competitors in Louis Vuitton Acts

  1. The United States – BMW Oracle Racing – USA 76
  2. New Zealand – Emirates Team New Zealand – NZL 82
  3. Spain – Desafío Español 2007 – ESP 67
  4. South Africa – Team Shosholoza – RSA 83
  5. Italy – Luna Rossa – ITA 74
  6. Italy – +39 Challenge – ITA 85
  7. Sweden – Victory Challenge – SWE 63
  8. Germany – United Internet Team Germany – GER 72
  9. Italy – Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team – ITA 77
  10. China  – China Team – CHN 69
  11. France – K Challenge – FRA 60
Malmo, SWEDEN: BMW Oracle Racing (USA 76) (L) sails to victory over China Team (CHN 69) in their match-race in the Louis Vuitton Act 6 of the 32nd America’s Cup, 28 August 2005 outside Malmo. The Malmo-Sk?ne Louis Vuitton sixth and seventh acts are sailed ahead of the 32nd America Cup set in Valencia, Eastern Spain in 2007. AFP PHOTO – SVEN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Locations & Winners for the Louis Vuitton Acts 2004 – 2007

ActDateLocationWinner
Act 1Sept. 2004Marseille, FranceOracle BMW Racing
USA 76
Act 2Oct. 2004Valencia, SpainEmirates Team
New Zealand
Act 3Oct. 2004Valencia, SpainAlinghi wins ACC
Leads in points
Act 4June 2005Valencia, SpainAlinghi
Act 5June 2005Valencia, SpainLuna Rossa
Act 6Aug. 2005Malmö, Skåne, SwedenAlinghi
BMW Leads in Points
Act 7Sept. 2005Malmö, Skåne, SwedenAlinghi
Act 8Oct. 2005Trapani, ItalyAlinghi
Act 9Mar. 2006Trapani, ItalyAlinghi
Act 10May 2006Valencia, SpainEmirates Team
New Zealand
Act 11May 2006Valencia, SpainAlinghi
Act 12June 2006Valencia, SpainEmirates Team
New Zealand
Act 13April 2007Valencia, SpainAlinghi Wins
Emirates leads points
Team Emirates New Zealand wins the Louis Vuitton Cup and moves on to challenge Alinghi for the 32nd America’s Cup.