This is Spain


Sport plays a big part on Spaniards lives and that of many expats who often find themselves with more more time than they ever had. Many take up a new sport whilst others have more time to practise or watch a long time favourite. Among the Spanish soccer is a religion but many other sports are played at the very highest level. There are many world class golf courses with new ones being opened at a phenomenal rate and Spain has a long history of success at both water sports and tennis. Whilst the caricature of every Spaniard as a matador is as inaccurate as the long-held belief that all Englishmen wear bowler hats and carry a briefcase, bullfighting is still hugely popular in many areas of the country. That said it is now banned in certain regions whilst other towns and cities are considering their positions on the “sport”, “art” or “act of barbarism.” (Everybody has an opinion!) What is also clear is that those who actually attend the events (las corridas) tend to be the older generation whilst the younger generation are more likely to know the tennis, soccer or F1 stars. To learn more visit

Even if your sport is cricket or rugby there is likely to be a club within “striking” distance especially in the big expat areas. For details of rugby visit Villajoyosa Rugby Club and cricket Bowling is very popular among the expats along the coast with many clubs catering for beginners and experts a like and the Scandinavians have “imported” petanca a game very similar to the French boules in many coastal areas.

Formula One fans flock to Jerez de la Frontera and throughout Spain there are tracks for all types of bike and auto racing. Horse racing is not hugely popular among the Spanish and the excellent course at Mijas Costa on the Costa del Sol is patronised mainly by the huge British and Irish communities in the South. This is something that has long fascinated me given the Spaniards’ excellent reputation for all types of horsemanship (Please visit Paso Finos and The World of Spanish Horses, as below).

* Paso Finos Horses
* The World of Spanish Horses
* Hot air Ballooning
* A bullfight – a matter of opinion

The 32nd America’s Cup

Returning to Europe for the first time in over 150-years, the programme for the 32nd America’s Cup reflects the importance of this occasion.

There is an ambitious four-year schedule of regattas commencing in 2004, each one a distinct Act in the drama of the 32nd America’s Cup. The climax will be the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup Match itself in 2007.

Never before has the America’s Cup consisted of such an ambitious programme. For the first time, the America’s Cup season consists of more than just the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup Match.

These opening Acts will be a mixture of fleet and match races in a variety of venues, and open to all.

This concept of a series of Acts is a big evolution for the America’s Cup. In the modern era, post 1958, the gap between competitions has been as high as five years; a situation described by one notable Cup sailor as being “rather a long time between drinks.”

In an effort to make America’s Cup racing a more regular feature on the sailing calendar, the series of preliminary Acts has been developed to ensure there is America’s Cup competition in each year leading up to the 2007 Match. These Acts allow the teams to measure themselves alongside their fellow competitors at each event, and keep race fans firmly focused on America’s Cup racing.

Each successive Act will take on increasing importance as the Match draws nearer, and each is expected to be a ranking tool for the early rounds of the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007.

What we currently think of as the America’s Cup – the Louis Vuitton Cup, and the Match itself – will be much shorter than what we’ve experienced in the recent past. While these events were spread across five months over the past four America’s Cup cycles, they will be concentrated over just three months in 2007, a short, sharp, intense period of racing.

Overall, the new schedule represents an important evolution for the America’s Cup. While the Cup season itself is much shorter, the leading Acts ensure meaningful, dramatic, America’s Cup racing takes place each year, and allows the America’s Cup to go ‘on tour’, visiting different venues, and bringing the excitement and spectacle of this wonderful event to new audiences.

In 2007, the final Act was an opening Fleet race, for all the competitors of the 32nd America’s Cup. After that, the Challengers squared off in the Louis Vuitton Cup, to determine who will race Team Alinghi in the 32nd America’s Cup Match

Sadly despite the great success of the 32nd Match, Valencia has lost out on hosting the next America’s Cup

Valencia, Moraira, Alicante and Torrevieja harbours have been dealt a cruel blow as the Société Nautique de GenÁ¨ve, have announced that the venue for the 33rd America’s Cup in February 2010, shall not be Valencia, but that Ras al-Khaimah, in the United Arab Emirates! Having won the 32nd America’s Cup in 2007 in Valencia with its yacht racing team, Alinghi, the SNG is granted the right to choose the venue for the next America’s Cup, which is scheduled to start on 8 February 2010. Valencia held high hopes and expectations that the city would again be host but due to the legal battle put forward by the Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle, the date is now February and not May 2010, and so the province has lost out.

Fred Meyer, Vice-Commodore of the Société Nautique de GenÁ¨ve (SNG) said ‘This is a venue that offers perfect weather and great sailing conditions for a Match in February; the authorities have shown tremendous interest in, and support for hosting the America’s Cup. They will make a purpose-built island available at the Al Hamra Village in Ras al-Khaimah to provide the America’s Cup teams, sponsors and fans with an outstanding venue. ‘

‘We looked everywhere for a venue that suited having good racing for the Match dates in February. We had trained in the UAE in the winter with Alinghi before and in the end we settled on Ras al-Khaimah in particular because of the infrastructure in Al Hamra Village and because it has a great building sea breeze during the day, similar to Mediterranean conditions in the summer, making it good for these boats and safe for all concerned.’

Had the GGYC not tried to ‘win’ the America’s Cup through the American Law courts instead of on the water, then in all likelihood, the event would have returned to Valencia for a Summer racing series. However, their court actions have forced the holders of the dead into running a winter series. When asked if the negative publicity of being associated with trying to win the cup though the courts and not in a fair race, BMW, have only said that someone from their PR department would be in touch, however 90-days after asking, they have not!

Maybe those living on the Costa Blanca will think twice about purchasing a new BMW, as in part, BMW’s sponsorship money, has driven the series away from Valencia, along with millions of tourists, investments and a much needed boost to the economy.

Valencia Sponsors:

Valencia Info

Americas Cup Official Site

Property in Valencia City

Property near Valencia

© Keith Nicol 2009

Please email Keith Nicol for further information.

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