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A very modern fleet conquers Venice


The America's Cup fleet sailed into the Grand Canal, in front of Venice's St Mark's Square, yesterday as the event nears its end.

The event, in the waters of the Italian city, will close tomorrow. It is one of several venues for the America's Cup World Series, which features tight, short racecourses designed to deliver close racing.

At its narrowest, the course is only 140 metres wide, meaning at times crews would barely have trimmed a sail before they had to make another manoeuvre.

But the smaller field of play makes for incredible spectator opportunities, with hundreds of boats lining the course, and thousands more taking in the action from the shore.

The regatta includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing. The AC45 yachts are able to sail at speeds of over 35mph.

Other venues have included San Diego in the US, Cascais in Portugal and Plymouth in the UK.

The America's Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport, and was originally awarded in 1851. It attracts the world's top sailors and yacht designers, as well as the involvement of wealthy entrepreneurs and sponsors.