Madrid the Latest City to Use Sailing to Promote Tourism

It’s one thing to run an America’s Cup campaign from a country with no coast, it’s another thing to run a GP42 team from a city with barely any water at all. More and more, cities and countries are seeing sailing as a way to attract tourists.

The GP42 “Madrid about Sailing” 2009 team was presented on Wednesday in the offices of Madrid’s Tourist promotion agency. Skippered and helmed by Olympic gold medalist José Maria Van der Ploeg, the GP42 yacht will compete in a second season of the GP42 circuit. The Spanish capital’s government is using their sponsorship to promote itself as a tourist destination but also reinforce its campaign to host the 2016 summer Olympics.

This comes days after the news that Andalucia would host a round of the iShares Cup for the next five years, also in a bid to promote tourism.

The MADRID GP42 yacht is a 2008-generation Botin & Carkeek design and was built at the Longitud Cero boatyard. As Van der Ploeg indicated she underwent significant modifications this winter and will race in the 2009 season with a new mast and rigging, designed by naval architect Iñigo Toledo of Barracuda Yacht Desing. Toledo was also in charge of the technical co-ordination during the design and construction of Desafío Español’s ESP-88 and ESP-97 racing yachts in the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia.

The MADRID GP42 team will participate in the 2009 AUDI Medcup circuit as well as the Copa del Rey in Palma and the GP42 World Championship in Cascais next fall.