A chance to see the Americas Cup teams on the water. While their New York legal teams squabble over amicus briefs and pedantic interpretations of the Deed of Gift, 10 teams will fight it out in Auckland, New Zealand. The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series confirmed today that ten international teams from nine countries will match race on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour for a special trophy created by Louis Vuitton. Racing starts on 30th January and will continue for the next two weeks.
“We are delighted at the overwhelming response to our concept of a friendly series for top level international teams,” said Yves Carcelle, Chairman of Louis Vuitton. “We started with the hope that six teams would race and to attract ten top entries at such short notice is a great achievement. This will be the most outstanding gathering of international sailing teams since the Louis Vuitton Cup in Auckland in 2003.”
Crews will take turns in racing one-on-one in New Zealand’s NZL 92 and NZL 84 and BMW Oracle Racing’s USA 87 and USA 98. The two American boats were offloaded from their transport ship just before Christmas and a team of 30 Kiwi and American shore crew members worked throughout the holiday period to prepare the boats for racing. The work included changes to the rigs and sail plans to make each pair of boats as equal as possible. There will be six races each day on the Waitemata off North Head, readily visible to spectators ashore and afloat. There will be a daily draw to decide which yacht competing teams will sail that day. Renowned international race officer Peter “Luigi” Reggio will fly to Auckland to head the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s race committee.
The Teams are
- Emirates Team NZ (New Zealand). Dean Barker will skipper and take the helm for the home team.
- Luna Rossa (Italy) Semi-finalist in Valencia, will have Peter Holmberg as its skipper and helmsman.
- BMW Oracle Racing (USA). Hometown boy Russell Coutts will skipper.
- K-Challenge (France). Sébastien Col coming off a great 2008 in the World Match Racing Tour will helm the boat.
- TEAMORIGIN (UK). Two 2008 Gold Medalists on board. Ben Ainslie as Skipper and Iain Percy as tactician.
- China Team (China). Two-time World Match Racing Tour champion Ian Williams has signed on as skipper.
- Team Shosholoza (RSA). Italy’s Paolo Cian, who until recently was third in the ISAF Match Racing world rankings, is skipper and helmsman.
- Damiani Italia (Italy). Is a new team from Circolo Canottieri Aniene and Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria.
- Greek Challenge (Greece), Started by Sotiris Buseas.
- Alinghi (Switzerland). Auckland’s Brad Butterworth is skipper and tactician for Alinghi. American Ed Baird will again take the helm for the Swiss.
CNEV are notably absent from the competition.