WSTA Kills Hong Kong Louis Vuitton Trophy Event.

The series that was designed to give America’s Cup teams something to do between protocols has been wound up. The World Sailing Teams Association, together with Louis Vuitton and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club have announced that the Hong Kong event, which was to be raced in January 2011, will not go ahead.

There is some doubt as to whether the final event in Dubai will go ahead either, though the success of last week’s 1851 Cup exhibition match between TEAMORIGIN and BMW ORACLE indicates that the Dubai regatta might provide a fitting finale and send off for the Version 5 America’s Cup boats.

The World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA), a partnership between several America’s Cup teams and Louis Vuitton, will now probably now morph into some kind of challenger organisation, though not all teams who would seek to compete in the next America’s Cup have paid the WSTA dues.

The collapse of the WSTA and the Louis Vuitton Trophy was perhaps inevitable, though things might have been different had Alinghi won the 33rd Cup. Once the America’s Cup process was back on track, the teams involved would focus their resources on their preparations for the 34th America’s Cup. The opportunistic nature of the regattas might have been known internally in the Cup community, but to some outsiders, the Louis Vuitton Trophy looks like yet another failed attempt to create a top level world tour in sailing. This is especially disappointing, since the LVT diverted resources from more established regattas and events.

The press release from the WSTA says:

Now, the America’s Cup is back on track as a multi-team event with fair rules managed by a neutral authority and multiple America’s Cup Championship regattas culminating in the next Match. The new holder of the America’s Cup, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, will confirm the venue of the 34th America’s Cup, and timing (2014 or 2013) later this year. A South East Asia venue is under consideration for one of these ACC regattas.

It will be interesting to see if the WSTA ever release any metrics about the three Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas. While the New Zealand event capitalised on a national passion for the sport, the European events didn’t seem to generate the same amount of interest or coverage. Trying to maintain momentum through a 2 week event format never really worked and the scary thing is that these are the same people who are promising revolution in the 34th America’s Cup.

We wait to see if the Dubai event happens. . .

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