Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Part 1

Oct 15, 2008 11 Comments by

TEAMORIGIN ADVANCE TO QUARTER FINALS

WITH A DECISIVE WIN OVER PATAUGAS K CHALLENGE

LOUIS VUITTON PACIFIC SERIES: AUCKLAND

TUES 10th FEB 2009

Today racing turned serious as the Challenger Sail-off round starts – a  ‘sudden death/knock out’ format comes into play where we will go from 8 teams in the competition to the final 3 (with ETNZ and Alinghi already 2 of them). The programme schedule was to hold 5 races today but the fickle wind only allowed two races to be completed: the two sail offs between China Team and Luna Rossa and then TEAMORIGIN vs Pataugas K Challenge. The winners of these two races move to the Quarter Finals to take on Damiani Italia and BMW Oracle respectively. And after that to the semi-final to decide who will meet Alinghi in the ‘Challenger Final.’

Wind was light and variable with shifty and testing conditions for these sudden death races. The first race kicked off with Luna Rossa awarded a pre-start penalty but winning the start. China Team needed to keep their nose clean and stay close enough to their competitor. Luna Rossa led around the first mark but the distance was only 80m, really they needed at least 120m distance clear ahead to get their penalty in and stay ahead so they had plenty on.

Meanwhile 10 minutes later the warning signal for race two was fired. TEAMORIGIN won the start from K Challenge starting right by the committee boat and with the choice of where they wanted to go. It was neck and neck however up the first beat, TEAMORIGIN marginally ahead but really close and the right side perhaps not paying off as much as TEAMORIGIN would have hoped. This race was in BMW Oracle boats and this was TEAMORIGIN’s first time racing in these boats whereas K Challenge had had plenty of experience in racing them in the earlier rounds.

TEAMORIGIN led around the first mark by only 8 seconds but appeared to have a problem with the spinnaker hoist and K Challenge managed to hoist faster and started to roll over them, TEAMORIGIN then got their kite sorted and luffed K Challenge 3 times with the French spinnaker halyard dropping, jib still up, flags flying and eventually K Challenge were awarded a penalty by the umpires for not keeping clear.

The drama was not over yet as the TEAMORIGIN spinnaker halyard seemed to be a few feet off the top, they gybed across and headed up to take the stern of K Challenge and headed for the right hand side. K Challenge took the lead again momentarily (but with a penalty) and TEAMORIGIN headed for the right and eventually moved into the lead.

TEAMORIGIN lead around bottom gate but still only 18m in it so by no means game over. They headed up the beat carefully covering the French and managed to get back into a controlling position. Ben and the boys lead around top mark and headed downwind to the finish line managing to extend to nearly 100m and crossed the line in a winning position to move into the quarter finals to meet Damiani Italia.

Meanwhile the other race had turned into a thrilling match. Luna Rossa had extended down the last run with a 150m lead, potentially enough of a lead to allow them to do their penalty turn and still finish ahead of the China Team. They dropped their kite literally on the line and did their turn with Ian Williams and China Team powered up behind and passing between the committee boat and Luna Rossa who by that stage were tacked but stalled. It really was a photo finish and everyone held their breath until the race committee announced the winner was Luna Rossa by a mere 1m and 1 second!  Game over for China Team who after only a couple of weeks have managed to race competitively against the best of the teams here and look like they will be a force to contend with in the future.

After a long delay with the wind and rain squalls preventing the race committee to move on to further races, all action was cancelled for the day at 4.15pm and the teams headed back to base.

Results Sail off

Team Profile Damiani Italia

One of Italy’s most successful sailors, Vasco Vascotto, is the skipper and tactician of the newly formed Damiani Italia Challenge.

Vascotto, who has won 16 world titles world in different sailing classes, is also the Team Director, with the collaboration of Francesco Bruni, an Italian sailor with several international titles to his credit and a veteran of two America’s Cup challenges.

“One of our objectives is to put together a completely Italian team,” Vascotto said. “It’s a name that certainly gives us a strong sense of responsibility but we actually chose it because we believe unconditionally in the potential of Italian sailing. ”

The two clubs who have created the new team share a strong yachting history that is more than a century old.

Rome’s Circolo Canottieri Aniene was founded in 1892, while Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria started in Palermo in 1902.

“We have to get back to the old form”

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series now enters a new stage – the challengers go into a round of knockout races while Emirates Team New Zealand starts preparing for the final.

Emirates Team New Zealand goes through to the series final which starts on Friday. Alinghi, by winning the second round robin has qualified for the challenger finals which will decide which team goes up against ETNZ. The “knock-out” sail-off will determine Alinghi’s opponent.

Monday was a bad day on the water for Emirates Team New Zealand, finishing round robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series with three losses.

Grant Dalton said: “We didn’t start well … but after that we sailed OK. I have absolutely no worry with our crew work. It is great, but we have seen throughout this regatta that a bad start can be the beginning of the end.

“Add into the mix a couple of shifts that go the wrong way and there’s little chance of recovery against opposition that good.”

On today’s 27sec loss to Oracle, skipper Dean Barker said:  “We have to stop making the silly little mistakes that have been the story of our second round robin performance.

“The pre-start is all about crucial decisions at critical stages. We had Oracle in a lot of trouble but gave them a chance to break out of it. We could easily have had the left, I chose to make it harder for them and it backfired.

“Then we didn’t get all the shifts we needed and that meant we had no opportunity to find a passing lane.”

Barker is confident the team can turn it around for the final. “We will spend some time de-briefing – examine what’s working and what’s not.   Whoever we end up racing in the final will be pretty hot.  We’ve got the guys and the ability to turn things around. We’re not happy about making mistakes, but learning from those mistakes will make us stronger for the finals.”

At the post-race press conference  BMW Oracle Racing skipper Russell Coutts summed up the series so far: “One of the great things about this regatta is that we have seen that all these teams are competitive. They all can win races.

“I feel that this is a fantastic feature of this event. The racing is so close, so intense, it’s an open event now. Any of the teams still competing could win this event.

“The key to being successful is being consistently good and that’s the challenge for all the teams. … and it will be tough to have that consistency in a format like this.”

Dalton’s last word:

“Today we were not sharp enough. We have to get back to the old form.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, 9th February, 2009

Cup Racers are Ready for Challenger Sail-off

Auckland, NZ – Racing in the Challenger Sail-off stage of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup takes place on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour tomorrow following the completion of Gold Fleet competition today.

Two sudden-death races will be sailed to decide which boats will go through to complete the lineup for the challenger quarter finals.

In competition today, Switzerland’s Alinghi won her fourth Gold Fleet race to cement her already-confirmed top seeding and an automatic berth in the challenger final. She won handily against the Italian boat Luna Rossa.

Newcomer Damiani Italia Challenge scored an upset victory over British Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie on TEAMORIGIN after he broke the start line and had to return to restart. The victory guaranteed Damiani a place in the first quarter final on Wednesday

Host team Emirates Team New Zealand sailed in their final race before taking their place as a Louis Vuitton Pacific Series finalist next Saturday but succumbed to their old nemesis Russell Coutts at the wheel of BMW Oracle Racing. Oracle’s win took them to a berth in the other quarter final on Wednesday.

TEAMORIGIN will race tomorrow against France’s seventh-seeded Pataugas K-Challenge to decide the quarter finalist to meet Damiani Italia Challenge. In the other match, Luna Rossa will race against sixth-seeded China Team for the right to race against BMW Oracle Racing in the other quarter final.

The eighth and ninth seeds, Greek Challenge and Team Shosholoza sailed their final match today to determine their final placing in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. The newcomer Greek Team, skippered by Kiwi Gavin Brady won, to place ninth overall. The South African Team Shosholoza with Italian match racer Paolo Cian at the helm is tenth overall.

Team Profile Luna Rossa

The popular Italian team Luna Rossa, founded by Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli, returns to Auckland for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in 2009.

The Luna Rossa team welcomed the invitation to participate in the Series with enthusiasm; excited by the chance to return to New Zealand after enjoyable campaigns in 2000 and 2003.

They will be without their boat, nick-named ‘the Silver Bullet’ by Kiwis, and have a revised crew, featuring new Italian and international talents alongside established Luna Rossa members from the previous campaigns.

The strong afterguard includes match racing champion Peter Holmberg from the Virgin Islands as skipper and helmsman.

Brazilian Robert Scheidt, a four-time Olympic medallist, is second helmsman while Andy Horton and Mark Mendelblatt (both from the USA) are the tactician and strategist.

The team is supported by the club Yacht Club Italiano from Genoa for this event.

TEAMORIGIN MOVE FORWARD INTO CHALLENGER SAIL-OFF

IN 4TH SEED POSITION

MON 9TH FEB 2009

TEAMORIGIN completed Round Robin two today after a controversial race against Damiani Italia and move into the Challenger Sail-Off Round in 4th seed position to meet Patuagas K Challenge (7th Seed) tomorrow morning. With two teams now out of the competition (Greek Challenge and Shosholosa), the next 5 days will be action packed where we will see the competitors go from seven in number down to one overall winner.

Today was the last day of the second Round Robin and the wind decided to play ball. Race one of the day was between Alinghi and Luna Rossa and Alinghi took a decisive win leaving them with an impressive maximum 4 points from Round Robin 2.

The second race of the day was the sail off for 8th and 9th place between the Greek Challenge and Shosholosa. A challenging pre-start manoeuvre allowed the Greeks to push Shosholosa away from the start line allowing them a significant advantage off the line. Although Shosholosa made an impressive come-back during the race, the Greeks took victory and secured 8th position overall in the event.

Race three was scheduled to be the final race in RR2 for TEAMORIGIN, up against Damiani Italia helmed by Vasco Vascotto. Like TEAMORIGIN, this new team has impressed many with its performance so far in this event taking wins in RR2 from Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa. This race would decide which of these two teams would finish in 3rd or 4th seed position. The 3rd seed winner would advance directly to the Quarter Finals and the 4th seed would sail Pataugas K Challenge (7th seed) tomorrow morning and would have to win that race if they are to make it to the Quarter Finals.

The warning gun was fired at 2pm and both boats moved together quickly with TEAMORIGIN holding Damiani head to wind showing impressive control. A green flag was waved by the umpires following some shouting as both boats moved astern. The Brits continued to manage the start efficiently and held the controlling position, approaching the line in good shape and with pace on. TEAMORIGIN looked to set for another perfectly judged start and much to everyone’s surprise a double gun was fired to signify that TEAMORIGIN were uncharacteristically deemed to be over the line. This meant they had turn back to get behind the line and re-start giving the Italians an important 80m lead off the start.

TEAMORIGIN were going to give it all they had to get back into this race after such a costly decision and headed upwind at max pace. In match racing, the start counts for so much and having to play catch up is not easy for any team. Damiani have shown themselves to be an impressive group and so would make sure they made no mistakes to allow TEAMORIGIN to regain control.

At the top mark, Damiani led round by 148m. TEAMORIGIN pushed hard downwind appearing to sail higher and at a more heated angle and managed to close the gap to 120m. Round the bottom gate the two teams headed upwind for the last time, Damiani being careful to cover and protect their lead. TEAMORIGIN managed to head out to the left hand layline and gain a bit of separation and gap closed down to an enticing 50m putting them right back in the race. With only a 13 second gap between them at the top mark, the TEAMORIGIN boys threw everything they had at it trying to entice errors from the Italians but they were having none of it and kept their cool crossing the finish line 23 seconds ahead.

TEAMORIGIN’s efforts to get a hearing for redress after receiving favourable photographic evidence showing that they were possibly on the right side of the start line was thrown out due to a technicality which was disappointing.

LVPS Results Day 5


TeamOrigin by 6 seconds

TEAMORIGIN SCORE AN IMPRESSIVE WIN AGAINST EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND IN THEIR HOME WATERS

SUN 8TH FEB 2009

Day Four of Round Robin two proved to be a long day on the water but worth waiting for with the TEAMORIGIN boys taking a 6 second race win against the home team, Emirates Team New Zealand, and Ben Ainslie and his team showing form against his old team mate, Dean Barker.

Race one of the day saw Damiani Italia with Vasco Vascotto take a win over fellow Italian team, Luna Rossa, giving them their first point of this RR2 series of racing.

Race two was the much awaited Alinghi vs. BMW Oracle race, promising some interesting action between these two top teams. Unfortunately the wind died and only filled in around 3.30pm so the teams and the extensive spectator fleet faced a long delay on the water. The warning signal was eventually fired at 4.20pm in a nice steady 12-15 knot south westerly breeze.

Alinghi took the win by 32 seconds following a nail biting race that Ed Baird and his team lead from the start but Russell Coutts and BMW Oracle threw everything at it. Distances at mark roundings were as little as 12 seconds and even as late as the last downwind leg, the two teams were neck and neck with Russell keeping in close contact with the BMW Oracle team. This win gives Alinghi 3 points for this round and ensures them a place in the Challenger sail-off.

Race three finally got underway at 6.20pm in a beautiful Auckland evening and perfect 15 knot wind and it was time for TEAMORIGIN to take to the stage to race against the home team, Emirates Team New Zealand. As ETNZ are holders of the Louis Vuitton Trophy from June 2007, they have an automatic place in the finals of this event so races against them do not count for any points but TEAMORIGIN saw this race as a great opportunity to line up against this experienced team and continue their learning curve.

Following some initial dialling up, both teams lined up coming in towards the committee boat end of the start line with TEAMORIGIN holding the ETNZ boat up to weather and leading off the start line by a narrow 8m margin.

The first beat saw both boats heading upwind neck and neck but with TEAMORIGIN in a controlling position and Dean Barker pushing hard and throwing in multiple tacks which TEAMORIGIN matched tack for tack. The distance between the two teams varied from 20m to 90m with the wind shifting but Ben and the team doing an impressive job in keeping in the controlling position.

TEAMORIGIN led around the first windward mark by a narrow but important 12 seconds and the chase was on. Gybe for gybe the pair headed downwind, ETNZ appeared to be trying to draw TEAMORIGIN into a gybing duel perhaps hoping that they might be able to force some errors on this new team but it was not to be.

By the first leeward gate, TEAMORIGIN dropped their spinnaker first and headed for right hand gate and ETNZ followed in, with only a 10 second gap between them round the mark. Both tacked immediately on the mark and headed up the beat again tack for tack, with TEAMORIGIN holding the lead by around 60m.

TEAMORIGIN seemed to pull ahead following tacks by both teams and extended to 100m but with ETNZ not giving up easily. Remember that both Ainslie and Barker were tune up partners in the last America’s Cup and know each other’s moves inside out so this pair were watching each others moves intently.

With both teams playing the game up the middle of the pitch, ETNZ continued to try to reel them back in and TEAMORIGIN continued to hold a controlling and covering position – but still all to play for. Ben and his team did a really nice job staying strong and steady. The New Zealanders pushed hard and managed to close up again to a 30m distance. Both reached the left hand layline, and TEAMORIGIN pulled out again benefitting from a lift in the wind to stretch their lead to 86m, both heading in to the top mark for last time.

TEAMORIGIN led round the windward mark and held a distance of 80m safely around heading downwind for the last time, still not home and dry but as from the start in a controlling position. Both headed downwind pretty much straight down the line on the same tack, the lead stretching to over 90 metres. ETNZ threw in a gybe and TEAMORIGIN followed suit, matching the chasing team. An impressive job by the TEAMORIGIN boys in maintaining their lead over this hugely experienced home team.

ETNZ threw in another gybe and TEAMORIGIN followed again, these gybes absolutely critical to both teams as even a tiny error could cost everything. Two further gybes and TEAMORIGIN matching perfectly. Further gybing put them under pressure and the gap narrowed down slightly. ETNZ definitely pushing to try to get into an advantageous position given the experience they have, the margin narrowed down to 40m – guaranteeing another thrilling finish.

Closing to under 30m, really all still to play for. ETNZ gybed across and TEAMORIGIN carried on to the line, 23m between them. TEAMORIGIN take the win by a mere but impressive 7 seconds.

Mike Sanderson, Team Director, commented after this exciting race, “What a great race. It was a long day on the water and then we had to jump on board and get into it straight away. We had a really good race together as a team, still a long way to go but a nice feeling to get a win in this race. Although our score tally might imply that we have not had as good a week as Round Robin one, we are definitely sailing a lot better as a team and if we keep improving at this rate, we hope to be in this regatta for a while yet.”

TEAMORIGIN are certainly creating waves here in Auckland, having sailed 8 races they have only lost 2 and of the 2 they lost, they were in a leading position for most of those race so a really impressive performance by this exciting team after such little time together!!


Results and standings from the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Day Nine
(day four of Round Robin Two)

Gold Fleet Races

Damiani Italia vs Luna Rossa
Damiani Italia won by 1 minute and 42 seconds

Alinghi vs BMW Oracle
Alinghi won by 26 seconds

Emirates Team New Zealand vs TeamOrigin
TeamOrigin won by 6 seconds
TeamOrigin do not gain a point for the win

Gold Fleet Standings
Emirates Team New Zealand   2
BMW Oracle Racing               2
Damiani Italia                           1
TeamOrigin                             0.5
Alinghi                                     3
Luna Rossa                             0

One day of racing remains for the gold fleet – after this Alinghi will go straight through to the Challenger Final while the other teams will enter a quarter-final knock-out round with China Team and K-Challange included. Team NZ will not participate in the quarter-finals but go straight to the Series final where they will meet the winner of the Challanger Final (Alinghi vs the Challenger).

Silver Fleet Standings
K-Challenge                          2
China Team                           3
Team Shosholoza                   0
Greek Challenge                    1

Silver Fleet round robin two has now been completed.
China Team and K-Challenge go through to the quatrer-finals while Team Shosholoza and Greek Challenge race off for ninth and tenth place.

Big Sook

Dean is just a… “big sook” .., comments from Brad Butterworth about Team New Zealand’s reaction to Alinghi doing the big No Show, saying they had more to lose than gain from racing Emirates Team New Zealand.

Alinghi have shocked organisers and fans at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series by controversially pulling out of their much-anticipated clash with Team New Zealand on Saturday afternoon.

On the day that Alinghi’s boss Ernesto Bertarelli arrived in Auckland, it was announced that Alinghi had decided not to sail for tactical reasons.

The structure of the event means that teams racing against Emirates Team New Zealand do not gain points in the round robin.

With Alinghi safe on two points it is believed they did not want to risk incurring penalty points as BMW Oracle and TeamOrigin did in their race on Friday.

The reasoning that it was not beneficial for them to race will be of little comfort to the many fans out on the water and dotted around Auckland’s shore line for a good view.

The two teams haven’t met since the 2007 America’s Cup where Alinghi defeated Team New Zealand 5-2 in the finals series.

Team New Zealand went out and correctly completed their pre-start on their own and then were able to abandon the race once Alinghi did not cross the start line.

The repeated gold fleet race between TeamOrigin and Luna Rossa produced the closest finish of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series so far.

It was a tight, intense battle right throughout the race with the lead changing several times and the British team only winning by four seconds.

The gold fleet race originally started at 3.15pm after a lack of wind delayed all the racing but it had to be abandoned when neither boat reached the first mark within the twenty minute time limit although TeamOrigin had a strong lead at that point.

The race was re-started on a re-positioned course close to the shore off Cheltenham Beach and North Head.

TeamOrigin had a slight advantage on the first leg but Luna Rossa sailed into strong winds and surged back to take the lead.

Both crews were conservative at the second mark, dropping their gennakers very early when approaching and clearly desperate not to make a mistake.

At the bottom gate, Luna Rossa went left while TeamOrigin took the right with Luna Rossa coming out ahead by 10 seconds.
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The Italians came very close around the third mark and kept TeamOrigin out despite Ben Ainslie attempting to sneak through.

The British team appeared to possibly make contact with the marker buoy but there was no penalty and they recovered quickly with a good hoist.

TeamOrigin then pushed ahead to a 50 metre lead on the final leg after some quick crew work.

Peter Holmberg’s crew came back at them and fought hard right down to the line with TeamOrigin just holding on to win by mere seconds.

TeamOrigin now have half a point while Luna Rossa have none.

Team Profile

ONE SportShosholoza in action

South Africa’s Team Shosholoza use the slogan “the soul of sailing” to inspire themselves and their many ardent fans.

They have joined the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series after making history in Valencia in 2007 as the first-ever challenger from the African continent in the history of sailing’s most prestigious contest.

Italy’s Paolo Cian will be on board in Auckland as skipper and helmsman and he is also the manager of the team.

Cian, and fellow Italian Tomasso Chieffi as tactician, were among those who brought professional expertise to the fledgling team in Valencia who were mostly made up of amateur club sailors at that point.

Skipper Cian is bringing his professional crew from the 2008 World Match Racing Tour and South African and Italian sailors will make up the team with Italian the official onboard language.

The only Kiwi on board for the event is Cameron Appleton who will utilise his critical local knowledge of the Auckland course as strategist for Shosholoza.

Shosholoza’s home club is the Royal Cape Yacht Club which was founded in 1905 as the Table Bay Yacht Club.

SHIFTY CONDITIONS COST TEAMORIGIN THE RACE AGAINST ALINGHI:

TEAM FACES FIRST RACE LOSS DESPITE HOLDING THE LEAD FOR MOST OF THE RACE

THURSDAY 5TH FEB 09

Round Robin 2 kicked off today here in Auckland at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. TEAMORIGIN was scheduled for first race of the day against Alinghi, the Defenders of the America’s Cup, to be sailed in Emirates TNZ boats.

Following a delay whilst the breeze built and steadied, the warning signal was eventually fired at 1315 and racing got underway in a perfect 8-10 knot breeze. The start was surprisingly uneventful with the two teams seeming to keep their distance and aim for a good start. TEAMORIGIN clearly favoured the left and started at the pin with good pace, with Alinghi just metres behind positioned in the middle of the line.

Both headed out on starboard with TEAMORIGIN taking out a small lead of 7-10m. Eventually Alinghi tacked off and TEAMORIGIN followed quite after, seeming to hold their line and height well stretching to a lead of 41m but all still pretty close. Following a number of tacks by both teams bouncing off to both sides of the course and TEAMORIGIN eventually took the lead around the first windward mark by 15 seconds only.

The first downwind leg saw TEAMORIGIN hold out on one side leading to a separation of nearly 500m at one stage. They eventually converged at the first leeward gate they split marks with TEAMORIGIN leading round by 20 seconds. Both headed out to the left hand side, with TEAMORIGIN’s steady lead hovering around 55m. At the top of the beat there were plenty of tacks by both teams narrowing the lead to 30m. Approaching the final windward mark, Alinghi appeared to purposefully overstand the mark and approach at speed to try to get an inside overlap on TEAMORIGIN and get an advantage at the mark but TEAMORIGIN managed to stay clear ahead and round in front by only 8 seconds, agonisingly close!

The final downwind went gybe for gybe and TEAMORIGIN seemed to have them covered but during the bottom third of the run, Alinghi appeared to gain some extra pressure and speed and they closed right up. When the two converged, Alinghi was ahead by a few metres and kept their pressure to cross the line 15 seconds ahead of TEAMORIGIN and snatch the win at the last moment.

Lady Maureen Mills, wife of Team Principal Sir Keith Mills, experienced her first time as 18th ‘woman’ today and gave us her impressions, “The most terrifying moment was the rib ride over to the race boat and the rest was easy. I was very impressed by the teamwork and sense of quiet and calm on the boat. Also the lack of swearing!!”

Andrew Simpson, Strategist with the team added his thoughts on today’s race, “It was a really close race and we made a few mistakes, not ideal on Ben’s birthday too! We were racing against top team with a lot more experience than us, they kept the race tight and never let us get away from them and were ready to pounce even at the last minute. Onwards and upwards for tomorrow.”

The day produced a number of other form changes with Damiani Italia beating the, as yet unbeaten, Emirates Team New Zealand and the China Team scoring their first race win against Shosholosa.

Other results from day one of RR2:

Alinghi 1 : TEAMORIGIN 0

K Challenge 1 : Greek Challenge 0

Damiani Italia 1 : Emirates TNZ 0

China Team 1 : Shosholosa 0

BMW Oracle 1 : Luna Rossa 0

China Team have picked up their first win of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series  by 55 seconds with Shosholoza having a major gear failure.

The pre-start was tentative compared to the early tussles of the races so far.

Shosholoza started slightly behind but had the right-hand side while China looked too early but hit the line perfectly.

By the first mark China Team had a 20 second lead but Shosholoza fought back and were very close at the second mark.

The crucial moment was the rounding of the third mark.

The boats were close with China around first but producing a poor joist.

Shosholoza looked ready to pounce but tore their gennaker and and then compunded their problems.
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The Chinese boat stayed calm and headed away in 10 to 12 knot winds while the South Africans struggled to get the tore gennaker down and the spare one up.

They failed to get the big sail under control and eventually ended up dropping it and trailing it behind them.

They got their spare gennaker up, had the mainsail full and dropped the genoa but with the torn gennaker still being towed they seemingly could not cut the halyard to get free of it

The chase boat eventually cut the line and picked up the sail but by then China Team were over 200 metres ahead and the race was effectively won.

The Chinese boat, helmed by Britain’s Ian Williams, sailed calmly throughout the last beat and picked up their first win of this regatta by a margin of 55 seconds.

Thursday’s racing in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has been delayed until after midday.

Conditions out on the water have been deemed unsuitable for the first race of the second round robin to begin.

A decision will be made around noon but forecasts suggest racing should be able to begin around 1pm.

In round robin two, teams have been split into two groups – gold and silver.

The top six through round robin one make up the gold fleet while the bottom two contest the silver.

Team New Zealand races the Italian syndicate Damiani Italia in their opening gold fleet race.

Thursday 5th February – Round Robin Two begins

Racing postponed due to lack of wind – hope to start at 12.30 – 1.00 pm

Today’s Course – TBA

Today’s Races:

1. Alinghi v Team Origin

2. Pataugas K-Challenge v Greek Challenge

3. Damiani Italia Challenge v Emirates Team NZ

4. Team Shosholoza v China Team

5. BMW Oracle Racing v Luna Rossa

Frontrunners Team New Zealand and Britain’s Team Origin agree: improvement in crew performance will be key to winning the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series yachting regatta.

After a rest day on Wednesday, racing resumes off Auckland on Thursday with the start of the second round robin, the field having been split into a six-strong gold fleet and a four-strong silver fleet.

Team NZ and Origin, unbeaten in the first round robin, are joined in the top tier by Americans Oracle Racing, America’s Cup holders Alinghi of Switzerland and the Italian syndicates of Italia Challenge and Luna Rossa.

For Team NZ managing director Grant Dalton, the next five days are about continuing along the road to regaining the fluency his crew had at the 2007 America’s Cup in Spain.

“It’s a long time since we’ve raced competitively and we’re still a bit bumpy around the course,” he said.

“It just doesn’t feel smooth like it did when we finished in Valencia.”

At the same time, Dalton was happy with how Team NZ went during the first round robin, when they were unbeaten in four races.

He said the new combination in the afterguard was gelling well and personnel on other parts of the boat were putting their hands up as well.

Dalton also gave skipper Dean Barker plenty of praise for his work at the helm.

“He’s confident and he’s starting well — he’s won every start,” he said.

“I’m biased, I’m a huge Dean fan. He’s sailing really well and he’s combining really well with these guys. As the guys mature in this team, he’s starting to get a lot more help and input.”

Dalton added that it was way too early to predict that Team NZ, who have direct entry into the final of February 13-14, would meet Origin there.

The likes of Oracle, Alinghi and Luna Rossa definitely remained in the mix.

Origin, a new syndicate, have been one of the surprises of the regatta so far, matching Team NZ’s four-from-four record.

They are skippered by former Team NZ back-up helmsman Ben Ainslie, Britain most successful Olympic sailor with four medals, three of them gold.

Ainslie said his crew had done “a brilliant job” so far after having had little preparation time.

“We’re very happy, but the secret is going to be how the teams develop moving into the second part of the event,” he said.

“Winning races becomes more important so there’s a long way to go.”

Ainslie said the evenness of the boats provided by Team NZ and Oracle put a premium on crew work and the quality of the opposing teams meant one mistake could prove fatal.

“We’re delighted with the way this first week has gone but we have to build on that momentum now and keep improving,” he said.

“That’s the key to this event. The team that improves the most will be the team that wins.”

After the second round robin, Team NZ will sit on the sidelines until the final.

The other crews in the gold fleet, seeded according to results, will go into a sailoff to determine who will join them there.

The top two crews from the silver fleet will also take part in the sailoff.

oops, is this thread drift? I love this game :)

Valencia Sailing

BMW Oracle’s trimaran tests continue in San Diego

While the absolute majority of the world’s top sailors is gathered in Auckland for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, one is absent. He is currently across the Pacific, on the US west coast, putting more hours on the helm of a monster trimaran. We are obviously referring to James Spithill, BMW Oracle’s main helmsman, currently steering the 90ft trimaran during its second phase of trials.

Our friend on the spot, Goli, sent us three interesting photos as well as his usual “unscientific” report when he followed the trimaran on Tuesday. According to him, the yacht sailed later than usual that day because there were some crew changes due to illnesses, although he didn’t clarify on that issue.

Sailing took place under quite light conditions, 10 knots of wind maximum, and flat seas. While trying to keep pace with the yacht he assessed she was sailing at more than 25 knots.

One thing was for sure though, Alinghi’s spy tender was nowhere to be seen.

photo courtesy of Goli and Darall of bayshots.com who provided both the tender and the camera.

Innerview

The Boss Speaks

Speaking of Dalton, Krispy Kreme is our gal on the spot at in Auckland and she had a chance to sit down with TNZ’s Grant Dalton for this video interview. Damn, we should have gotten a Peter Montgomery question or two in!

He is a titanium being, and much like the metal – rare, honed fine to take on the toughest jobs on the planet, and unbreakable.  He is physically and mentally extremely fit, and has X-Ray vision that can see into the makeup of a man in a nanosecond.  Perhaps he really is a genetic relation to Superman.  He has taken on some tough tasks, feet first – and succeeded.  The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has brought the Viaduct back to life, brought racing to spectators on the shore, gotten AC boats out racing again, introduced a new racing coverage format, all of which have gone to show how viable the format of the LVPS can be, and how quickly such an event can be put together.

I’d been warned by his press officer that should I do something stupid with him it would only happen once.  He is a precise man and will quickly correct any factual error you might make.  Very self aware, you would need to be so as well to get on with him, because one thing that is readily apparent the second you meet him – he has a very sensitive bullshit meter.  Only the passionate, convicted, talented, but humble need apply for a position in his organization…. more here

.…several handles of the more prolific posters in the AC forum he knew by name.  He thinks a few folks on SA need to get a life! He’s not wrong…

Shosholoza thrash Alinghi by 3:49

Team New Zealand and Britain’s Team Origin continued on their winning ways, but it was Team Shosholoza who produced the star turn in yachting’s Louis Vuitton Pacific Series on Tuesday.

The South African syndicate, who had been winless going into the fifth day of the regatta off Auckland, opened their account with a shock victory over America’s Cup holders Alinghi.

It wasn’t so much the result, but the manner in which the South Africans downed their Swiss rivals, skippered by New Zealander Brad Butterworth, that was notable.

Shosholoza’s Italian skipper, Paulo Cian, and his crew dominated the start, getting the side they wanted, timing their run to the line with precision and crossing at speed.

They then read the light, shifty conditions superbly to increase their lead to more than 200m up the first beat.

Alinghi’s problems were compounded when they sailed into a hole at the bottom mark and then had trouble with their spinnaker drop.

On the final run, Shosholoza moved ahead by more than 1km, a massive gap given that the courses being used are much shorter than for the America’s Cup.

The final margin was three minutes 49 seconds, the biggest by far of the regatta so far.

Cian heaped praised on his tactician and strategist, compatriot Tomasso Chieffi and New Zealander Cameron Appleton respectively.

“They did an amazing job,” he said.

“It was very tricky, very difficult, not only the shifts, but there were lulls and puffs coming all over. They didn’t miss a single call.”

Cian said the outcome had given his crew a huge lift and shown them that they could mix it with anyone in the fleet.

Team Profile

K-Challenge, officially launched in 2001, is a professional French sailing team with over 20 years of experience and was the first French Official Challenger for the America’s Cup.

Known as Areva Challenge between 2005 and 2007, the team raced in the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia and is now preparing K-Challenge 2 for future competition.

The team’s skipper, Sébastien Col, 31, was runner-up Match Racing World Champion in 2008 and is currently ranked as the top match racer in the world.

Kiwi Rod Dawson, who sailed with Oneworld in 2003 and Oracle Racing in 2007, is a key part of the team as tactician.

“Sebastien Col has gathered a top quality team with him,” said K-Challenge CEO Stephane Kandler.

“They are sailors who have a huge (amount of) experience of America’s Cup Class boats and of match racing.”

The team’s home club, Le Cercle de la Voile de Paris, was founded in 1858 and has a long and distinguished history in international sailing.

Brad Butterworth talks with Peter Montgomery

PJ Montgomery, the ‘Voice of the America’s Cup’, catches up with Alinghi team skipper Brad Butterworth after a hard match on Day 3 of the LVPS against the British squad TeamOrigin – find out how Alinghi lost its first race of the series!

Valencia Sailing

Sunday, February 01, 2009
LVPS – Day 3: Team Origin beats Alinghi

[Source: LV Pacific Series] Britain’s newcomer TEAMORIGIN, with Olympic ace Ben Ainslie at the helm, put away the powerful Alinghi team from Switzerland today, right at the start of their race in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

It was the biggest scalp so far in the first three days of racing on the Waitemata Harbor as Ainslie forced Alinghi helmsman Ed Baird over the start line just one second before the gun. After circling back to restart, the Swiss trailed by over a minute behind at the first weather mark and although they closed the distance, never got back in the race.

Spectators ashore on vantage points like North Head and a fleet of waterborne watchers were treated to some close racing in winds that quickly built to 18 to 20 knots. The last race of the day was abandoned as the breeze went over 27 knots.

Ashore afterwards, Kiwi Mike Sanderson who is Team Director for the British said: ”Ben did a fantastic job, giving them (Alinghi) a little push. It made it pretty tough for them to get back behind the line.” Sanderson acknowledged the expertise of the two-time America’s Cup champion team, pointing out that the Swiss have set the benchmark in sailing Version 5 Cup boats. “We’ve got a long way to go,” he added.

Blue flag raised on the committe boat. Alinghi crosses the starting line 1 second early. Auckland, 1 February 2009. Photo copyright Paul Todd / www.outsideimages.co.nz

The closest race of the day saw Italy’s Damiani Italia Challenge overcome a determined challenge from France’s Pataugas K-Challenge. Helmsman Francesco Bruni led at every mark although the leg changed at least once on the first weather leg. Sebastian Col, skipper of the French boat and the top-ranked match racer in the world, took the fight back to the Italians on the run, working into a position where the French were overtaking their opponents, only to be penalized for failing to respond to a luff.

A penalty played a role in the third race when China Team, sailing by Ian Williams was flagged by the umpires for sailing too close to BMW Oracle Racing, skippered by Russell Coutts. After that Williams did a good job of staying in contact with his opposition but a gennaker that blew out on the last run put paid to any hopes of redemption.

China Team blow their spinnaker and lose any chance of recovery.
The last race of the day between South Africa’s Shosholoza and Italy’s Luna Rossa was initially delayed because of headfoil problems on the South African boat, and then abandoned because of strong winds. The race will be sailed tomorrow.

Scores: Pool A – Emirates Team New Zealand, 2; Damiani Italia Challenge, 2; Pataugas K Challenge, 1; BMW Oracle Racing, 1; China Team, 0. Pool B – TEAMORIGIN, 2; Alinghi, 2; Greek Challenge, 0, Team Shosholoza, 0, Luna Rossa, 0.

Team Origin pips Alinghi

Sunday Feb 01, 2009

Britain’s Team Origin beat America’s Cup-holder Alinghi by 36 seconds on the third day of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series sailing regatta Sunday, making an immediate mark on the 10-team event and stamping itself a team to watch in future Cups.

With Olympic yachting gold medalist Ben Ainslie on the helm, Origin gained control of Sunday’s race in the pre-start and established a lead which it held on all four legs of the windward-leeward circuit.

Alinghi’s American helmsman Ed Baird seemed in control as the teams approached the startline on port tack but Ainslie, the Olympic Finn class champion, pulled off an aggressive move, luffing the Swiss yacht and forcing it across the startline a second early.

The Cup-holder was forced to make a complete turn to recross the line and TeamOrigin pulled away to lead by more than a minute at the top mark. Though its lead was cut to 41 seconds at the leeward mark and to 36 seconds when yachts rounded the top mark for a second time, Ainslie kept control of the race to give his team a significant victory.

Damiani Italia Challenge beat France’s Pataugas K-Challenge by 45 seconds for their second win of the regatta.

Both teams started at speed near the middle of the line but the Italian team was in the safe leeward position, forcing their opponents away early in the leg and rounding the top mark with a 10 second lead.

The French team attacked on the first run and took the lead but was penalized for failing to respond to a luff from Italian helmsman Francesco Bruni.

Damiani led by only one second at the second mark but held their advantage for the remainder of the race.

San Francisco-based BMW Oracle Racing controlled its match against the China Team from the pre-start where China was penalised for gybing too close to the American boat. The yachts started on split tacks and Oracle helmsman Russell Coutts steered his team to a 24 second lead at the first mark.

World match racing champion Ian Williams, on the helm of the Chinese boat, closed the margin on the first downwind leg and again on the second beat but China Team blew out its headsail on the run to the finish and gave up more time when it completed a penalty turn.

The fourth match of the day between Italy’s Luna Rossa and Team Shosholoza of South Africa was first delayed because of a mechanical problem on the South African yacht, then postponed until Monday because of strong winds.

Hosts Team New Zealand and the Greek Challenge had byes Sunday. Racing concludes February 14.

- AP

They are talking about our racing here..

Interview with Larry

Results  Day 3

Team Profile

Sir Keith Mills, the UK businessman who was knighted after leading London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics, is the founder of Britain’s TEAMORIGIN.

Ben Ainslie, Great Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor with four medals, is the skipper and helmsman with Iain Percy (also of Great Britain) as tactician.

The team director is New Zealand’s Mike Sanderson who has previously won the Volvo Round the World Yacht Race.

Sir Keith announced his challenge plans in January 2007, acquired the Swiss America’s Cup class boat SUI 75 and wants to compete in the next two America’s Challenges.

Ainslie has spent plenty of time in the Hauraki Gulf as part of team New Zealand’s afterguard and acted as tactician and B-Boat helmsman in the run-up to the 2007 America’s Cup in Valencia.

There are several New Zealanders in the team with Barry McKay (pit), Craig Monk (grinder), Robbie Naismith (trim), Chris Salthouse (main) and Sanderson who acts as a runner as well as team director.

The Royal Thames is the oldest royal yacht club in Britain and was the first club to challenge for the America’s Cup back in 1870.

Ed Baird talks with Peter Montgomery on Day 2

Russell Coutts was gracious in defeat after losing the first race of the second day of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series to Dean Barker, his old crew mate from Emirates Team New Zealand.

Sailing the BMW Oracle Racing boat USA 87, Barker beat the Coutts-led American crew in USA 98 by 28 seconds.

At a press conference in the Race Village afterwards, and in front of a big public gallery, Coutts was asked what it felt like when the apprentice beat the master.

Coutts answered dryly and with a smile: Its happened before!

He added, We would have been happier with a different result but they won that one pretty convincingly.

After eight races over the first two days, Emirates Team New Zealand has two points in Pool A, while Pataugas K-Challenge from France and Damiani Italia Challenge each have one point.

In Pool B, Switzerlands Alinghi is the leader with two points while Britains TEAMORIGIN has one point.

A shifty, gusty southwest breeze averaging 16 knots delivered challenging racing conditions as the boats raced twice-around 1.7-mile legs from a start line off Rangitoto to a windward mark just off the Orakei Basin.

The racers took a break after the third race while commercial ships and a barge moved through the area.

In the first race the promise inherent in the series was realised with a tough, tight race between old rivals Emirates Team New Zealand and BMW Oracle Racing.

The Kiwis got the right after a pre-start battle and Coutts fought back, rounding the first leeward mark only two seconds behind.

Coutts enjoyed a brief lead, only to see Barker use the leverage of the favored right hand side and kill any chances of an American victory.

Coutts admitted afterwards that his team had made plenty of errors while team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies was pleased.

“We were happy with the start and getting the favoured right hand side (but) we never felt comfortable the whole way” Davies said.

Gavin Brady, the Kiwi skipper of the Greek Challenge, and his mixed Greco-Kiwi crew had something to prove after suffering a penalty from a collision on the first day that put them in minus scoring territory.

In the second race Brady pounced on the South African boat Shosholoza in the pre-start and the umpires had landed a penalty on his opponents before the start gun had fired.

Brady started in frront and worked to a clear 56 second win over South Africas Italian skipper and helmsman Paolo Cian.

Results Day 2

Alinghi has finished day two of yachting’s Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland with a strong victory against Luna Rossa.

Alinghi won the start and were never threatened by the Italian team after that.

Other winners on Saturday have been Team New Zealand, Greek Challenge and Damiani Italia Challenge.

Alinghi and Team New Zealand are currently the only teams with two wins.

Team New Zealand will not race on Sunday as they have a bye.

PJ Montgomery talks to Brad Butterworth on Day 1 of the LVPS


AC33: The new America’s Cup yacht design rule goes live

Tom Schnackenberg, class rule and competition regulations consultant for ACM, on how the process worked and what to expect of the new class:
“We have had a very active 10 weeks pursuing this new AC33 Class Rule. The process was very similar to that of the initial AC90, and we deliberately used many of the clauses already developed for it 12 months ago. Because of our previous experience, this process seemed familiar and ran smoothly, in spite of the interruption caused by the Christmas holidays.

“The boat was originally suggested as one with overhangs, and girth restrictions, (a sort of mini J-class) but as different designers got into the act, it quickly evolved into a boat defined only by the length overall, weight, max beam and draft. This allows simple measurement processes for the hull itself, and each change seemed to make the boat go faster!

“As it turned out, the boat is slightly longer than the ACC Version 5.0 boats and several tonnes lighter, with similar sail area and righting moment. It promises to have similar upwind speed and to have sparkling downwind performance.

“We think it will be a boat which the America’s Cup community will really enjoy; a worthy successor to all the wonderful boats that have gone before.”

America’s Cup Defender Alinghi’s principal designer Rolf Vrolijk on the new class:
“For designers it is always more exciting to be involved in a new class or with a new type of boat than the highly evolved existing class where we can only focus on very detailed optimisation . It is quite challenging because it means starting from zero and this is a class like nothing we have seen before so if you do your homework right, you would be competitive. Some teams might be very competitive in some corners of the rule, so that will be very interesting.”

John Cutler, technical director for the Challenger of Record, Desafío Español, on how the new class can level the playing field:
“It is a clean sheet of paper and therefore everybody has a good opportunity to come up with and design a fast boat or possibly the fastest boat, so we think that this is a good opportunity for all challengers and it will work well for Desafío Español.”

Andy Claughton, design team coordinator for TeamOrigin, the British challenger, says:
“Creating the new AC33 Class Rule has been a terrific combined effort from Alinghi and the challengers. The vision of the boat was clearly established; it had to be fast, up to date and challenging to sail, whilst not being prohibitively expensive to build and campaign.
The rule development was done at a series of round the table meetings chaired by Tom Schnackenberg who brought all his experience to bear in guiding the writing of the rule text.
All the challengers were able to make their voice heard, and the experienced members of the group have worked towards a rule that has many fewer constraints than the old Version 5.0 boats.”

You can read the AC33 Rule in full here.

rule

Valencia Sailing

from here

Racing got underway in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series today.

The south-west breeze of 12-16knots was perfect for racing and it came in exactly as forecast. But  it was not an easy day for strategists and tactictians.

Afterguards had to deal with some shifts in direction and an incoming tide that at times combined to destroy comfortable leads in very short space of time.

more here

Results

lvps_results_20090130

From Friday January 30th through until Saturday February 14th BSport sailing will be on-line and on-air with live expert commentary from the water.

No matter where you are as long as you have an Internet connection or a radio in Auckland you can keep tabs on all the action!

Remember the very first Americas Cup? Get in behind Emirates Team New Zealand like we did back then.

BSport is the official radio partner for Emirates Team New Zealand, so for the best live coverage live, wherever you are make sure you lock us in!

click the logo for ….

Grant Dalton talks to BSPORT Breackfast Team


Louis Vuitton Press Conference part 1

BSPORT home,

Lots more here

Team Profile

Alinghi – the team name that some New Zealand sailing fans love to hate!

Alinghi, created in 2000 by billionaire businessman Ernesto Bertarelli, has been an incredibly successful team at elite level events and will be hotly favoured to get through to the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series finals.

The Swiss syndicate is the current defender of the America’s Cup, having spectacularly taken it from New Zealand in 2003 on its very first attempt with the help of ex-Team New Zealand helmsman Russell Coutts and tactician Brad Butterworth.

Alinghi took it back to Europe and succesfully defended it against Team New Zealand in Valencia in 2007 with a winning margin of one second in the deciding race.

Coutts left the team after 2003 for BMW Oracle Racing but Butterworth (skipper and tactician) has fellow Kiwi Peter Evans on board as a tactician and the vastly experienced Ed Baird (from the USA) as helmsman with Bertarelli himself in the afterguard.

Alinghi has several other well-experienced Kiwis in its crew in strategist Murray Jones, mainsail trimmer Warwick Fleury, mid-bowman Matthew Mitchell and runners Rodney Ardern, Dean Phipps and Craig Satterthwaite.

There are only two other Swiss sailors in the team – foresail trimmer Nils Frei and pitman Yves Detrey – but this truly international team has members from the USA, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia and Spain.

Alinghi training in Valencia for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi Alinghi training in Valencia for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Team New Zealand has been amongst the winners on day one of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.

The 2007 America’s Cup finalists have beaten Damiani Italia Challenge by 22 seconds in the third race of the day.

French K-Challenge came from behind to beat Team China in the opening race of the day, while Great Britain’s Team Origin led from start to finish against Italy’s Luna Rossa.

America’s Cup holders Alinghi overcame a poor start to demolish the newly formed Greek Challenge in the final race of the day.

BMW Oracle Racing and South Africa’s Team Shosholoza had byes on Friday and open their regattas on Saturday.

Racing is scheduled from January 30th to February 14th (with reserve days on February 4 and 10) but is subject to weather conditions.

TVNZ will be live streaming every day of racing online from 10.30am. Go to www.tvnz.co.nz/sailing

Team New Zealand in action

Chris Cameron/PhotosportTeam New Zealand in action

The Lane Gallery deals in Contemporary New Zealand Paintings, Sculpture and Prints.
Exclusive and extensive range of work.
Shipping overseas a specialty.
We have enjoyed a long association with the Americas Cup and Louis Vuitton sailors.
Pay us a visit at 33 Victoria Street (previously in O’Connell St.)

33 Victoria St. East. Auckland Tel.302 5295

click the link to follow live streaming

and keep up with the latest waveface banter here

Valencia Sailing

Meanwhile in San Diego…

BMW Oracle’s BOR90 resumes sailing

BMW Oracle’s BOR90 monster trimaran is back on the water and sailing in San Diego. Our on the spot friend, Goli, spotted them on Tuesday the first day they managed to sail. As per the official press release, seas were rough on Monday and the initially scheduled first sail was abandoned. Conditions were quite lighter on Tuesday and the trimaran sailed under approximately 10 knots of wind, going as far south as Mexico.

Sorry for the quality of the picture, but it was taken from a distance. As Goli jokingly states, unless you have a really fast tender, trying to follow the trimaran allows you some great whale watching. There is no way you can keep up with that.

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Online Coverage www.tvnz.co.nz/sailing
Round Robin 1
January 30 to
February 3
LIVE

Live Streaming Online
10:30-11:00am Daily racing preview
11:00am - Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
Round Robin 2
February 5 to
February 9
LIVE
Live Streaming Online
10:30-11:00am Daily racing preview
11:00am - Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
Challenger Sail-off
February 11
LIVE
Live Streaming Online
10:30-11:00am Daily racing preview
11:00am - Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
Challenger Finals
February 12
LIVE
Live Streaming Online
10:30-11:00am Daily racing preview
11:00am - Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
LV Pacific Series Finals – Team New Zealand vs Challenger winner
February 13 & 14
LIVE
Live Streaming Online
10:30-11:00am Daily racing preview
11:00am - Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)

Final series is a best of seven races split over two days.

Note: Details and Times of Transmission are subject to change.
Sport Extra will screen the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series LIVE on Freeview Channel 20.

Don’t have Freeview? Visit the Freeview site to find out how to get it.

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series - Sport Extra TV Coverage
Round Robin 1
January 30 to
February 3
LIVE

10:05-10:30am – Highlights from the previous day’s racing
(excluding Day One)
10:30-11:00am - daily racing preview
11:00am – Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
Round Robin 2
February 5 to
February 9
LIVE
10:05-10:30am - Highlights from the previous day’s racing
10:30-11:00am – daily racing preview
11:00am – Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
Challenger Sail-off
February 11
LIVE
10:05-10:30am - Highlights from the previous day’s racing
10:30-11:00am – daily racing preview
11:00am – Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
Challenger Finals
February 12
LIVE
9.35-10:30am – Highlights from the previous day’s racing
10:30-11:00am – daily racing preview
11:00am – Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)
LV Pacific Series Finals – Team New Zealand vs Challenger winner
February 13 & 14
LIVE
9:35-10:30am – Highlights from the previous day’s racing
10:30-11:00am – daily racing preview
11:00am – Racing starts
(Racing finishes between 5 and 6pm)

Final series is a best of seven races split over two days.

Note: Details and Times of Transmission are subject to change.

Practise First

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watch the video here

The chart supplied by the New Zealand Herald shows the approximate course areas. The area shaded beige is approximately the area of harbour which is covered by the rules that will apply to vessels using Waitemata Harbour during the regatta.

Four possible race course areas are marked on the chart. Only one course will be in use at a time. The course in use will depend on the wind direction on the day.

The harbour master says that waterborne spectators and other vessels transiting the Waitemata Harbour should be aware of the following rules:

* The course in use on any given day will be advertised by way of VHF Channel and the dedicated event radio station Bsport sailing 103.FM. The course will be designated by a colour code (see chart)
* Waterborne spectators must not enter the course area in use for the day during the race period.
* Two lines of yellow buoys, one close by North Head and the other line close by Bean Rock, will be in place. These will be important when the red course is in use and will be boundaries of the race course. When the red course is in use spectator fleets will be required to stay outside the two lines of buoys. Ferry traffic will use of the channel between the south line of buoys and Bean Rock. All other traffic should use the north side of the harbour.
* The complete control area as indicated on the chart will be governed by a 12-knot maximum speed limit.
* The wake provisions of the Auckland Regional Council Navigation Safety bylaw will apply at all times. This may mean that vessels will have to reduce speed below the 12 knot maximum speed to comply with the regulations. These provisions are imposed for Navigation Safety reasons and also that the racing yachts will be unaffected by unnecessary wake.
* When the racing yachts are outside of the specific race course of the day no vessel, unless authorized, may approach closer than 100 metres.
* Anchoring will not be permitted in the areas between the yellow buoys and North Head, nor between Bean Rock and the yellow buoys.
* Anchoring will not be permitted in the main shipping channels.

The harbourmaster says he expects recreational boaties will adhere to the rules to help make the regatta a success. And Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton urges spectator craft to obey the rules and take instruction from the authorities to ensure safety on the water.

The rules will be managed on the water by staff from the harbourmaster’s office and the Maritime Police unit, who have been appointed enforcement officers under Section 200B of the Maritime Transport Act.

Special note: infringement offences with the relevant penalty from the Maritime Transport Act (Infringement Fees for Offences Relating to Major Maritime Events) are applicable to this regatta.

Daily course information will be available on the team’s website and on Bsport sailing 103FM.

Emirates Team New Zealand will face the Italian team Damiani Italia in its first race in the Louis Vuitton Series.

Racing starts at 11am on Friday. Emirates Team New Zealand is third race of the day, timed to start at 1pm, assuming the breeze is fair.

Pairings for the first round robin

Pool A:

Emirates Team New Zealand

Pataugas K-Challenge (France)

BMW Oracle Racing (USA)

Damiani Italia Challenge (Italy)

China Team

Pool B

Greek Challenge

Team Origin (UK)

Team Shosholoza (South Africa)

Alinghi (Switzerland)

Luna Rosa (Italy)

Racing starts Friday January 30 at 11am. Courses will be laid close inshore on Auckland  Harbour. Course areas.

Racing will be broadcast live on Bsport sailing 103FM. And for the first time, a sporting event will be televised live in animation. Virtual Eye will broadcast in New Zealand on Freeview channel 20 and will be streamed live on the TVNZ web site.

Teams

The following teams have officially entered

Host: 1. Emirates Team New Zealand – Dean Barker

2. Pataugas K Challenge (France) – Sebastien Col

3. BMW Oracle Racing (USA) – Russell Coutts

4. China Team (China) – Ian Williams

5. Alinghi (Switzerland) – Brad Butterworth / Ed Baird

6. Greek Challenge (Greece) – tbd

7. Team Origin (UK) – Ben Ainslie

8. Luna Rossa (Italy) – Peter Holmberg

9. Damiani Italia (Italy) – Vasco Vascotto / Fransesco Bruni

10. Team Shosholoza (Republic of South Africa) – Paolo Cian

Team Germany (Germany) – withdrawn

Mascalzone Latino (Italy) – withdrawn

Italia Francesco De Angelis (Italy) – declined invitation

Team French Spirit (France) – declined invitation

05.01.2009 CET
The New Year begins with a new regatta.
The BMW ORACLE Racing team will join a competitive fleet of 10 America’s Cup teams in Auckland, New Zealand, this month in preparation for the inaugural Louis Vuitton Pacific Series starting 30 January in America’s Cup Class yachts.

The venue of the 30th and 31st America’s Cup will play host to the event organized by Louis Vuitton, the New Zealand Government and Emirates Team New Zealand.

“Auckland is always a great place to sail,” said BMW ORACLE Racing CEO and Skipper, New Zealand’s Russell Coutts. “And with a race format aimed at close competition this should be an event that both sailors and fans will really enjoy.”

Coutts will helm the BMW ORACLE Racing entry, sharing afterguard duties with team owner and founder Larry Ellison (USA). 2008 New Zealand Olympian, Hamish Pepper (NZL), joins Coutts and Ellison in the afterguard as tactician.

The BMW ORACLE Racing shore team has been busy in Auckland preparing the team’s 2007-generation ACC yachts USA 87 and USA 98 that arrived to Auckland in early December.
In September 2008, BMW ORACLE Racing announced its support of the LVPS, and later agreed to provide their 2007-generation pair of AC class race yachts, USA 87 and USA 98, increasing the number of teams that could compete.

Along with two ACC boats from Emirates Team New Zealand, the competitors will rotate across the two pairs of boats in a round robin format. This will allow event organizers to reduce costs for the teams and open the regatta to more teams. The regatta runs through 14 February.

“We are all looking forward to racing in New Zealand again in what promises to be a very competitive regatta,” Coutts said. “Many of the world’s top big boat sailors will be will be there and it will be great to start the New Year with a regatta of this calibre.”

Photo: Chris Cameron

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 9th, 2008

Ten Teams Will Contest Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

AUCKLAND, NZ – The organizers of 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.

Representing New Zealand, America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup winner Dean Barker will skipper and take the helm for the home team.

Italy’s Luna Rossa, winner of the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup in Auckland and semi-finalist in Valencia, will have Virgin Island native Peter Holmberg as its skipper and helmsman.
Auckland’s Russell Coutts, three-time America’s Cup winner, has never lost a race between 1995 and 2003. Coutts, who has not raced at this level of competition since then, will return to skipper and steer for the USA’s BMW Oracle Racing.

France will be represented by K-Challenge. The team’s young skipper, Sébastien Col, was helmsman for the team in Valencia in 2007 and was runner-up Match Racing World Champion in 2008. He is currently ranked as the top match racer in the world.

From Great Britain, TEAMORIGIN is a new bid for America’s Cup success by the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Ben Ainslie, Great Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor, with three Gold medals and one Silver, is the skipper and helmsman. British Olympic Star gold medallist Iain Percy in China last year, is tactician.

For the China Team, British two-time World Match Racing Tour champion Ian Williams has signed on as skipper and will take the helm in Auckland. The team was a first-time Louis Vuitton Cup competitor in Valencia in 2007. It’s home is the Qingdao International Yacht Club.

South Africa’s Team Shosholoza also made its debut in Valencia in 2007 as the first-ever challenger from the African continent. Italy’s Paolo Cian, who until recently was third in the ISAF Match Racing world rankings, is skipper and helmsman.

Damiani Italia is a new team from Circolo Canottieri Aniene and Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria, two of Italy’s oldest yacht clubs. Vasco Vascotto, runner-up in the 2008 TP52 worlds is skipper and tactician while Francesco Bruni is helmsman.
The most recently-formed team is the Greek Challenge, currently training on borrowed boats in Valencia. The team was started by courageous Greek and Canadian businessman Sotiris Buseas who is still finalizing negotiations with an international skipper and helmsman.

Auckland’s Brad Butterworth is skipper and tactician for Alinghi, the race-winning team from Switzerland that is the two-time winner and current holder of the America’s Cup. American Ed Baird will again take the helm for the Swiss.

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is being organised in association with the New Zealand Government, Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland City and Sky City Entertainment Group.

more here

Yachting: Squeeze could trim series further
4:00AM Sunday Dec 14, 2008
By Paul Lewis

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Yachting Series could shrink to eight or
nine teams after the initial euphoria attracted 12 – but not the sponsors required for some teams to make the trip.

Gone already are Team Germany (after their America’s Cup sponsor Audi withdrew), Italy’s Mascalzone Latino who could not find sponsors and reserve team French Spirit – an entry for the America’s Cup but another who could not find the funds.

However LVPS director Bruno Trouble is untroubled and says there could be another one or two teams who cannot find backing for the regatta – which has excited public interest as it brings back America’s Cup-style racing.

“The financial crisis is really tough in the Northern Hemisphere and sports like Formula 1 and the America’s Cup will suffer in the next two
or three years. But the major eight are firm entries and will make the
panel the best ever,” says Trouble.

Alinghi, Team NZ, BMW Oracle and Luna Rossa played leading roles in the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia and all are confirmed for the LVPS. So are previous challengers like Shosholoza, K Challenge and Team China and
Britain’s TeamOrigin (skippered by former Team New Zealand member and Beijing Olympics gold medallist Ben Ainslie) is the most interesting newcomer.

Fewer teams will mean that core eight will race more often, says Trouble, meaning a higher standard. Other new syndicates Team Greece and Team Italia make up the 10 teams left so far.


Oracle arrive back in Auckland

Valencia Sailing

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Bruno Troublé talks to TV New Zealand about the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Bruno Trobulé, the creator of the Louis Vuitton Cup, talked to TV New Zealand’s Martin Tasker about his latest venture in the professional sailing world, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, scheduled for next February in Auckland.

According to Troublé, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series was born when Louis Vuitton felt “frustrated” after leaving the America’s Cup and “sad” from the current legal fight and the lack of any sailing activity. Since there was no event planned, nothing to fill the void, they devised this simple event.

Troublé admitted they had never thought the event would turn out to be so successful and when asked to quantify it he would consider it to be so if it had 12 high-level teams racing, 7-8 thousand people visiting the race village every day and around 5-6 thousand boats on the water watching the races.

He basically has three goals with the event. First to simply help teams survive, as they at least offer their sponsors something. Second, to provide a key element that would keep the teams together and finally, hopefully, a platform for Alinghi and BMW Oracle to possibly rech a deal an put an end to their legal fight.

His closing remarks were probably the best indicator of what Louis Vuitton aims at with its involvement in the America’s Cup; to run the show. For 25 years, Louis Vuitton organized the Louis Vuitton Cup and as a result influenced the fate of the America’s Cup. On the contrary, in 2007 in Valencia, Louis Vuitton became just another sponsor and according to Troublé, its role was just to “sign checks”. If the future defender of the world’s oldest sports trophy agrees to Louis Vuitton’s vision then the French group will come back. For that reason, Troublé didn’t want to name the event in Auckland as Louis Vuitton Cup, in order not to diminish its value and keep it solely related to the America’s Cup. Marketing 101.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 6th, 2008

LOUIS VUITTON PACIFIC SERIES CONFIRMS 12 TEAMS

PARIS, FRANCE – At the New Zealand Embassy today, Louis Vuitton announced the names of the 12 teams from 11 countries which will compete in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland, New Zealand next February.

The New Zealand Ambassador, Her Excellency Mrs Sarah Dennis, joined Mr Yves Carcelle, Chairman & CEO of Louis Vuitton, in welcoming the participation of all the teams.

The aim of the regatta is to allow all former Louis Vuitton Cup competitors to get back on the water and compete in a friendly match race series. When the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series was announced last September, 23 teams expressed their interest.

Fourteen teams have confirmed they want to compete. With the number of participants being limited to 12, the last two entries have been placed on a waiting list. If, in the next month, one or more teams drop out, the teams in waiting will have the opportunity to fill the vacancy.

“The success of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has exceeded our expectations. We are pleasantly surprised that the announcement of this event has created a sense of excitement and conciliation in the world of the America’s Cup,” said Yves Carcelle.

The teams will now start their preparations. They will arrive in Auckland on January 23rd in order to familiarise themselves with the boats, which have been loaned for the regatta by BMW Oracle Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand. Two weeks of match racing competiton begins on January 30th.

Bruno Troublé, spokesperson for Louis Vuitton, said that the gathering of international teams and sailors which will convene in Auckland for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is one of the most impressive ever brought together.

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is being organised in association with the New Zealand Government, Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland City and Sky City Entertainment Group.

A representative from each of the teams travelled to Paris this week in order to attend a meeting organised in preparation of this event.

Alinghi, winner and defender of the 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup is one of the confirmed participants.

Six daily match races are planned on short windward-leeward courses laid at the entrance to Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, between Rangitoto Island and the city foreshore. There will be a daily draw to decide which yacht competing teams will sail that day.

LOUIS VUITTON PACIFIC SERIES (By order of entry)
Emirates Team New Zealand – New Zealand
Luna Rossa – Italy
BMW Oracle – USA
K-Challenge- France
Mascalzone Latino – Italy
Team Origin – UK
China Team – China
Team Shosholoza – South Africa
Italia – Vasco Vascotto – Italy
Team Germany – Germany
Greek Challenge – Greece
Alinghi – Switzerland

Waiting list:
Italia – Francesco De Angelis – Italy
Team French Spirit – Marc Pajot – France

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Louis Vuitton Communication Institutionnelle
Isabella Capece Galeota / Konstanze Wachter
Tel: +33 (1) 55 80 32 55
k.wachter@fr.vuitton.com

Keith Taylor
Press Officer
Louis Vuitton Pacific Series
Mob: +64 (21) 534-844
keith@pr4sail.com

Coyote & Co
Bruno Troublé
Mob: +33 (6) 61 00 43 21
bruno@coyoteandco.eu

Warren Douglas
Emirates Team New Zealand
Mob: +64 (21) 583-230
warren.douglas@emiratesteamnz.com 

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series a winner for Auckland
Tuesday, 16 September 2008, 9:05 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government

15 September 2008

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series a winner for Auckland

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced government support for a new high profile international yachting regatta for Auckland, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series to be held next February and featuring Emirates Team New Zealand.

“This is an exciting development for Auckland. It will attract international spectators and tourists, and focus international media attention on our biggest city as our team, Emirates Team New Zealand, races against the world’s top sailors,” Helen Clark said.

“The racing will be held within the inner harbour, from Orakei Wharf to Rangitoto. Aucklanders and visitors to the city will have a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the racing, both on and off the water. The Viaduct Basin will be a centre of activity, with all the teams based there and accessible by the public. I am sure Aucklanders and visitors will want to get behind this unique event, especially as it falls over Waitangi Day.

“The event will be hosted by Louis Vuitton, in conjunction with Emirates Team New Zealand and with the assistance of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The racing will involve the two Emirates Team New Zealand race yachts, NZL84 and NZL92, featuring prominent New Zealand branding,” Helen Clark said.

A new cup will be created by Louis Vuitton for the event. Emirates Team New Zealand, as host, will have automatic defender rights.

The regatta – to take place between 31 January and 14 February – will involve six major international Americas Cup syndicates in a match racing series in Auckland Harbour, using ETNZ yachts rotating amongst the competing syndicates, culminating in a series against ETNZ itself. Teams will arrive in New Zealand from the 24th January.

Associate Finance Minister Trevor Mallard said the government had agreed to support the event through a $750,000 contribution. This will be funded from the Government’s $36 million trade and tourism allocation for Emirates Team New Zealand’s buildup to, and participation in, the next America’s Cup.

“New Zealand’s participation in and hosting of these international regatta pay off economically – through tourism and also for our marine industries. The government’s $33.75 million investment in Emirates Team New Zealand for the last America’s Cup boosted the New Zealand economy by around $2 for every dollar of public funding. When we hosted the America’s Cup in 2003, more than $500 million was injected into the New Zealand economy,” Trevor Mallard said.

Regatta series planned for Auckland Harbour

15/09/08

Louis Vuitton announced today an international match-racing series to be sailed in Auckland in January-February next year.
To be called the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, the regatta is being held in association with the New Zealand Government, Auckland Agencies, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, SKYCITY Entertainment Group and Emirates Team New Zealand.

All sailing teams that participated in Louis Vuitton Cup regattas in the past have been invited to compete in the Auckland regatta from January 31 – February 14 2009. Organisers expect six teams will compete. Louis Vuitton will accept competing syndicates on a “first come, first served” basis.
Races will be sailed in Emirates Team New Zealand yachts.
The boats have very similar performance. Some configuration changes will be made to ensure even racing.

Three races are planned every day on a two-mile windward-leeward course laid on Waitemata Harbour between Rangitoto Island and Orakei wharf.

Spectators will have grandstand views of the racing from North Head and Bastion Point.

The race committee will be appointed by the RNZYS with the Squadron members providing on-the-water support. A large number of volunteers will be needed on the water to man the committee boat, lay marks and act as course marshals for spectator boat control.

A Louis Vuitton spokesman Bruno Trouble said: “The Auckland event is neither competing with the America‘s Cup, nor part of the next America’s Cup process. The Louis Vuitton Cup, won by the top challenging syndicate since 1983 will not be at stake. A Louis Vuitton trophy will be created especially for the regatta.

“We still have a lot of work to do before the racing format is finalised and the infrastructure is in place.”

Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said the team’s role, apart from preparing the yachts for racing, is only that of a competitor.

“The sailing team welcomes the opportunity to get back on the water as a complete unit against some top opposition.

“The regatta will be a big event for Auckland. The action will take place over three weekends to give Aucklanders a chance to see the big boats and top teams fight it out.

He said ETNZ would do everything it could to make the yachts totally competitive. “We know the yachts’ relative performance very well and even though they’re close, we know what can to be done to make them even more so.

“The organisers are looking at having a daily draw to decide which yacht the teams will sail that day. Over the course of the regatta they should all race both boats.”

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Commodore Scott Colebrook welcomed Louis Vuitton’s initiative. “The RNZYS is looking forward to having Louis Vuitton back in Auckland and the Squadron will do everything it can to ensure the series is a success.

“Planning for the on-water operations has already commenced. The concept is excellent, the sailing venue is ideal and we eagerly anticipate hosting some great sailing.

“Auckland can expect some exciting match racing close inshore by some of the best sailing teams in the world.”

Prime Minister Helen Clark said: “Congratulations to Louis Vuitton and Emirates Team New Zealand for organising this exciting international yachting event. New Zealand is very pleased to be hosting this regatta and Auckland with its beautiful harbour and vibrant inner city will put on a fantastic show for yachting fans and tourists.”

Mayor of Auckland John Banks says this high calibre event will be another opportunity to showcase the city to the world.
“We want this to be an event that not only establishes Auckland as a desirable major events destination, but also provides three weekends of great entertainment for Aucklanders.”

Blur

Radio interview with Grant Dalton

Valencia Sailing

BMW ORACLE welcomes Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

[Source: BMW Oracle] Valencia, Spain 16 September, 2008 -: BMW ORACLE Racing today welcomed the announcement of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series to be run in Auckland, New Zealand early next year and confirmed that it will be entering a team.

“It is really good to see Louis Vuitton leading this initiative, and we are really looking forward to coming to Auckland to join in what I’m sure will be a great competition,” Russell Coutts, the team’s CEO said.

“Congratulations are also due to the New Zealand Government, Emirates Team New Zealand and the other partners to the event in coming up with this format. This is a great way to get everyone back on the water.

“Auckland is always a great place to sail. And with a race format aimed at close competition this will be an event that sailors and fans will really enjoy.”
Coutts said the team would be in touch with Louis Vuitton shortly to confirm its entry.

08.10.2008 CET
BMW ORACLE Racing delighted to provide boats to Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.
This will enable more world-class sailors to compete in “Instant Classic” in Auckland.

Russell Coutts, BMW ORACLE Racing’s CEO and Skipper said today, “BMW ORACLE Racing is delighted to be able to provide a pair of race yachts for the upcoming Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland, New Zealand. We’re glad to be able to fulfill Bruno Troublé’s request – made to several owners, including Mascalzone Latino – for two additional boats that will enable more teams and more sailors to compete.

“Given the widespread support for the race, we think the LV Pacific Series will be an ‘instant classic’ and an important new date on the sailing calendar.

“BMW ORACLE competed with these 2007-generation race yachts, USA-87 and USA-98, as part of their 32nd America’s Cup campaign, and we look forward to having these wonderful boats in action again, in a spectacular near-shore location. We know there is strong interest in the sailing world to see competitive match racing, and BMW ORACLE Racing is excited to be a participant.

“We thank event sponsor Louis Vuitton and Bruno Troublé, and Emirates Team New Zealand for their vision and support, and we look forward to seeing all of the great racing teams on the water early next year.”

Louis Vuitton has announced an international match racing series to be sailed in Auckland in January-February next year. To be called the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, the regatta is being held in association with the New Zealand Government, Auckland Agencies, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, SKYCITY Entertainment Group and Emirates Team New Zealand.

All sailing teams that participated in Louis Vuitton Cup regattas in the past have been invited to compete in the Auckland regatta from January 31 – February 14 2009. Organisers expect six teams will compete. Louis Vuitton will accept competing syndicates on a “first come, first served” basis.

Races will be sailed in Emirates Team New Zealand yachts. The boats have very similar performance. Some configuration changes will be made to ensure even racing.

Three races are planned every day on a two-mile windward-leeward course laid on Waitemata Harbour between Rangitoto Island and Orakei wharf. Spectators will have grandstand views of the racing from North Head and Bastion Point.

The race committee will be appointed by the RNZYS with the Squadron members providing on-the-water support. A large number of volunteers will be needed on the water to man the committee boat, lay marks and act as course marshals for spectator boat control.

A Louis Vuitton spokesman Bruno Trouble said: “The Auckland event is neither competing with the America‘s Cup, nor part of the next America’s Cup process. The Louis Vuitton Cup, won by the top challenging syndicate since 1983 will not be at stake. A Louis Vuitton trophy will be created especially for the regatta. We still have a lot of work to do before the racing format is finalised and the infrastructure is in place.”

Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said the team’s role, apart from preparing the yachts for racing, is only that of a competitor. “The sailing team welcomes the opportunity to get back on the water as a complete unit against some top opposition. The regatta will be a big event for Auckland. The action will take place over three weekends to give Aucklanders a chance to see the big boats and top teams fight it out.” He said ETNZ would do everything it could to make the yachts totally competitive. “We know the yachts’ relative performance very well and even though they’re close, we know what can to be done to make them even more so. The organisers are looking at having a daily draw to decide which yacht the teams will sail that day. Over the course of the regatta they should all race both boats.”

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Commodore Scott Colebrook welcomed Louis Vuitton’s initiative. “The RNZYS is looking forward to having Louis Vuitton back in Auckland and the Squadron will do everything it can to ensure the series is a success. “Planning for the on-water operations has already commenced. The concept is excellent, the sailing venue is ideal and we eagerly anticipate hosting some great sailing. Auckland can expect some exciting match racing close inshore by some of the best sailing teams in the world.”

Prime Minister Helen Clark said: “Congratulations to Louis Vuitton and Emirates Team New Zealand for organising this exciting international yachting event. New Zealand is very pleased to be hosting this regatta and Auckland with its beautiful harbour and vibrant inner city will put on a fantastic show for yachting fans and tourists.”

Mayor of Auckland John Banks says this high calibre event will be another opportunity to showcase the city to the world. “We want this to be an event that not only establishes Auckland as a desirable major events destination, but also provides three weekends of great entertainment for Aucklanders.

TV3 News Video here

Yachting: Series aims to get the love back into big-yacht racing

John Banks, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Commodore Scott Colebrook and Grant Dalton announce the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. Photo / Richard Robinson
4:00AM Tuesday Sep 16, 2008
By Eloise Gibson

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10532382

Dean Barker and his team could race arch-rivals Alinghi in Auckland waters as soon as next January, in a new Louis Vuitton-sponsored yacht regatta.

While the America’s Cup lies stalled somewhere in a United States court, Emirates Team New Zealand have invited some of the world’s top syndicates to a round-robin event in the inner Waitemata Harbour.

In a move managing director Grant Dalton hopes will “get a little love back” from a bored viewing public, past challengers for the Louis Vuitton Cup have been invited to compete for a chance to take on the Kiwi team.

The winner will get a specially created Louis Vuitton trophy – not to be confused with the America’s Cup-linked Louis Vuitton Cup. Swiss team Alinghi have been invited to the series – called the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series – and Dalton said it would be “fantastic” if they accepted.

Auckland Mayor John Banks said he would personally invite Alinghi to Auckland.

The six-team series will be raced using full America’s Cup-sized boats and sailing teams. But land-lubbers should get a much better view than they are used to – the racing will be much closer to shore than when New Zealand defended the America’s Cup in 1999 and 2003.

Dalton said he hoped the series would rekindle support for yacht racing. “We know the public have had enough of the legal stuff … [but] I still believe there is a lot of latent support out there,” he said.

Team New Zealand’s side of the Auckland Viaduct will be reopened to the public for the series.

The Government will stump up $750,000 for the series, funded from the $36 million it set aside for Team New Zealand’s next America’s Cup.

It is not yet known which teams will accept Team New Zealand’s invitation.

Yacht-racing syndicates are feeling strapped for cash as they wait for BMW Oracle and Alinghi to wage a drawn-out battle over the next Cup challenge.

But Dalton said the only cost for teams taking part in the new regatta would be a branded spinnaker.

Team New Zealand will provide two boats for the races – NZL92 and NZL84, which were built for the Valencia America’s Cup challenge last year.

The boats will be modified to be as similar as possible.

Dalton said it would be great just to get Barker and team back on the water. He said many teams were “in shut-down mode” as the cost of delay mounted on would-be Cup challengers.

The series “couldn’t hurt” our chances in the next Cup, he said.

The regatta will be held over three weekends beginning on January 31, squeezing in three races a day until the final on February 13 or 14.

Teams have until October 30 to enter.

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11 Responses to “Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Part 1”

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