The WSTA and Louis Vuitton today announced on Friday more Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas for 2010 and early 2011.
These new international events follow the successful regatta held in Nice, France, last month.
Each Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta is a stand-alone regatta sailed in event-supplied 85-foot long AC Class yachts that require a crew of 17 top sailors to sail. The regatta concept is designed to transform a port venue, regardless of its previous sailing culture, into the capital of professional yacht racing for two weeks, along with all the associated activities and excitement, on and off the water.
The concept of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas was inspired by the acclaimed Louis Vuitton Pacific Series raced in Auckland, New Zealand, last February.
The schedule for the next events covers four distinctly different parts of the world:
Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland: 9-21 March 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena, Sardinia: 22 May- 6 June 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Middle East*: 13-28 November 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Hong Kong: 9-24 January 2011 (to be confirmed)
*the venue in The Middle East is embargoed until 15 January 2010
Newly-elected WSTA board Chairman Paul Cayard commented: "The Louis Vuitton Trophy is gaining momentum following the great regattas held in Auckland and Nice in 2009 and I really believe 2010 is going to be an even better year for our teams, their crews and supporters."
Apart from being a cost-effective way for teams to match race impressively large yachts close to crowds, the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas also represent one of the most interesting media and marketing opportunities in yacht racing today.
The innovative low-cost solution to live TV and tracking coupled with live expert commentary from on board the yachts pioneered in Nice last November, allows spectators, hospitality guests and sailing fans around the world to watch live races in a hybrid virtual and real video show on internet (www.louisvuittontrophy.com
The use of AC Class yachts from the last two America's Cups now scattered about the world allows the existing boats to be shared regionally without the necessity to constantly ship equipment back and forth; only the crews travel, making for cost- effective and easily organised events.
The Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland will again bring some of the best racing teams back to 'Kiwiland'. Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said the team welcomed Louis Vuitton's return to Auckland: "Last February we tested the concept. Its success far exceeded everyone's expectations."
"The Louis Vuitton Trophy has emerged from that experiment as a viable, top-level regatta. It's good for the teams, it's good for the sport, it's good for host cities and we've given the fans something to watch."
The calibre of teams competing is second to none. Most sailors are either World Champions, Olympic medallists, round-the-world sailors or past America's Cup players. All teams competing at the Nice regatta came with either America's Cup experience or future ambitions.
Emirates Team New Zealand has been both Challenger and Defender in the past, BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) is the current Challenger of Record, while other teams such as Azzurra (Italy), TEAMORIGIN (Great Britain), Mascalzone Latino (Italy), Synergy (Russia), All4One (France and Germany), Aleph Sailing Team previously known as Team French Spirit (France), Artemis (Sweden) all have future plans.
The Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas provide an opportunity to compete at the highest level using similar yachts, with only the crew's sailing ability as the deciding factor. The cost to teams is also a fraction of an America's Cup or an offshore campaign budget, something that has already attracted several new teams to taste the waters at this level of competition.
Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, is pleased to be associated with the event: "Nice a few weeks ago again proved the viability of the concept, which reflects current concerns: easy, friendly, accessible and environmentally responsible. It is a great way to bring the best teams back on the water."