In just six weeks time, during the Southern hemisphere summer, eight of the best sailing teams in the world will race a Louis Vuitton Trophy match race regatta in Auckland New Zealand.
Just over a year ago the inaugural regatta was sailed in Auckland, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. Ten of the best sailing teams in the world, including the current Challenger and Defender of the America's Cup, competed over two weeks in a match race regatta in two pairs of supplied boats. The boats used were ACC yachts from the 2007 America's Cup and all teams rotated through the four boats.
The formula was renewed at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice regatta in November last year, a regatta whose provisional media return resulted in a value of over nine million Euros gathered from over 1200 articles, 354 hours of TV on 400 channels in 163 countries. The next regatta will be the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland from 9-21 March 2010.
Following the success of last year's antipodean regatta the event organizers, the WSTA, along with the city of Auckland decided to adjust the dates to enhance the public spectacle. The regatta, which runs from 9-21 March, will be staged from the same venue and at the same time as the Auckland International Boatshow (10-14 March) in Auckland's Downtown Viaduct Basin, the venue for the America's Cup in 2000 and 2003.
The WSTA member teams entered for the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta are from seven countries. Unlike last year, the host Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Dean Barker, will not get an automatic pass to the regatta finals, but will have to earn the right to be there by passing through the round robin and semi final stages with a winning record. The seven other teams hoping to also make it to the finals and ultimately prevail are:
Aleph - France, skipper Bertrand Pacé
All4One - France and Germany, skipper Jochen Schuemann
Artemis - Sweden, skipper Paul Cayard
Azzurra - Italy, skipper Francesco Bruni
Mascalzone Latino Audi - Italy
Synergy - Russia, skipper Karol Jablonski
TEAMORIGIN - Great Britain, skipper Ben Ainslie
Following the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta the WSTA's member teams will race in La Maddalena, Sardinia (22 May-6 June), then in Dubai, UAE (13-27 November) before Hong Kong in early 2011 (9-24 January).
At a press conference last week in Dubai, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Emirates Airline Group, explained that the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai would be held at Mina Seyahi, the home of the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), located next to the world famous Palm Jumeirah.
"This is a real coup for Dubai. We are honoured to be part of this fantastic event which has rapidly emerged as a renowned spectacle of sport followed by millions around the world."
Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton replied by saying: "Louis Vuitton has been present in Dubai for more than 10 years. We are thrilled that in 2010 we can further build on this relationship through a great sailing event, while reinforcing the age-old Dubai tradition for sailing regattas."