The Louis Vuitton Trophy racing begins here in Auckland tomorrow. Eight teams have come to the previous home of the America’s Cup to fight for the Louis Vuitton Trophy which will be awarded on March 21.
Emirates Team New Zealand heads the line up as the host team and winner of the 2009 Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.
I will be racing with Artemis as tactician, with Terry Hutchinson on the helm. This is our second Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta as a team, the first being in Nice last November. We are looking to improve on our 6th place finish there.
As Dean Barker, skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand said at today’s press conference, “There are no easy races out there.” All eight teams are very qualified, so the racing will be hard fought.
Missing from Nice is BMW Oracle, but justifiably so after winning the America’s Cup just one month ago, they are taking a break but will be back racing with us at the next event in La Maddalena, Italy in May.
With the 33rd America’s Cup now over and the new winner a founding member of the World Sailing Teams Association, there is a very upbeat mood amongst the teams around this event as we expect a very collaborative Defender with which to shape the next America’s Cup including the continued growth of the Louis Vuitton Trophy.
The format here in Auckland for the racing is one round robin with each team meeting each team once, a one race knock out that will send two teams to the semi finals and two teams packing. Then a round robin with the four teams in the middle to determine the other two semi finalists, then a two out of three semi final followed by a three out of five final.
We are using two boats here so most likely each team will have one race per day. That would mean 7 days for the round robin. Artemis’ first opponent is Emirates Team NZ in the third match tomorrow.