by Keith Taylor
USA 98 and USA 87 sailing training together for the first time in Valencia
The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has doubled in size, with the addition of two race boats loaned by the BMW Oracle Racing team permitting an entry of 12 teams. Eleven teams have already entered the international match racing event and all but two have already paid entry fees. There is only one racing slot remaining.
'Thanks to the kind offer of BMW Oracle to lend two fully-equipped race boats we are able to expand the entry list to 12 boats,' said Louis Vuitton spokesman Bruno Troublé.
The two yachts, USA 87 and USA 89 will be shipped from Valencia, Spain to Auckland, New Zealand where the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series will take place from January 31 to February 14, 2009. The American boats will join the Emirates Team New Zealand yachts NZL 92 and NZL 84 to provide two pairs of boats for match racing.
Troublé said that the Italian team Mascalzone Latino had also spontaneously offered its boats for the series but the organizers had chosen the American boats because of similarities in their design.
'We’ve had very strong interest for this friendly event,' said Yves Carcelle, president of Louis Vuitton. 'Within a week of its announcement, 23 teams expressed interest – and eight teams registered and paid their fees while three more completed their entry form.’’
'It will be exciting to see Russell Coutts back at the helm at this level of competition against Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand,' added Carcelle.
The following teams have officially entered:
Emirates Team New Zealand
K Challenge (France)
Mascalzone Latino (Italy)
BMW Oracle Racing (USA)
China Team (China)
Team French Spirit (France)
Australia First (Australia)
Team Shosholoza (Republic of South Africa)
Three more teams have entered, but will announce their participation at a later date.
Louis Vuitton Pacific Series - Louis Vuitton Pacific Series
The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is being held in association with the New Zealand Government, Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), Auckland City and Sky City Entertainment Group.
Three daily match races are planned on a two-mile windward-leeward course 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.