Coutts to skipper in Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Russell Coutts with Larry Ellison at BMW Oracle Racing Headquarters in Valencia

BMW ORACLE Racing today congratulated Louis Vuitton’s Yves Carcelle, Louis Vuitton Cup Founder Bruno Troublé and Team New Zealand’s Grant Dalton for 'creating an instant classic that meets an important need in the sailing community,' by organizing an exciting and competitive format for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

The series, to be held January 31 to February 14 in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, has already attracted the official participation of seven top America’s Cup class competitors as well as interest from as many as 16 others.

'There is a tremendous hunger in the sailing community for a multi-challenger regatta with world-class sailing teams competing under rules that are fair and promote real competition,' said Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing and two-time Louis Vuitton Cup-winner.

'Given the current regrettable situation with the America’s Cup, we are very pleased that Louis Vuitton and Team New Zealand have teamed up to present a terrific series of competitive races among the top boats and the best sailors. It will be a big boost for our sport and for the sailing community as a whole. We look forward to seeing tens of thousands of spectators in Auckland standing at the water’s edge and watching highly competitive races. We look forward to being part of the show.'

Three-time America’s Cup winner and BMW ORACLE Racing CEO Russell Coutts will skipper the BMW ORACLE Racing entry.

The regatta will be held over three weekends beginning on January 31, 2009, with three races scheduled each day on a two-mile windward-leeward course until the final on February 14.

The regatta will be held in association with the New Zealand Government, Auckland Agencies, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, SKYCITY Entertainment Group and Emirates Team New Zealand.