While some concerns have been expressed that the small number of challengers for the America's Cup might detract from the spectacle and importance of the Louis Vuitton Cup, this is not expressed by Yves Carcelle, the Chairman and CEO of the Paris-based luxury goods company.
'We know the difficulty of communicating this sport with the general public, but when the 72-footers race in San Francisco Bay, all those concerns will be behind us.'
He continued: 'I am totally convinced that the quality of the races next year will be amazing.' Carcelle, himself a sailor, fully understands that the incredible setting of these giant wing-sailed catamarans racing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge will produce images that match the quality of his company's products.
That the four challengers are from New Zealand, Italy, Sweden and South Korea gives a wide international flavour to the Louis Vuitton Cup is beneficial. 'We find there is a persistence of interest in the event in those countries whose teams have taken part long after they did so. For example, the Japanese have a continued interest, and that is a big market area for us. So, each time there are new countries involved, that is beneficial.'
Carcelle is well aware that cracking the public's awareness in the United States is seriously difficult and pointed to the years when the Cup was held in San Diego. 'That city did not endorse the event,' he said, 'but here there are greater signs of interest of the activity on the water and in the television too.'
It is the standard of competition that enthralls the Louis Vuitton supremo: 'Every day we see the extremely high standard of the competition and this is constantly increasing. We never know who is going to win, and that makes for great excitement. I am sure that this will continue next year.'
by Bob Fisher
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8:28 PM Sun 26 Aug 2012GMT
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