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Louis Vuitton back in America's Cup

'The new Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup is seeking to get some of the pizazz back into America’s Cup teams. Louis Vuitton CEO, Yves Carcelle, is to the right.'    BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles Martin-Raget    Click Here to view large photo

Louis Vuitton, Emirates Team New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Auckland City Council today announced a new America's Cup series to be based in Auckland.

The format of the regattas will be similar to previous Road to the America's Cup regattas staged in the build up to the 2000 and 2003 America's Cups staged in Auckland with six invited teams.

However what is very significant about this announcement is the re-emergence of Louis Vuitton as a naming rights sponsor, and also the 25 years of experience that the French luxury goods company can swing behind the event.

In the light of the current stand-off, which leaves the future of many America's Cup challengers in the hands of the New York Supreme Court and its various Appeal processes, the announcement today gives the opportunity for America's Cup Teams to get a new game started.

Speaking at the announcement at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron today, Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton made it clear that all participants in the 32nd America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cups would be welcome and that included Team Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing.

Although decimated by the current Cold War in the America's Cup, the opportunity exists for teams to start putting together their own program outside the reach of the Defender and the two would-be Challengers of Record.

As with any such embryonic events the potential exists for the event to grow legs of its own and move into the space previously owned by the Acts which became a successful innovation in the build up to the 32nd America's Cup.

The statement issued by Louis Vuitton makes it clear that the Louis Vuitton Cup which had been held by the winner of the Challenger Selection series would not be used for this event. A new trophy will be awarded for the event to be entitled the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

Louis Vuitton's longtime spokeman on the America's Cup, Bruno Trouble also made it clear that the event was a new stand-alone series and not designed to compete with the America's Cup or the America's Cup process, whatever that might be.

Entries close at the end of October, the winner of the Challenger Round will sail against the host, Emirates Team New Zealand. The regatta will be organised by the Defender of the America's Cup in 2000 and 2003, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

For the full media conference courtesy of TV3 click here

And for the coverage from Television New Zealand click here?nid=48866

by Richard Gladwell


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5:13 AM Mon 15 Sep 2008 GMT

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