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Grant Dalton: Louis Vuitton Series has America's Cup teams' support

'Grant Dalton on the LVS: 'It makes sense to do something like that,and it has the support of all the America’’s Cup teams.''    © Richard Gladwell    Click Here to view large photo

The next steps in the becalmed and beleaguered America's Cup saga are likely to see the emergence of new, Cup-like, global yachting regattas involving Louis Vuitton.

Alinghi and Oracle continue their remarkable inability to agree on anything - meaning the Cup could bounce back into court if Alinghi maintain their insistence the one-on-one America's Cup challenge in giant multi-hulls should be run in May 2010 rather than the February 8 date as set down by the US Court of Appeal.

However, this time, court action is unlikely to delay matters and, as Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton put it yesterday 'the clock will not stop ticking now'.

Perhaps the most interesting facet is the possible - if not probable - emergence of the Louis Vuitton series as a genuine, global series to take up some of the slack between now and 2010 (and 2011, when the next multi-challenger America's Cup will be held).

The inaugural Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, held in Auckland this summer, was highly successful and Vuitton emissary Bruno Trouble has been flying round the world, looking at the possibility of similar regattas.

While all involved are careful to position the possibility of the regattas running 'alongside' the America's Cup, there is little doubt such a development, if it occurs, will tighten the screws on the Swiss Cup holders.

'Discussions are continuing,' said Dalton, 'there's quite a bit to be put together and it's not something that can be done in five minutes.'

However, yachting sources have hinted that Louis Vuitton, Oracle and Team NZ could reprise their roles as instigators of a Vuitton series - with regattas likely in Auckland again, San Francisco (home of Oracle's Golden Gate Yacht Club), Valencia and maybe an Asian venue, probably Hong Kong but possibly Singapore.

'It makes sense to do something like that,' said Dalton, 'and it has the support of all the America's Cup teams. It gets people back on the water and it's pretty obvious, from what has happened over the past 18 months, that you can't allow a defender to dictate terms to challengers.

'The America's Cup has always been played on a much more level field than it is now. Alinghi's tactics have been to divide and conquer, but this [the Louis Vuitton regattas] would allow challengers to act collectively in the same way, for example, as the manufacturers do in Formula 1 motor racing,' said Dalton.

'The Acts [America's Cup pre-regattas] proved hugely successful and this would be using the same principle and might also make Alinghi consult and listen to a collective of challengers.'

Click here for the full story and interview.

Click here to read NZ Herald's Dana Johannsen earlier America's Cup commentary 'Cooler heads notable by absence'

by Paul Lewis, NZ Herald


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8:19 PM Sat 25 Apr 2009 GMT

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