Skippers briefing

AC skippers gather at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on the eve of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Thursday January 29th 2009, Author: Keith Taylor, Location: United Kingdom
Ten of the world’s top match racing skippers met the press tonight in a crowded ceremony at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and all promised to deliver two weeks of close and intense racing for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Trophy.

Kiwi Russell Coutts, the skipper of the American team BMW Oracle Racing, summed up the comments of all the skippers when he said: “This shows how much the guys want to go out and do some racing in big boats. It’s fantastic. You look around at the standard and level of competition represented here - it’s probably one of the best events I’ve ever been to. Conditions will be very hard but I think we will see some great racing.”

After welcomes from Commodore Scott Colebrook of the RNZYS and event organiser Bruno Troublé, representing Louis Vuitton, and a series of press questions, the skippers drew for the boats they will sail in the first day of racing tomorrow.

In the opening race, France’s Pataugas K-Challenge will race aboard USA 98 against China Team in USA 87. The second race will see Britain’s TeamOrigin in NZL 92 starting against Italy’s Luna Rossa 84. The third race will be Emirates Team New Zealand in USA 98 versus Damiani Italia Challenge sailing USA 87. The last race of the day is the newcomer Greek Challenge in NZL 84, up against Switzerland’s powerful Alinghi team from Switzerland in NZL 92.

Racing will start on the Waitemata Harbour off North Head at 11:00 am and the four races will be sailed one after the other with only a few minutes between each race. The short windward-leeward races are expected to take less than an hour each in the forecast 10 to 15-knot southwest breeze.

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