Drawing lots

Battle lines drawn up for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Wednesday January 28th 2009, Author: Keith Taylor, Location: United Kingdom
The ten international sailing teams contesting the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series learned about the order of battle for the early rounds of the regatta at a reception in Auckland last night. The draw that split the world class fleet into two pools of five boats was revealed to the sailors. They then drew for the order in which they will match race on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour when racing starts on Friday, 30 January.

Tomorrow, 29 January, skippers from all teams will make their first joint public appearance during a press conference and reception at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), the organizing authority for the regatta.

The tone was upbeat and friendly at the SKYCITY Grand Hotel last night as the ten team representatives crowded a long table, joined by race officials led by the event’s international Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio and the Commodore of the RNZYS, Scott Colebrook.

Old rivals from more than a decade of Louis Vuitton Cup competition were there, along with impressive new talent from the Olympics and World Match Race regattas. Event organiser Bruno Troublé, representing Louis Vuitton, spoke of the wide support and enthusiasm for the compressed race format and wished all the teams success.

Competing in the two pools, crews will race one-on-one in Emirates Team New Zealand’s NZL 92 and NZL 84 and BMW Oracle Racing’s USA 87 and USA 98. The format for the opening round robin means there will be four races a day while one team from each pool enjoys a bye.

The second scheduled race of day one, between Britain’s TeamOrigin and Italy’s Luna Rossa is perhaps the most anticipated match. Other day one matches are Pataugas K-Challenge from France vs China Team and Emirates Team New Zealand vs Damiani Italia Challenge. For its maiden race, the fledgling Greek Challenge drew Switzerland’s juggernaut Alinghi, holder and twice winner of the America’s Cup. BMW Oracle Racing from the USA and South Africa’s Shosholoza will sit out the first day’s racing.

Following the first five days, the boats will split into gold and silver fleets. At that point, Emirates Team New Zealand, in its role as host team, will advance directly to the final race series for the special Louis Vuitton Pacific Series trophy while the top remaining challengers compete in a ladder competition to decide the other finalist.

As teams wrapped up a week of practice on the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, workers were adding finishing touches to the Race Village at the Viaduct Basin. The village will open at 8:00 am on Friday and the public is welcome to come for breakfast and see the boats depart. Virtual Eye digital 3D coverage of the racing will be viewable all day on a big screen and the public can join the evening press conference each night.
The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is being organised in association with the New Zealand Government, Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland City and SKYCITY Entertainment Group.

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