LV Trophy heads for Sardinia
The Louis Vuitton Trophy is coming to Sardinia in May, with 10 elite sailing teams set to race for two weeks on the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea off La Maddalena.
With just one month to go before racing begins on 22 May, the host team, Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, is eager to extend a warm welcome to teams, sponsors and guests alike.
“La Maddalena is among the best places in the world to sail,” said Vincenzo Onorato, the team principal of Mascalzone Latino Audi Team. “The waters are warm, the wind conditions are very good and the people of La Maddalena will be gracious hosts. I want to welcome all of my sailing friends and fans of the sport to join us here in May.”
The Louis Vuitton Trophy-La Maddalena follows two successful regattas in Auckland (February 2010) and Nice (November 2009) over the past six months. Further events are planned in Dubai in November and Hong Kong in January of 2011. In the pipeline but yet to be finalised are other LV events in the UK and on Russia's Black Sea coast.
For La Maddalena, two additional teams will join the eight who competed in Auckland. BMW Oraacle Racing, who won the America’s Cup Match in February, rejoins the Louis Vuitton Trophy after it missed the Auckland regatta due to its Cup commitments.
Luna Rossa, which has competed for the America’s Cup three times, winning the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, will race for the Louis Vuitton Trophy for the very first time, after sailing in a precursor event, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in 2009. Luna Rossa has assembled an impressive crew, including skipper Ed Baird, winner of the 32nd America’s Cup with Alinghi and tactician Torben Grael, who skippered Ericsson 4 to a win the last Volvo Ocean Race with leading Olympic sailor Robert Scheidt helming.
The addition of Luna Rossa will make for three Italian teams in La Maddalena, including Azzurra, the winning team in the Nice event. Also on the start list is the champion from Auckland, Emirates Team New Zealand. The full line-up for La Maddalena is 10 teams, representing eight countries:
Aleph, FRA, skipper Bertrand Pacé
All4One, FRA/GER, skipper Jochen Schümann
Artemis, SWE, skipper Paul Cayard
Azzurra, ITA, skipper Francesco Bruni
BMW ORACLE Racing, USA, skipper James Spithill
Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, skipper Dean Barker
Luna Rossa, ITA, skipper Ed Baird
Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, ITA, skipper Gavin Brady
Synergy, RUS, skipper Karol Jablonski
TEAMORIGIN, GBR, skipper Ben Ainslie
In the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas, the teams match-race equalised America’s
Cup Class boats. For La Maddalena, the Version 5 AC boats will be supplied by BMW Oracle Racing (USA 87 and USA 98) and Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (ITA 90 and ITA 99).
La Maddalena is small town (population near 12 000) on an island with the same name that sits just one nautical mile off the northeast coast of Sardinia. It is renowned for its beaches and its pink, rocky terrain and like Sardinia itself, offers up some of the most stunning backdrops for sailing in the Mediterranean.
The race village itself is set up about one kilometre to the east of the centre of town, near the southeast corner of the island. The heart of the race village will feature a big screen broadcasting all of the action from the race course. Crews will be in the race village interacting with the crowds during photo sessions, autograph signings and public press conferences. Food and beverage as well as team merchandise is also available, and the Louis Vuitton Junior Trophy will be contested by local junior sailors.
The easiest way to get to La Maddalena is to fly into Olbia’s Costa Smeralda airport (many flights transfer through Rome) and then transfer by road to Palau, approximately 40 kilometres to the north of Olbia. From Palau, there is a short ferry to La Maddalena. Alternatively, there are ferries into Palau from Corsica as well as Genoa and Napoli.
Racing is scheduled from 22 May through until 6 June. But teams will start official training sessions on 18 May.