Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena preview
The best sailors in the world will be in Italy later this month as Sardinia prepares to host 10 top sailing teams at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena from 22 May until 6 June.
Three Italian entries, including the host Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, Azzurra and Luna Rossa will be battling with teams such as the Defender of the America’s Cup, BMW ORACLE Racing and perennial favourite Emirates Team New Zealand, for supremacy on the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
An innovative regatta format has been developed that will allow all teams the greatest opportunity to advance to the next step, while rewarding teams who do well with second chances.
Initially, each team will sail every other team once in a single round robin. The top eight teams will advance to the next stage and the round robin seeding will continue to be used in later stages. Doing well in the round robin will have its rewards.
“Having each of the teams sail each other at least once is very important,” said Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio, the Principal Race Officer for the regatta. “The teams really want this opportunity.”
In the middle elimination rounds, top-ranked teams are matched against the lower ranked teams – that’s one of the rewards for doing well early – and the winning teams keep advancing, through to a semi final and final.
“If a top seed loses in the middle rounds, they’ll get a second chance to earn a way back in. Conversely, if a lower ranked team gets hot and starts winning, they’ll keep racing. It’s an interesting and fair format.”
The teams will race on four equalised America’s Cup Class boats supplied by the event – ITA 90, ITA 99, USA 87 and USA 98. The boats have now arrived on site and will be prepared for racing.
The logistics team is also now working in La Maddalena as the event organisers begin preparations to host the 10 teams, their friends, families, partners and sponsors, as well as sailing fans from around the world.
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 and offers up some of the most stunning backdrops for sailing in the Mediterranean.
The race village will be set up about one kilometre to the east of the centre of town, near the southeast corner of the island.
The 10 teams competing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena represent 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
Racing in the Round Robin is scheduled to start on 22 May, with teams training on site beginning on 18 May.