Tuesday, January 13, 2009



Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison in Afterguard for competition in Cup class yachts in New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand, 14 January 2009 -- BMW ORACLE Racing today confirmed the team’s race crew for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series starting here 30 January.

Three-time America’s Cup winner and team CEO/Skipper Russell Coutts (NZL) will be at the helm and team owner Larry Ellison (USA) will be part of the afterguard. Hamish Pepper (NZL) will be tactician. The regatta features ten international teams from nine countries match racing on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour for a special trophy created by Louis Vuitton.

"We are all looking forward to racing in New Zealand again in what promises to be a very competitive regatta," Coutts said. "Many of the world’s top big boat sailors will be will be here and it will be great to start the New Year with a regatta of this calibre."

The BMW ORACLE Racing crew includes: Alan Smith (NZL), bow; Alberto Barovier (ITA), mid-bow; Carl Williams (NZL), mast; Jamie Gale (NZL), pit; Andrew Taylor (NZL), grinder; Brian MacInnes (CAN), grinder; Joe Newton (AUS), upwind trim; Daniel Fong (NZL), downwind trim; Joe Spooner (NZL), main grinder; Noel Drennan (IRL), main trim; Cameron Dunn (NZL), traveler; Russell Coutts (NZL), helm; Hamish Pepper (NZL), tactician; Larry Ellison (USA), afterguard; Michele Ivaldi (ITA), navigator; Magnus Auguston (SWE), runner grind; Hamish Wilcox (NZL), runner; and Kazuhiko Sofuku (JPN), reserve foredeck.

Crews will take turns in racing one-on-one in New Zealand’s NZL 92 and NZL 84 and BMW ORACLE Racing’s USA 87 and USA 98. The shore teams have been working hard over the past few weeks to prepare the yachts for racing. The work included changes to the rigs and sail plans to make each pair of boats as equal as possible. Training is planned to start next week in Auckland. There will be six races each day on the Waitemata off North Head, readily visible to spectators ashore and afloat. A daily draw will determine which of the four boats each team will sail. -