Thursday, October 28, 2010

Preparations nearly complete for Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

The final Louis Vuitton Trophy event is scheduled to start in Dubai on November 12th, featuring six of the top international sailing teams in the world.

With the regatta just over two weeks away, staff from the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA), a co-organiser of the event along with Louis Vuitton and the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), are on the ground and hard at work building the Race Village and preparing the race boats.

“There is a huge amount of activity surrounding the Louis Vuitton Trophy at DIMC and the arrival of the four America’s Cup Class boats certainly increased the enthusiasm of everyone involved,” said Saeed Hareb, CEO of DIMC.

“We have installed a very large, two-storey chalet between the clubhouse and the race department, which will house the event media, TV, VIP lounge, offices, shops and reception and forms a focal point of the village. Watching it all take shape has been fascinating, especially as every day someone new is arriving on site from either the teams, the organisation or press and the scene is being set for a really exceptional event.”

Racing will take place in four equalised ACC yachts, the type of boat used in the America’s Cup from 1992 to 2007. Nearly 50 shore-crew are already on site to get the yachts unloaded and upacked, rigged, tested and ready to race.

The match racing regatta will consist of a double round robin, followed by semi final elimination rounds, before a new champion is crowned in the final, a ‘best-of-five’ clash between the two top teams, scheduled for the 26-27 November.

This is the last of four Louis Vuitton Trophy events before many of the teams shift their focus to multihull racing ahead of the next America’s Cup.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing top level sailing to Dubai and enjoying the great racing conditions on offer there at this time of year,” said Paul Cayard, the Chairman of the WSTA, co-organiser of the event, as well as the skipper of the Swedish Artemis team.

“These teams comprise many of the best sailors in the world, so the competitive spirit is always high, and the racing is among the best we do. It’s close, it’s hard-fought, and we all want to win.”

The five other competitors include BMW ORACLE Racing, which won the America’s Cup earlier this year, as well as Mascalzone Latino, the current challenger of record.

The Russian Synergy team, a finalist in the previous event in La Maddalena, Italy will be hoping to improve on that result while the French-German team, All4One, will look to continue its steady improvement over the course of the four regattas.

Meanwhile, Emirates Team New Zealand, the most consistent performer in the three Louis Vuitton Trophy events to date will be looking to add to its previous wins in the Auckland and La Maddalena races.

Outside of the competition, the Dubai event is sure to be interesting. One of the highlights come on heritage day, November 20, when many of the team members will be invited to compete in the local dhow racing. These modern versions of traditional craft enjoy some very competitive racing of their own, and foreigners are usually barred from competing. This will mark the first time outsiders are invited to race.

In addition, the Louis Vuitton Junior Trophy will allow 40 budding sailors the opportunity to compete in the harbour for a chance to race as a special guest on board one of the ACC yachts during the final.

The Race Village will provide daily entertainment through a range of activities while the action from the water is beamed in live over a giant screen television. Those unable to attend in person can follow all of the racing live through

The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai begins on 12th November with the opening of the Race Village and the opening press conference and is under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Airline, Principal Sponsor of the event.

Racing is scheduled to start on Sunday, November 14th.

About WSTA
The World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) was founded in 2009 by a group of professional yacht racing teams to develop regular high-level match race regattas in large and complex racing yachts. The WSTA is jointly owned by its nine shareholders (the teams) and represents the interests of those teams in the pursuit of fair and highly competitive racing. The WSTA, in conjunction with title partner Louis Vuitton, co-organises the Louis Vuitton Trophy.