Louis Vuitton announces the 12 teams that will compete in the Pacific Cup while the Spanish prepare for this weekend's Cup regatta in Valencia

Louis Vuitton has announced the names of the 12 teams from 11 countries which will compete in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland, New Zealand next February.

The New Zealand Ambassador, Her Excellency Mrs Sarah Dennis, joined Mr Yves Carcelle, Chairman & CEO of Louis Vuitton, in welcoming the participation of all the teams.

The aim of the regatta is to allow all former Louis Vuitton Cup competitors to get back on the water and compete in a friendly match race series. When the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series was announced last September, 23 teams expressed their interest.

Fourteen teams have confirmed they want to compete. With the number of participants being limited to 12, the last two entries have been placed on a waiting list. If, in the next month, one or more teams drop out, the teams in waiting will have the opportunity to fill the vacancy.

“The success of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has exceeded our expectations. We are pleasantly surprised that the announcement of this event has created a sense of excitement and conciliation in the world of the America’s Cup,” said Yves Carcelle.

The teams will now start their preparations. They will arrive in Auckland on January 23rd in order to familiarise themselves with the boats, which have been loaned for the regatta by BMW Oracle Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand. Two weeks of match racing competiton begins on January 30th.

Bruno Troublé, spokesperson for Louis Vuitton, said that the gathering of international teams and sailors which will convene in Auckland for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is one of the most impressive ever brought together.

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 Sky City Entertainment Group.

A representative from each of the teams travelled to Paris this week in order to attend a meeting organised in preparation of this event.

Alinghi, winner and defender of the 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup is one of the confirmed participants.

Six daily match races are planned on short windward-leeward courses laid at the entrance to Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, between Rangitoto Island and the city foreshore. There will be a daily draw to decide which yacht competing teams will sail that day.

Emirates Team New Zealand – New Zealand
Luna Rossa – Italy
BMW Oracle – USA
K-Challenge- France
Mascalzone Latino – Italy
Team Origin – UK
China Team – China
Team Shosholoza – South Africa
Italia – Vasco Vascotto – Italy
Team Germany – Germany
Greek Challenge – Greece
Alinghi – Switzerland

Waiting list:
Italia – Francesco De Angelis – Italy
Team French Spirit – Marc Pajot – France

Meanwhile in Valencia, Four AC teams and over 70 RN cruisers and Platu 25s will race at the 2nd Trofeo Desafío Español that is taking place this weekend. The fourth Cup team to officially enter the ACC regatta is Luna Rossa.

Manuel Chirivella, president of the CNEV, Challenger of Record of the 33rd America’s Cup, said that the goal of this regatta was a “get together of the amateurs and fans with the top sailors of the sport to enjoy what we love the most, sailing”.

Laureano Wizner, traveller of Desafío Español, said: “We are looking forward to go back racing on the ACC. I may helm the boat but probably Paul Cayard will steer ESP 97 most of the time”.

Murray Jones, strategist of Alinghi and helmsman of SUI 100 for this event, added: “Our crew work is a bit rusty at the moment but we hope SUI 100 is still as fast as last year!”

Robert Scheidt, strategist of Luna Rossa, shared the same feelings, “is very positive to be able to race on the ACCs is a great opportunity to go back to work”. The Brazilian sailor won silver medal on Star during the Beijing Olympic Games, but he also has three golds from Athens 2004 and Atlanta 1996, and another silver medal from Sydney 2000.

Ben Ainslie started by thanking Desafío Español for lending ESP 88 to TEAMORIGIN for the races and hoped that “we can go on with the racing”. This will be the first regatta for TEAMORIGIN on an ACC boat.