At last, Cup style competition that doesn't involve lawyers. Matthew Sheahan reports from Auckland

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup Series started today (Friday 30 Jan) with eight of the ten teams racing just off the city shoreline. While the event looks and feels like a typical America’s Cup series, the basis of the next fortnight’s racing is a big departure from the norm.

For starters, there are only four boats, two provided by Emirates Team New Zealand and two by BMW Oracle Racing. Rarely, if ever, has America’s Cup style racing been so evenly matched.

As a one off event, the series doesn’t count towards the America’s Cup in any way, at least not as far as points and qualifications are concerned. But for the teams, racing four of the best Version 5 boats provides a rare opportunity for both the big guns and the newcomers.

“The boats have been de-tuned a fair bit in that we’re not using the large overlapping headsails and the leech prodders aren’t being used,” explained ETNZ skipper Dean Barker, “but it’s a great opportunity for us to get a feel for how another team’s boats sail. We’ve never sailed anyone else’s boat.

“It’s also a very good opportunity to get the team back together, racing in anger. The standard of competition is pretty high,” he continued.

The event also presents a numbers of firsts. It is the first time the British Team Origin has raced Cup boats for real. The first time out for a new Greek AC team led by Gavin Brady, the first time we’ve seen Alinghi race in a boat that isn’t theirs. And, so long as neither team makes an early exit from the Round Robin, it should be the first time we see Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing settling a score on the water rather than through their lawyers.

For the time being and after the first day’s racing;

Pataugas K-Challenge beat China team
Emirates Team New Zealand beat Damiani Italia Challenge
Team Origin beat Luna Rossa
Alinghi beat Greek Challenge (who were awarded a score of -1 following a collision)



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Live commentary 

Official LV Pacific Website 


Sky Sports TV – Round Robin 1

#1 30/1/09 1830 Sky Sports 2
*repeats stc 2400 Sky Sports 2
2630 Sky Sports 2
2830 Sky Sports 2
0830 Sky Sports 2

#2 31/1/09 1830 Sky Sports Xtra
*repeats stc 2400 Sky Sports Xtra
2700 Sky Sports Xtra
0600 Sky Sports Xtra

#3 1/2/09 1900 Sky Sports Xtra
*repeats stc 2200 Sky Sports Xtra
2500 Sky Sports Xtra
0930 Sky Sports 3

#4 2/2/09 1830 Sky Sports 2
*repeats stc 2130 Sky Sports 3
2330 Sky Sports Xtra
2900 Sky Sports Xtra
0900 Sky Sports 2

#5 3/2/09 1830 Sky Sports 2
*repeats stc 2130 Sky Sports 3
2330 Sky Sports Xtra
2600 Sky Sports 3
0900 Sky Sports 2

#6 4/2/09 1830 Sky Sports Xtra (NB RESERVE DAY)
*repeats stc 2130 Sky Sports Xtra
2330 Sky Sports Xtra
2600 Sky Sports 3
0900 Sky Sports 3

For Brit followers Team Origin’s race schedule for Round Robin 1 is:

Sunday 1st Feb:
Race 2 : start at 12.00 : TEAMORIGIN vs. Alinghi

Monday 2nd Feb:
Race 4 : start at 1400 : TEAMORIGIN vs. Shosholosa

Tuesday 3rd Feb:
Race 4: start at 1400 : TEAMORIGIN vs. Greek Challenge