Eight teams get ready for the first round in Nice

With two weeks to go until the eight teams are scheduled to assemble for practice sailing in Nice,  preparations for the first Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta are gathering pace.

The facilities in Nice are being readied, the race boats are being tested, equalised and prepared for racing, and some of the teams spent some time on ACC yachts last week, working out the kinks ahead of the first race day, November 7.

In Valencia, the site of the last America’s Cup where several teams still maintain a base of operations, the four ACC boats that will be used for the racing in Nice have been set-up for the November regatta.

On Tuesday afternoon, two of the boats, GBR 75 (provided by TeamOrigin) and FRA 93 (provided by ALL4ONE – previously known as K-Challenge) arrived in Nice under tow, following a 400-plus nautical mile journey up the Mediterranean coast.

“It’s great to see the first two boats here in Nice,” said Laurent Esquier, the CEO of the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA), who, in partnership with Louis Vuitton and the Club Nautique de Nice, is organising the regatta.

Nic Bice, head boat captain, said: “It was certainly a relief to arrive in Nice unscathed. Our weather window was extremely small but due to the hard work of all the guys and girls involved we were able to leave when the time was right and arrive with the boats 100% and ready to go.”

The other two boats, ITA 90 and ITA 99, supplied by the Mascalzone Latino team (who won’t be competing in Nice) will be shipped to the venue later this month.

“We have a very hard-working team already on site in Nice, preparing the race village and the logistics for the regatta, and everything is running to schedule,” Esquier confirmed. “We look forward to welcoming the eight teams here at the beginning of November for some practice ahead of the racing.”

The confirmed line-up of eight world-class sailing teams for the Louis Vuitton Trophy – Nice, which runs from the 7th to 22nd November, includes:

Azzurra (ITA)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
Swedish Challenge Artemis (SWE)
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS)
TeamOrigin (GBR)
Team French Spirit (FRA)

BMW ORACLE Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand and ALL4ONE (as K-Challenge) each competed in the last America’s Cup and TeamOrigin competed in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series earlier this year. While the other four teams are new to ACC racing, experienced Cup sailors are sprinkled throughout their crew rosters. This past week in Valencia, the Synergy Russian Sailing Team and Azzurra had an ACC familiarisation session using boats belonging to Victory Challenge, while ALL4ONE sea-trialled with FRA 93.

The Louis Vuitton Trophy – Nice is the first event inspired by the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland, New Zealand, earlier this year. The host team of the Nice event is ALL4ONE.

Further dates and venues for the 2010 season will be confirmed soon.