Team NZ wins Louis Vuitton Auckland regatta
22 Mar 2010
Emirates Team New Zealand has funding and is in good shape heading towards the next America’s Cup says boss Grant Dalton after winning the Louis Vuitton Trophy at the weekend.
Speaking at the prize giving in Auckland, Dalton praised his team who beat Italians Mascalzone Latino by 56-seconds in the final of the two-week Louis Vuitton regatta.
Kiwi skipper Dean Barker and his crew sailed to a smooth win - in challenging conditions on the Hauraki Gulf just off Auckland.
Barker, who thought the standard was higher than ever this year, said that it had been a real battle to the finish line.
"It’s always satisfying when you feel you’ve saved your best till the last day, and today we did that," he said after the race.
The latest win marks the second successive year that Team New Zealand has won an America’s Cup-class regatta on home waters. They were the winners of the one-off Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in 2009.
Although the final was scheduled to be a "best of five" race series, it was trimmed back to three races at the start due to light winds. Despite this, Team NZ started and finished strongly, with a half boat-length lead halfway up the beat.
It was a winning series for Team NZ, which only lost two of 13 races in the regatta, and went on to dominate the finals against Mascalzone - skippered by Kiwi Gavin Brady.
The Auckland-based regatta wrapped up with Mascalzone in second place, and Azurra third.
The next Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta - part of a new Louis Vuitton series - will be held in Sardinia from 22 May - 6 June 2010.
Among international media in Auckland for the event was the BBC’s Michael Peschardt, host of Peschardt’s World, which attracts more than 76 million viewers worldwide.
Peschardt sailed as Team NZ’s 18th man for the opening race, and hosted a one-hour broadcast from Auckland as part of his show.
"Suddenly I understand why billionaires and multi-millionaires spend what they do on the America's Cup. It was a truly astonishing experience - the best technology man can come up with combined with the equally raw power of the crew.
"I do not think I've seen a more striking example of a group of people working as a team. The conditions are cramped. The tension is high. And yet there's just a gentle buzz of conversation as each crew member trusts implicitly the other to do their job," said Peschardt.
Louis Vuitton World Series
The Louis Vuitton World Series brings together the world’s top sailors.
During the Auckland regatta (9 - 21 March), the teams sailed yachts originally used by Team NZ for the 2007 America’s Cup challenge in Valencia.
The establishment of the Louis Vuitton World Series followed the success of the one-off Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland in March 2009, when Team NZ beat then America's Cup holder Alinghi of Switzerland in the final.
Racing in this event follows the same format - teams take it in turns to race the two boats in four matches a day to complete a round-robin seeding series before a ladder elimination culminating in the finals.
Auckland Festival of Sailing
Kiwi yachties pick the home breeze
These topics may also be of interest to you