Sunday, 8 November 2009
BMW ORACLE Racing in Nice. Image copyright BMW ORACLE Racing.
by Peter Rusch
While the American challenger for the 33rd America's Cup is in San Diego, preparing for the Match in February, in Europe the team is getting ready to take on the Louis Vuitton Trophy - Nice, the first in a number of regattas organised by Louis Vuitton and the new World Sailing Teams Association. The eight competing teams will match-race equalised ACC boats in the regatta.
BMW ORACLE Racing will be represented in Nice by an all-star line-up, led by team skipper and CEO, Russell Coutts (NZL), who is hoping to sail with the team in the early stages of the regatta.
"I'm certainly looking forward to getting on board and doing some racing," Coutts said. "The Louis Vuitton Trophy is a fantastic idea and it will be great for us to compete against some of the best sailing teams in the world."
The team will get off to a fast start in the regatta, sailing immediately, having been matched against the new Italian team, Azzurra, in the first Match, of the first Flight of racing in Round Robin One. The American squad is scheduled to face the winner of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, Emirates Team New Zealand in Flight 12, in what should be a highlight match.
BMW ORACLE Racing will have a deep pool of talent from which to select its afterguard, including team owner Larry Ellison (USA), Gavin Brady (NZL), Hamish Pepper (NZL), and Michele Ivaldi (ITA).
The rest of the BMW ORACLE Racing team in Nice is loaded with experience as well:
Alberto 'Albi' Barovier (ITA) - Mid-bow
Gavin Brady (NZL) - Afterguard
Russell Coutts (NZL) - BMW ORACLE Racing skipper and CEO
Cameron Dunn (NZL) - Traveller
Larry Ellison (USA) - Afterguard
Shannon Falcome (ANT) - Mast
Daniel Fong (NZL) - Trimmer
Jamie Gale (NZL) - Pit
Michele Ivaldi (ITA) - Afterguard
Jono MacBeth (NZL) - Runner
Brian MacInnes (CAN) - Grinder
Hamish Pepper (NZL) - Tactician
Rob Salthouse (NZL) - Trimmer
Alan Smith (NZL) - Bow
Joe Spooner (NZL) - Grinder
Andrew Taylor (NZL) - Grinder
Paul Westlake (AUS) - Trimmer
Hamish Willcox (NZL) - Strategist/Meteo
Kazuhiko 'Fuku' Sofuku (JPN) - Spare
Andrew Palfrey (AUS) - Coach/Chase boat
Joel Rewa-Morgan (NZL) - Physio
Competition is sure to be fierce with the defending Louis Vuitton Cup holder, Emirates Team New Zealand, among the favourites. The line-up also includes several teams new to Cup-style racing, but each can boast of having experienced match racers on board, making for an intriguing line-up.
Racing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy - Nice is scheduled to start on 7th November. The eight teams will initially race two Round Robins, before the strongest teams advance to the final stages of the event, culminating in a 'first to two points' Final between the top two teams.
BMW ORACLE Racing
Louis Vuitton Trophy