Base is buzzing as we prepare for LVPS
The base is buzzing again as preparations for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series pick up pace.
On top of that, the team is also right into its TP52 project, with the build well-advanced at Cookson’s yard on the North Shore. The yacht will be launched a few days after the final of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.
At the Viaduct Harbour base, boatbuilders, electronic and hydraulic engineers, riggers and sailmakers are working to re-commission the yachts and build the identifying spinnakers for each team. All this and the Christmas-New Year holiday season is approaching fast.
The BMW Oracle Racing yachts arrived from Spain a few days ago and shore crew are working on them.
The four yachts will be back in the water in the third week of January, ready for sea trials and the start of practice for participating teams on January 24.
There’s much more to this regatta than just the four racing yachts and 200 yachtsmen. Once again we have tapped into that special New Zealand spirit that just makes things happen. The regatta could not have been held without the willing help of dozens of people and organisations. Individuals are lending their boats, companies are donating product or heavily discounting products and services.
The Government and Auckland city and its agencies have given great support and practical help. We couldn’t have asked for better. Without their help, New Zealand and Auckland would have missed out on a great event.
Nothing has been too much trouble for the harbour master and police who have made it possible to run the races close in to the shore. Courses will be laid right across the approaches to the busy commercial port so that spectators on shore can share the action.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is organising on-the-water activity. They have brought together a large number of volunteers to man the fleet needed for course and racing officials – the umpires, marshals, mark layers and the “ferries” to get race crews on and off the yachts.
It’s a big job but the Squadron, with a couple of Louis Vuitton Cups and America’s Cups behind it, is well-practiced at handling the logistics of a big regatta.
While all the on-the-water activities are being worked through, Louis Vuitton, Auckland City, the people at Viaduct Harbour Marine Village and SKYCITY are working to ensure the race village and on-shore entertainment becomes a reality.
And, because a large number of international journalists are expected to be in Auckland for the regatta, Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Auckland are working to ensure that we miss no opportunity to promote New Zealand and the region.
It’s good to see the TP 52 project coming together so well. We will campaign the TP 52 on the Med Cup circuit, one of the most competitive on the international racing calendar. Five regattas (in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy) are planned in 2009, the first in the third week of May.
Our yacht is due to be shipped to Europe in March after sea trials have been completed. A workshop container and chase boat will travel with it.
A TP 52 has a crew of 15. The regattas will give the core sailing crew the chance to sail together, an essential part of the buildup to the next America’s Cup.
The TP 52 project is being funded by Emirates and staunch supporter of the team Matteo de Nora.
Top: Emirates Team New Zealand boat builder Peter Ockleston and Colin Driver. Bottom: Some of the TP 52 build team: Ian McLean, Anthony Murray, Andy Howden and Mark Borley show off their handiwork. Photo copyright Emirates Team NZ
Meanwhile the America’s Cup saga continues: Alinghi is proceeding to organise a multi-challenge America’s Cup for 2010 even though the Oracle appeal in the New York courts has still to be resolved.
Oracle’s Larry Ellison has told Alinghi that it would not enter the event by Alinghi’s December 15 deadline (and as a pre-condition withdraw its legal challenge) and would persevere with the appeal.
That leaves two possible outcomes: Oracle’s appeal is dismissed and the Spanish yacht club CNEV is confirmed as the challenger of record and a multi-challenge America’s Cup is back on track.
Oracle wins the appeal and a Deed-of-Gift challenge is sailed in the multihulls, in Oracle’s case a 90ft trimaran which the team has been trialing off San Diego. Alinghi’s multi-hull has yet to be seen in public.
The outcome is unlikely to be known for some months.
The team thanks our suppliers and sponsors for their patience and continued support. It’s comforting to know they’re behind us.
Season’s greetings to everyone.