America’s Cup holders Alinghi and courtroom opponents Oracle were on Wednesday confirmed as entrants in a high profile match race yachting regatta in New Zealand early next year.
The 12-strong fleet for the Team New Zealand-hosted Louis Vuitton Pacific series was announced in Paris today by New Zealand Ambassador to France Sarah Dennis and Louis Vuitton chief executive Yves Carcelle.
Alinghi and Oracle remain embroiled in a legal dispute that will determine the timing and format of the next America’s Cup, with a New York appeal court yet to hand down a final decision in the case.
Confirmation of Alinghi’s entry comes after Team New Zealand agreed to drop their own legal action against the Swiss defenders.
The two-week Pacific Series will start on January 30 with crews using boats lent by San Francisco-based Oracle and Team New Zealand.
Six races are planned daily on short windward-leeward courses on Waitemata Harbour, between Rangitoto Island and the city foreshore.
Original plans for the Pacific Series were for a competition featuring six teams.
But when the event was announced in September, there were 23 expressions of interest, which was seen as a reflection of the frustration over the delay to the next America’s Cup.
Organisers increased the number of places to 12, one of which has gone to Greek Challenge, which is planning to be the first syndicate from Greece to compete in the America’s Cup.
Two other teams are on a waiting list in case there is a withdrawal.
“The success of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has exceeded our expectations,” Carcelle said.
“We are pleased that the announcement of this event has created a sense of excitement and conciliation in the world of top-level match racing.”
Teams in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series (by order of entry):
Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa (Italy), Oracle (US), K-Challenge (France), Mascalzone Latino (Italy), Team Origin (Britain), China Team, Team Shosholoza (South Africa), Italia (skipper, Vasco Vascotto), Team Germany, Greek Challenge, Alinghi.
Waiting list: Italia (skipper, Franceso De Angelis), Team French Spirit.