Monday, June 07, 2010

Louis Vuitton Trophy needs a tune-up

When the 33rd America’s Cup was stuck in the New York Supreme Court, professional sports teams were stuck on the sideline. Pink slips replaced paychecks. Out of the darkness came the Louis Vuitton Trophy series, which was designed to be a cost-effective format for match racing competition in Version 5 America's Cup Class boats that are loaned for the event.

In just over a year there have been four events, with the most recent in La Maddalena (Sardinia, Italy). They have provided new and existing teams with a vital opportunity to learn and advance. Bringing together a crew of 17 to compete on unfamiliar boats with incredible loads is not to be underestimated. However, the format now needs a tune-up.

A two week race schedule is too long. While the racing is close, and the video coverage is advanced, expecting people to closely follow the event for two weeks is a huge assumption. Major tennis tournaments are two weeks; the Soccer World Cup is four weeks. The LVT is neither. If there is an interest to engage the sporting public in the Louis Vuitton Trophy series, the events need to either be shorter or more relevant, and there can be no question as to the equality of the boats.

The next event is not until November 13-28 in Dubai, UAE. Plenty of time for review. Until then, photographers Chris Cameron, Stefano Gattini, and Sander van der Borch provide images that demonstrate the power and beauty of this racing format:

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