Louis Vuitton Trophy: Dhows for Last Waltz in Dubai this November

Semi-final Artemis (SWE) vs Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL. La Maddalena, Sardinia, June 4th 2010. Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena (22 May -6 June 2010) © Sander van der Borch / Artemi

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Airline, the top international sailing teams in the world will face-off in Dubai in November to contest the Louis Vuitton Trophy.

Racing is scheduled to start on November 14th on the waters of the Arabian Gulf, off the spectacular Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), and will continue through November 27th when the final Louis Vuitton Trophy champion will be crowned.

The Dubai event marks the last of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas, as the teams begin to shift their focus to the 34th America’s Cup and its series of multihull regattas.

Dubai Traditional 60ft Dhow Sailing Championships
Ashraf Al Amra / DIMC

'The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai is going to be very special for us,' confirmed Yves Carcelle, the Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton. 'We have had a long association – over 25 years – with the America’s Cup. This chapter of the story is coming to an end but we are very proud and happy that the Louis Vuitton Trophy has been able to provide a competitive outlet over the past two years for so many of the teams.'

Dubai Traditional 60ft Dhow Sailing Championships. Sailing in front of 'The Sail'.
Ashraf Al Amra / DIMC
Among those scheduled to participate in Dubai is the most recent winner of the America’s Cup, BMW ORACLE Racing (USA), as well as Emirates Team New Zealand, who have captured the last two Louis Vuitton Trophy events, in La Maddalena, Italy and at home in Auckland, New Zealand.

Teams from Russia, Italy, Sweden, France-Germany and Great Britain, boasting some of the top sailing talent in the world, will also be competing, with the Kiwi and American teams supplying the four ACC boats to be used for the races.

'We’ve witnessed some fabulous racing at the Louis Vuitton Trophy and brought the very best sailing teams in the world to some incredible venues,' said Paul Cayard, the President of the WSTA, and skipper of the Artemis (SWE) team.

'As a sailor, I am sure Dubai will be no different. We can expect more intense competition in great racing conditions as the teams begin to gear up for the next America’s Cup.'

In Dubai, the teams will compete for two weeks in a one-on-one match racing format, through a Round Robin, and elimination rounds, culminating in a final between the two strongest competitors.

The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai is the fourth and final regatta of its kind, the result of a partnership between Louis Vuitton, the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) and the regatta venues. In Dubai, Emirates has come aboard as a Principal Sponsor for the event.

In addition to the Louis Vuitton Trophy racing, which will take place very close to shore, making for fantastic viewing, there will be plenty of other activities at the race village adjacent to the DIMC.

The Louis Vuitton Junior Trophy will gather up to 40 of the best young sailors in the region to compete in the Open BIC class. The winner will have the honour of sailing with their America’s Cup heroes in one of the coveted ‘18th man’ spots on board one of the race boats during the final weekend of competition.

Young sailor on Dahees ready for the start - Dubai Traditional 22ft Dhow Sailing Championships

On Saturday, 20th November, the America’s Cup sailors will have to adapt to a new style of racing as they compete in a traditional dhow race. Foreigners have never been permitted to compete in this traditional style of racing, making this an historical opportunity.

'The UAE has always had strong links with the sea and has focused on preserving the traditional sailing dhow of this region. From a working fleet, which dwindled in the late 1980’s we are proud to see fleets of up to two hundred boats today,' explained Saeed Hareb CEO of DIMC.

'The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai is a great opportunity in countless ways but it also gives us the chance to unite cultures in a unique sporting event by inviting the America’s Cup sailors to experience racing on our traditional dhows.'

There will be full coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai on the event website, www.louisvuittontrophy.com. The final three days of racing will be shown live on Dubai TV.