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The Louis Vuitton Cup is one of the most famous and prestigious competitions in the sport of yachting because of its relationship to the America's Cup. The Louis Vuitton Cup was used as the selection series to select the team to sail as the challenger in the America's Cup. Since the inception of the Louis Vuitton Cup four out of the six winners have subsequently won the America's Cup itself.

In July 2007, Louis Vuitton announced termination of all its sponsorship activities associated with the America's Cup after 25 years of involvement, arguing the organisation of the America's Cup was taken over by business under the rule of Ernesto Bertarelli, leader of Alinghi, winner in 2003.


In 1970, for the first time in America's Cup history, multiple international challengers competed for the right to challenge the New York Yacht Club, the defender of the America's Cup (the key word being "international": in 1964, for example, two British challengers competed for the right to challenge the NYYC.)

For the 1983 America’s Cup match, Louis Vuitton offered a trophy to the winner of the challenger selection series; the idea generally credited to Bruno Trouble, a French yachtsman. The initial Louis Vuitton Cup was contested off Newport, United States, with Australia II prevailing, thereby earning the right to meet the NYYC’s defending yacht Liberty in that year’s America’s Cup.

With the exception of 1988 (a rogue challenge by New Zealand) the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup has been awarded the right to challenge the current defender for the America's Cup. During the 1992 and 1995 regattas Citizen Watch offered a trophy to the winner of the defender selection series (the Citizen Cup) as the defense’s counterpart to the Louis Vuitton cup.

Post 2004

Due to the large number of challengers in recent decades the Louis Vuitton Cup has had to eliminate challengers in two phases. A round-robin points accruing phase, and then a pair of semi-finals involving the top four, followed by a final between the top two. The semi-finals and finals are a best of nine races between two boats.

Since 2004 the Louis Vuitton Cup hosts 13 "Acts" of competition, with the first 3 acts not awarding points toward rankings. Some challengers do not enter the competition by the start of the acts. Rules for the current races (2005–2007) stipulate that ranking points awarded for each act of competition will increase as they get closer to the final. For acts taking place in 2005, standard points were awarded, with 11 ranking points for a first place finish, and points awarded decreasing based on placing. Acts in 2006 double the points, with 22 ranking points for first place, and the final act 13 which takes place in 2007 will award triple points, giving 33 points to the winner.

History shows that the Louis Vuitton Cup series enhances the chances of the challenger due to the intense racing against different opponents which improves the tactics and crew co-ordination of the winner. Differences in boat speed are becoming less and less placing an even greater premium on reliability, superior tactics and crewing. In the weeks leading up to the America's Cup competition, the defender has to mainly practice using in-house racing which can never be as intense as real competition.

Louis Vuitton Cup winners

Regatta Sail Yacht Club Venue
2007 Louis Vuitton Cupmarker NZL-92 Emirates Team New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadronmarker Valenciamarker, Spainmarker
2003 Louis Vuitton Cup SUI-64 Alinghi Société Nautique de Genève Aucklandmarker, New Zealandmarker
2000 Louis Vuitton Cup ITA-45 Luna Rossa Yacht Club Punta Ala Auckland, New Zealand
1995 Louis Vuitton Cup NZL-32 Team New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadronmarker San Diegomarker, United Statesmarker
1992 Louis Vuitton Cup ITA-16 Il Moro di Venezia V Compagnia della Vela di Venezia San Diego, United States
1988 -- -- -- Only one challenger therefore uncontested
1987 Louis Vuitton Cup US-55 Stars and Stripes '87 San Diego Yacht Clubmarker Fremantlemarker, Australia
1983 Louis Vuitton Cup KA-6 Australia II Royal Perth Yacht Club Newportmarker, United Statesmarker


External links

  • America's Cup Official Website for the 32nd America's Cup in Valencia
  • America's Cup News and Information for 2007

See also

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