The America's Cup, which is 45 years older than the modern Olympics, is of course the world's most famous sailing race. However the Louis Vuitton Cup, sponsored by the famed French luxury goods house for the past 25 years, is actually considered by many to be the more exciting regatta. While only two yachts compete in the America's Cup, several take part in the LV Cup which has been a rite of passage for yachtsmen looking to challenge the defending champion of the America's Cup since 1983.
A beautiful new book celebrates this great era in world-class sailing: The Louis Vuitton Cup: 25 Years of Yacht Racing in Pursuit of the America's Cup. Louis Vuitton's ties to the world of yachting go back much further of course. In addition to many traveling trunks and items designed for use on ocean voyages, from 1933 to 1938 Gaston-Louis Vuitton developed a unique model boat division, and in 1935 for example one could acquire from LV a scale model of Cornelius Vanderbilt's famous steam yacht the North Star (see the gallery).
The book, by yacht designer, professor of naval architecture at the University of Nantes, and marine author and artist Francois Chevalier, pays homage to the exceptional navigators and avid photographers who helped forge the reputation of the Louis Vuitton Cup, and offers an impassioned account of the competition's inception and vision, accompanied by gorgeous photographs both modern and vintage. The book also offers an in-depth look at seven landmark races in the regatta's history.
Gallery: The Louis Vuitton Cup
The Louis Vuitton Cup also shows how the America's Cup itself paralleled Vuitton's expansion from a company that began by making travel trunks to its current stature as an internationally renowned luxury brand. The book traces the trajectory of the Louis Vuitton Cup, recounting stories of the individual races and victories, from the first in Newport, Rhode Island in 1983 (won by the Australia II which went on to win the America's Cup, puting an end to 132 years if American dominance) to the last in Valencia, Spain in 2007, won by the Emirates Team New Zealand. It presents profiles of its greatest winners and pays tribute to the world's most talented yachtsmen and the photographers who, passionate about the sea, helped forge the regatta's reputation.