Protectors again chosen for new Louis Vuitton Series

This will be the fourth consecutive Louis Vuitton series to exclusively use the New Zealand designed and manufactured rigid inflatable boats (RIB).

Louis Vuitton's Bruno Troublé, who is organising the exciting new series, says the decision to again use Protectors was an easy one.

"Protectors were the only logical choice," he says. "They have been used at the last three Louis Vuitton and America's Cup regattas and are the perfect boats for us. They are also always very popular with the umpires and the crews that use them."

This is a view echoed by Bryan Willis, the chief umpire for the 2000 America's Cup in Auckland:

"Umpiring in the varied conditions of the Hauraki Gulf required boats which were stable, safe and manoeuvrable in a variety of sea conditions. The Rayglass Protector 850 proved to be not just ideal but the best boat the umpires have ever used."

Rayglass Boats currently have eight new charcoal and grey 8.5m Protectors under construction for the Louis Vuitton series. They will also be supplying a number of 8.5m and 12.5m Protectors for use as weather boats.

Rayglass Boats' chief executive, Tony Hembrow, says that, at the conclusion of the series, the eight new Protectors will be offered for sale internationally.


"Over recent years Rayglass Protectors have proved increasingly popular, not just as hard-working patrol craft and the like, but also as comfortable, practical and luxurious tenders for superyachts and, more recently, as specialist sports fishing boats.

"At last year's America's Cup regatta in Valencia, there were over 100 Protectors on the water. While the majority were working as umpire or patrol boats, or as tenders for the syndicates, a substantial number were also there simply as pleasure boats or superyacht tenders.

"Several of the new Louis Vuitton Protectors have already been sold and I imagine the rest will have been snapped up long before the first gun is fired next year."