Emirates Team New Zealand will race Italian syndicate Mascalzone Latino in the semifinals of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta in Dubai tonight (NZT).

As top qualifier, BMWOracle Racing could choose its opponent from the three other qualifiers - Team New Zealand, All4ONE and Mascalzone Latino. Oracle chose ALL4ONE.

The semifinal format is the best of three - first team with two wins goes through to Sunday's finals.

Race organisers today held exhibition fleet races in the four yachts.

The Team New Zealand sailing crew flew the ensign at half-mast and wore black armbands to mourn the miners who died at Pike River coal mine.

Tomorrow, the team plans to leave the dock early with fellow New Zealanders from other teams competing at Dubai for an on-the-water ceremony.

The team has invited people to join them on the four large chase boats. Team managing director Grant Dalton said New Zealanders at the regatta felt a sense of shock and wished to demonstrate their sympathy for the miners and show support for their relatives, fellow miners and the West Coast community.