Louis Vuitton Trophy
Waitemata Harbour to host America's Cup boats
Auckland, dubbed the City of Sails for its huge sailing fraternity, hosted two hugely popular America's Cup Matches in 2000 and 2003. Auckland also hosted the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in February 2009, which gave rise to the WSTA and Louis Vuitton Trophy. Sailed in former America's Cup boats, the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland is the second of five match race regattas.
Part of the Auckland Festival of Sail organized by Emirates Team New Zealand, the Louis Vuitton event will overlap with the Auckland International Boat Show. The two Cup boats will race on New Zealand's Waitemata Harbor and dock in the heart of the Viaduct Basin on the quayside adjacent to Aucklanders' favourite restaurants and wine bars, providing an unprecedented opportunity for spectators to view boat preparation and the departures and arrivals of the teams each day.
Racing will follow the format established in Auckland last year and adopted for competition in Nice last November. Racing starts Tuesday, 9th March. Teams will take turns on the two Emirates Team New Zealand yachts NZL 84 And NZL 92 that have been fitted out, optimized and rigged after a year in storage. They will race four matches a day to complete a round robin seeding series before a ladder elimination culminating in the finals on Sunday, 21st March.
In february 2009, ten teams competed in a 15-day event on Auckland's Waitemata Harbor in match races duels that were won by Emirates Team New Zealand. Based on the huge popularity of that event, which was praised for its format and originality, Louis Vuitton has now created the Louis Vuitton Trophy. Louis Vuitton has long been associated with first-rate, professional yachting. The French luggage and handbag maker made its debut in racing for the America's Cup when it supported the 1983 Challenger Selection Series off Newport, R.I.
Australia II, led by syndicate head Alan Bond and skipper John Bertrand, became the first yacht engraved on the trophy and then went on to score an historic triumph over Dennis Conner's Liberty, the first challenger ever to defeat the defending New York Yacht Club.
Four years later it was Conner who won the Louis Vuitton Cup off Fremantle, Western Australia, this time for the San Diego Yacht Club, before going on to defeat the Australian defender and return the America's Cup to the U.S.
The success of the two challengers in the first two Louis Vuitton Cups prompted the phrase, "To win the America's Cup, first win the Louis Vuitton Cup."
The Louis Vuitton Cup has been held seven times, and four times the challenger has gone on to win the America's Cup. But following the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup, won by Emirates Team New Zealand, a period of quietness ensued with no future event scheduled. That led Louis Vuitton to create the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series last February.