Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Louis Vuitton regatta far cry from Auld Mug antics

By Dana Johannsen - NZ Herald: Considering the current climate of the America's Cup, the sight of an Oracle boat holed up in the old Alinghi base in Auckland's Viaduct harbour with a huge silver fern emblazoned across the stern seems rather incredible.

But the organisers of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, which begins in Auckland at the end of the month, have always said this is going to be a very different regatta.

An Oracle boat sporting New Zealand insignia is just one of a number of little ironies that will surface over the course of the two-week event.

After weeks of work by the shore crew, the two Oracle boats, on loan from the American syndicate for the Louis Vuitton regatta, and the two Team New Zealand yachts have been fully recommissioned and are ready for sea trials beginning at the end of the week.

All four boats, which have been out of action since the last America's Cup in 2007, have been kitted out in new branding and sponsorship logos for the inaugural regatta which will take place on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour from January 30 to February 14.

But the renovations have been far from just superficial. - Photo Kevin Shoebridge says it's all very even. Photo / Kenny Rodger - Read more at