The Louis Vuitton Trophy looks set to leave its controversial birth behind as it charts a course through a succession of four more regattas that bring the series into its own, on the eve of the Trophy’s second stage in Auckland that runs March 7-21.

Started in the wake of legal disputes surrounding the 2010 Americas Cup, the Louis Vuitton Trophy’s inaugural race around the Côte d’Azur, Nice, saw eight teams race over 16 November days, with Italy’s Team Azzura clinching the first title.

Now, even with the America’s Cup quarrel settled and the contest over, the Louis Vuitton Trophy is about to embark on its second round, as Auckland in New Zealand hosts the eight challengers for another bout of wind-catching elan.

BMW Oracle Racing have this time given their spot to the Italian outfit Mascalzone Latino, who provided several boats for use during the Nice stage.

Meanwhile, Oracle themselves are absent due to their participation in the America’s Cup that took place in January. Mascalzone make a fitting replacement choice, as they are themselves to challenge Oracle’s yacht club for the Cup at the next opportunity.

Auckland itself is no stranger to Louis Vuitton’s new sailing opportunities. Back in January and February of 2009, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron counted themselves among the hosts and organizers of the LV Pacific Series, predecessor to the current trophy.

Their own crew, Team New Zealand, won the title then and are providing the two main boats for themselves and visiting teams to use for the LV Trophy Auckland.

Both are designed in accordance with the International America’s Cup Class and will be shared amongst the teams as they race head-to-head in a round-robin format.

Four races per day are planned, and as with the previous Trophy stage, there will be video, photo, and interview archives kept up to date made available via LouisVuittonTrophy.com

Source: AFPrelaxnews, 2010

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