Was the arrival of the America’s Cup in Auckland a PR move or a more significant step forwards?

Well known for being bound up in traditions and symbolism, the arrival of the America’s Cup trophy in Auckland was doubtless seen by some as simply a PR move. The arrival of BMW Oracle Racing’s skipper James Spithill, CEO Russell Coutts and Golden Gate spokesman Tom Ehman could be perhaps passed off as understandable as the team took time off to visit the Louis Vuitton Trophy event. But nothing in the Cup happens by accident. It’s arrival had far more significance.

While the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA), organisers of the Louis Vuitton Trophy hope that its events can somehow provide the path towards a challenger series for the 34th America’s Cup, nothing has yet been signed and there are some big hurdles to overcome.

There are still some outstanding legal issues waiting in the wings, not least the one that deals with the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s case for breach of fiduciary duty against the Societe Nautique de Geneve. But it also sounds like that the official rights for the future America’s Cup have yet to be passed over, both of which appear to be holding up steps towards the next event.

But amid the uncertainty, the fact that the Cup was brought to Auckland by the team that couldn’t make the racing on this occasion was seen by many in the know as both an acknowledgement of Louis Vuitton’s 27 year involvement in the event, as well as confirmation that the WSTA and its events should be a part of the next America’s Cup cycle.

Whatever the future, the chatter that was doing the rounds faster than a group email, was the rumour that the base of the Auld Mug had been adjusted since the GGYC victory so that the engraving showing Alinghi’s last two victories couldn’t be seen when viewed from the front.