Bruno Trouble, talks to the NZ Herald about the Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup, the best NZ sailor and the current situation.
Known to many as “Mr America’s Cup” because of his 30-year association with the event, is delighted to be back in Auckland – as much a home away from home for the Frenchman as any place.
His family lived here for 18 months – his sons studied and played rugby at Auckland Grammar, when Team New Zealand battled Swiss syndicate Alinghi on the Waitemata Harbour.
Sir Peter Blake’s family are close friends – Trouble’s family bought Seamaster, the boat Blake had built to study the oceans’ ecology – and the Labour government awarded Trouble the Order of New Zealand for his work during the two America’s Cup contests held here.
“I love it here,” he says, in English as delightfully coiffured as his luminous hair.
Trouble, who managed the media centres for the Challenger Series and America’s Cups in Auckland in 2000 and 2003, is back to organise the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series raced on the Waitemata from January 30 to February 14.
Ten teams from nine countries will race four America’s Cup boats – two each from Team New Zealand and BMW Oracle – drawing ballots each morning to determine which boat they will sail. Work has been done to pare the boats back to make them as even as possible, thereby shifting the emphasis from boat speed to the crew.
This has resulted in the unusual sight of the Oracle boats – fierce America’s Cup rivals – being repainted in Kiwi black.
Ask Trouble whom he rates as New Zealand’s best sailor and he begins with an apology.
“I am sorry, but the best New Zealand sailor ever is Russell Coutts. I think Peter Blake, if we talk about off-shore sailing, but what Russell Coutts has achieved is even bigger.”
Trouble, 64, makes no secret of his disappointment with the state of play of the America’s Cup. “I hate Valencia,” he says of the Spanish city which hosted the last Cup.
When the Cup began again, Louis Vuitton would sponsor the Challenger Series.
“I hope he [Bertarelli] realises what the situation is. I personally, and Louis Vuitton, love the America’s Cup too much to even think about competing against it.”
The Pacific Series had already helped the future of the America’s Cup by prompting syndicates to talk to each other.
“The Cup will survive. It is very badly affected at present by this childish fight. But it has survived for 156 years now. It may take some time for it to get its lustre back.”
A lawyer by training, marketer by instinct and sailor by passion, Trouble sailed on the French challenge in 1977. Back then, a living could not be had sailing for the Auld Mug. Trouble (pronounced Trooblay) made a successful switch to the business of yacht racing, in particular by advancing the interests of Louis Vuitton and by association the Challenger Series and America’s Cup. And that, says Trouble, is mostly fun.