Sailing: Challengers unite to sink Alinghi's Cup plans

Two weeks before the 11 challengers for the next America's Cup begin racing for pointsthe challenger group has blocked an attempt by the defending cup holder, Ernesto Bertarelli, of Switzerland, to exploit the new race format.

Two weeks before the 11 challengers for the next America's Cup begin racing for pointsthe challenger group has blocked an attempt by the defending cup holder, Ernesto Bertarelli, of Switzerland, to exploit the new race format.

A full agreement was due to be announced yesterday in Valencia. Under it, points would be accumulated from the six regattas this year and three next. With 24 hours to go, Bertarelli's Alinghi syndicate wanted a high-scoring fleet race before the knock-out series for challengers, thus forcing his opponents to show their true strength.

The Challenger Commission has drafted a modified agreement to scupper Alinghi's initiative.

o Ellen MacArthur plans to make a second attempt at a solo west-to-east trans-Atlantic record later this year after missing out by just 75 minutes last June.

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