Aleph announce withdrawal from America's Cup


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The Independent Online

As Prada fashion house boss Patrizio Bertelli celebrates in Palermo on Wednesday the launch of his latest bid to win the America’s Cup, two teams have announced their withdrawal from next week’s world series regatta in Naples.

The French team, Aleph, skippered by Bertrand Pacé, has told the America’s Cup Event Authority that it is not only withdrawing from Naples but from both the 45-footer world series and the America’s Cup itself, scheduled for July to September next year.

The Spanish-based, Italian-originated GreenComm team has said that it will not race in Naples but still hopes to race in Venice next month. But it is thought that considerable financial reorganisation will be necessary to make that happen. GreenComm previously announced that it had a €25m budget to compete next year.

The racing programme in Naples has already been modified, much to the chagrin of the mayor, sitting on a €5m investment in a racing programme that would now work out at €1m a day.

The arrival, courtesy of Prada, of the hugely stylish Luna Rossa team means that the two boats now not racing will be replaced by the Italian pair.

The America’s Cup organisation and its world series is in the middle of a huge organisational shake-up with both staff and other budgets being cut. But it has been given important permissions by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors for a downtown village and team compounds.

And the cup holder, Oracle, backed by Larry Ellison and run by Olympic gold medallist and multiple Cup winner Russell Coutts is working flat out on a successful defence.

In the Pacific, the Spanish yacht Camper, managed by Team New Zealand, suspended competing in the Volvo round the world race to go into Puerto Montt, Chile, for repairs.

Astern, the damaged Abu Dhabi boat, Azzam, is also on track for Chile having effected a temporary repair but has yet to announce if it will also stop for further repairs.

On the other side of South America in the Atlantic the two leading boats, France’s Groupama and America’s Puma, were neck and neck but also looking over their shoulders as, having stopped for repairs at Cape Horn, Spain’s Telefonica reduced the deficit to 100 miles.