Alinghi offer new America's Cup venue

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The Independent Online

In a move designed to both break the deadlock over where to stage the next America's Cup and, co-incidentally, lob a grenade into the negotiating position of the Californian challenger BMW Oracle, the Swiss defender Alinghi today offered to abandon plans to stage the regatta in the Middle East and, instead, move it to the eastern seaboard of Australia.

As Oracle's skipper and chief executive officer Russell Coutts was travelling at the time, no immediate response was available, though it is known that the team prefers to see the best of three, starting on 8 February, raced off Valencia on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

The timing of the Alinghi initiative, ahead of yet another hearing in the New York Supreme Court scheduled for Friday comes only two days after Alinghi lodged a petition in the Appellate Division asking for a decision by Justice Shirley Kornreich vetoing the United Arab Emirate of Ras al Khaimah to be overturned.

Alinghi does not even give the exact location on a coast that is over 1,000 miles long, but says it will do so if Oracle blindly accepts the offer and ends its legal actions. It says that the new venue would be only two and a half weeks' shipping time from the Oracle training camp in San Diego and three weeks from its own Middle East base.

With just three months to the start, and Oracle having to start trials of a new hard wing sail having seen its conventional mast topple over the side of its 90-foot trimaran on Tuesday, time is very short. But, having aggressively insisted on the 8 February start date, it would be embarrassing for Oracle if it now asked for the normal six months notice for any new venue.

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