America's Cup 2015: Sixth challenger expected to be announced as Portsmouth expects to stage first of the ACWS regattas

Sir Ben Ainslie's British challenge is likely to use 45-foot wing-powered catamarans for the race next June

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The Independent Online

A sixth challenger for the next America’s Cup is forecast by the event authority commercial commissioner Harvey Schiller as part of an announcement that says that only two host venues have so far met the criteria for hosting the hoped-for six to eight America’s Cup World Series regattas in 2015.

Ben Ainslie’s British challenge is expected to announce in the next few days that BAR’s base city of Portsmouth will stage the first of the ACWS regattas next June in modified 45-foot wing-powered catamarans which will use foils to skim across the water. A feasibility study is nearly complete which will draw up the rules for all the boats and, says Schiller, will easily allow the teams enough time to meet specifications to all the competitors.

BAR has already rebuilt its training boat with its own design of foils, as have Italy’s Luna Rossa, New Zealand’s ETNZ, and Sweden’s Artemis.

The New Zealand prime minister John Key has recently adopted a cautious approach to government funding for the next cup, due to be staged in 2017. He has strongly indicated that if AC35 is staged in Bermuda this would not be as attractive as San Diego, these two venues thought still to be the only ones being considered by Schiller’s America’s Cup Event Authority. Bermuda offers some tax advantages to privately backed teams like Artemis and the defender, Larry Ellison’s Oracle.

The sixth challenger, in addition to the French, who are still seeking full financial support, has been mentioned for some time with Japan, and to a lessening extent, China both mentioned widely in what is only rumour.