America's Cup enlists Champions League developers

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The Independent Online

Yachting has turned to soccer for inspiration in the organisation of the next America’s Cup. Two men described as performing a pivotal role in the development of the Champions’ League, Richard Worth and Craig Thompson will head the newly-formed America’s Cup Event Authority, working in parallel with the organising America’s Cup Race Management, which is headed by Australian ceo Iain Murray and British coo Andy Hindley.

“The America’s Cup has a wonderful past, but it is the potential of its future that is exciting,” said Thompson, with Russell Coutts, ceo of the Cup holder BMW Oracle, adding: “We studied best practice in the world’s top sporting events. Now, we are fortunate to have secured two of the best practitioners.”

While the next defence is not until 2013, at a venue yet to be confirmed, the build-up starts next year with a series of up to five regattas in 45-foot, specially-built wing-powered catamarans. The new-style Cup boats, 72-foot wing-powered catamarans, make their race debuts in the 2012 America’s Cup World Series, which is aiming for seven events.

More conventional TP52 monohulls, gathered just yards from Russell’s BMW-Oracle base in Valencia, continued their world championship series with a morale-boosting win in the first race of the day for the British boat, Cristabella.

‘Chuny’ Bermudez, who will join the Team New Zealand-managed, Mallorca-based Volvo race entry Camper next year, is steering, with Manchester-born New Zealander John Cutler responsible for tactics. Their fifth in the second race also leaves them fifth overall with the two other British boats, Johnny Vincent’s Pace and Tony Langley’s Weapon of Choice, both testing the waters for next year’s Audi MedCup, lying eighth and ninth.

The overall leader, the American yacht Quantum, skippered by Terry Hutchinson, was second in that race ands won the second race of the day.

That gave him a three-point lead over the defending champion, Argentina’s Matador with the series concluding Saturday.