America's Cup set for Valencia

The America’s Cup at last looked certain to be staged in Valencia next February after the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court yesterday unanimously threw out the latest attempt by the holder, Switzerland’s Ernesto Bertarelli and his club, the Societe Nautique de Geneve, to stage the defence in the United Arab Emirate of Ras al Khaimah. The challenging 90-foot trimaran of Larry Ellison’s BMR Oracle Racing is already on its way from the training base in San Diego. Bertarelli’s catamaran will have to be shipped through the Suez Canal, starting in about a week’s time.

The court also upheld the decision of Justice Shirley Kornreich about measurement procedures.

There remains the discussion about whether the event should be stretched from the present best of three races to a best of seven in order to appeal more to television, which would be controlled by the city of Valencia, and sponsors.

Another meeting with all three parties is due to be held on Thursday which will include a proposal to bring the opening race forward by a day to Sunday 7 February to give the public a better chance to take part in the opening. “Everyone included should try to make this America’s Cup as good as possible,” said the defending Alinghi team spokesman Paco Latorre. “And we should try for the best television possible.”

The Alinghi syndicate which Bertarelli controls has abandoned any further legal moves to the Court of Appeals but Oracle spokesman Tom Ehman added: “With the International Sailing Federation redrafting the previously unbalanced and unfair agreement it struck with the SNG, and discussions continuing the normalise the notice of race, the commonsense approach to the remaining issues in this America’s Cup is prevailing.”

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