British 'bitterly disappointed' at withdrawal from America's Cup

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The Independent Online

Britain is pulling out of one of the pinnacle events in world yacht racing, the America's Cup.

A shortage of both cash and time have persuaded the head of Team Origin, Sir Keith Mills, to abandon plans to challenge the current holder, the San Francisco-based BMW-Oracle, in 2013.

Mills, who is also deputy chairman of the London Olympics organising group and a director of Tottenham Hotspur, said: "The proposed fixed wing catamaran, the timetable, rules and costs, [mean] that the 34th America's Cup is neither viable commercially nor an attractive sporting contest for Team Origin. After three years of waiting in the wings, I am bitterly disappointed that we will not be competing. The format and timetable decided by the defender is simply not viable."

The decision means that Olympic gold medallists, skipper Ben Ainslie and tacticians Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, will now have to consider concentrating on their London 2012 campaigns. It will also mean an abrupt change of scene for the recently recruited Australian chief executive, Grant Simmer.

It is not known whether it will also mean a complete disbanding of Team Origin or whether it will continue to compete in other events like the world match-racing circuit. It is unlikely, though, that Origin will now attend the final Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta in Dubai next month.

It is believed that Mills and other partners have already spent upwards of £25m, but Simmer recently said that he thought the budget needed to win was well in excess of £100m. Apart from the Italian challenger of record, Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino, the Swedish Artemis team and Team New Zealand, it is thought that many other potential challengers have been put off by the costs involved.