New America's Cup structure released

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The Independent Online

The structure of the next America's Cup, shortened to just over two months and to be staged in 2013, has been released. The challengers may have to win through elimination regattas to make it to the main event, some of their costs will be restricted and, up for discussion, is the possibility of a minimum 20 per cent. of the crew being nationals of the challenger country.

Running to 56 pages, the holder, BMW Oracle and its San Francisco-based Golden Gate Yacht Club gives in the draft protocol a detailed outline of what it will take to enter, including a US$3m. bond, but has yet to say where the 34th defence will be staged, exactly when, and in what kind of boat.

It calls for a programme of six regattas a year in 2011 and 2012, four in Europe, one on the US west coast and one in south-east Asia.

Teams will be allowed only four days of training ahead of each nine-day regatta and it is possible that a fleet of the new America's Cup design yachts will be shipped from event to event until the teams have their own yachts. They would be allowed to build a maximum of two.

While Oracle and its ceo Russell Coutts will have tight control over all commercial aspects of the event, though promising an organisation that could be handed over to the next event organiser with substantial funding in place, the document promises considerable independence for the regatta management team.

The same team could also be in charge of a parallel defender trial series and umpires and international jury members would be appointed by the world governing body, the International Sailing Federation.

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