Opponents set for crucial talks over America's Cup

A cloak of silence has been drawn over the latest round of talks to try and resolve the disputes and disagreements surrounding the America's Cup, now just less than four weeks away.

The two sides, defender Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi of Switzerland, and the American challenger, Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle, are due to face each other across a negotiating table in the One Degree 15 marina resort on Singapore's Sentosa Island at 09.30 tomorrow.

The talks will be held under the gaze, but not the control, of David Tillett, who will chair the international jury for the event, due to start in Valencia, Spain, on 8 February, and Dave Kellett, who will represent the International Sailing Federation.

Top of the agenda will be an attempt to resolve the validity of the defending yacht from charges that it is using American rather than Swiss equipment, particularly the sails, which Oracle says are prohibited under the 1887 rules which govern the America's Cup.

The Americans will also say that a stipulation by Alinghi that their 90-foot wing sail trimaran should be moored close to the America's Cup harbour. They say this is unsafe and unnecessary.

In order to give the talks a better chance of success, the Americans have put on hold yet another appeal to the New York Supreme Court to rule in its favour.

Meanwhile five in the top 10 of the 49er world championship but none in the top four meant close but no silverware for a strong British squad. The gold went to Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez of Spain.

In Sydney, Britain's Archie Massey and Dan Wilsdon won the International 14 world championship, giving Massey back to back titles in a class which has a long history of British success.

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