Potential challengers meet for America's Cup meeting

Hurry up and wait was the message for a whole raft of potential America’s Cup challengers meeting in conference as the swan-song regatta of the Louis Vuitton Trophy series switched to fleet racing in Dubai.

Teams will have to wait until the end of January before being told the dates and venues for the five regattas which kick off the America’s Cup World Series in AC45-foot wing sail catamarans next year

The choice of venue for the next America’s Cup in 2013 is to be announced before the end of the year, with no city claiming to be in the running to rival San Francisco, moe town of the cup holder, BMW Oracle.

Over 20 teams were represented at a workshop which placed great emphasis on the commercial side of what is to be a made for television event. But many will fall by the wayside as time runs out to raise the money to take part. “We would be thrilled if there were eight or ten,” said Richard Worth, brought in to head the event authority.

So far, in addition to the defender and the challenger of record, Italy’s Mascalzone Latino, only Sweden’s Artemis team has publicly declared a challenge since the window opened on 1 November. In addition, Iain Murray, chief executive of the race management arm, said there was another entry, widely thought to be the Russian team Synergy, which wishes to remain anonymous.

“We have four valid competitors,” he said, adding that he thought that a new 72-foot wing sail catamaran being introduced for the cup could, excluding all research and design costs, be built for €6m. “At one end you could do a campaign for €20m.,” he said, countering many who say that it will cost €100m. or more.

Of the delegates, two were British, with neither expected to challenge before the list closes officially on 31 March. The World Team Sailing Association, which was formed to keep the America’s Cup crews racing during the court battle between the former cup holder, Switzerland’s Alinghi, and the current holder, BMW Oracle, will now be wound up.

In Perth, W.Australia, Ben Ainslie scored five straight wins to top the leaderboard at the end of the round robin stage of the Sunseeker Australia Cup match race regatta.

QUARTER-FINAL PAIRS:

B. Ainslie (GBR) v. I. Ainslie (RSA)

M. Richard (FRA) v. P. Robertson (NZL)

T. Mirsky (AUS) v. W. Tiller (NZL)

I. Williams (GBR) v. K. Swinton (AUS)

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