Revised plans avoid America's Cup confrontation


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The Independent Online

The crunch confrontation between organisers of next year’s America’s Cup and local opponents of a $55m waterfront redevelopment was avoided in San Francisco when a revised plan was announced by the mayor, Edwin M. Lee.

The city’s 11-strong Board of Supervisors had been due to vote on Tuesday but an attempted legal injunction had been instigated by one of its former members and president, Aaron Peskin.

Now, it appears that the development of Piers 30 and 32, which had been designated as compounds for the challenging teams, has been shelved. The need for a vote has been averted.

Instead, all the challenging teams will be based at the Pier 80, home of the defending Oracle Racing Team, some five miles away.

The work on the race village and grandstand at Piers 27 and 29 will continue.

After taking over a week to cover not much more than 1,000 miles, the six-strong fleet on the fourth leg of the Volvo round the world race has picked up speed. Leading is Franck Cammas’ French entry Groupama, which has overtaken the New Zealand-managed Spanish entry Camper skippered by Australia’s Chris Nicholson.

With a brief appearance of making a major tactical gamble pay, Kenny Read’s American-flagged Puma has slipped back to fourth. Abu Dhabi’s Azzam, skippered by Ian Walker brings up the tail as the overall leader, Spain’s Telefonica, skippered by Iker Martinez has taken over in third with Mike Sanderson’s Sanya in fifth.

Defending world champion Ian Williams will contest the World Match Race Series with a new crew line-up featuring Mark Bulkeley, Mark Ivey, Andrew Walsh and Adam Piggott. U.S. sailor of the year Bill Hardesty and fellow-American Matt Cassidy plus Britain’s Gerry Mitchell are not named in the squad.

Williams has a an additional sponsor for his GAC-Pindar team in Swiss watch manufacturer Armin Strom and the series will be sponsored by foreign exchange and commodities trader Alpari in a five-year deal.