Three challenge for hard-hit America's Cup


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The Independent Online

Just three challengers will line up in San Francisco this year bidding to topple the local holders of the America’s Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand is the early favourite with the Swedish-based Artemis and the Prada-backed Italians of Luna Rossa  both making great efforts to catch up after gear damage during testing for Artemis and Luna Rossa joining the fray in earnest a year after the other two.

In theory there is still a challenge from Korea but there has been no confirmation from Seoul and there is no confirmation that a 72-foot Cup boat is being built or even that people have been hired to build it.

But the run-up has been further upset as the America’s Cup Event Authority also confirmed that two regattas in the World Series, contested in 45-foot catamarans and in the diary for New York in May, have been ‘set aside’.

CEO Stephen Barclay said that “our number one priority has to be the events scheduled for San Francisco this summer,” and the timing of the events in New York meant that they had had to ask themselves “should we spent this amount of money at this point in time and the answer we came to was no.”

And the tarantella continues in Italy. Barclay said that a third of the venue payment for the World Series event in Naples in April – the total is believed to be €4.2m – had been made.

But the event scheduled for Venice has been cancelled and the mayor, Giorgio Orsini, himself a lawyer, is behind the city suing the ACEA with the first hearing set down for a Venetian court on 17 January.

The entry list for this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race hit its 300-boat limit within 36 hours of the list being opened.