Valencia complain over America’s Cup venue selection

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The Independent Online

As America’s Cup teams in Dubai compete for attention with the final Formula 1 race in neighbouring Abu Dhabi at the start of the last Louis Vuitton Trophy in the current series, a long and painful complaint has been lodged by Valencia over the selection of the venue for the 2013 America’s Cup.

Valencia staged the 2007 cup as the first defence in Europe by Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi team from Switzerland and then his second unsuccessful defence in giant multihulls earlier this year.

The new holder, the San Francisco-based BMW Oracle, is expected to announce the 2013 venue before the end of the year, possibly in the next three weeks.

According to a local newspaper, Las Provincias, the mayor of Valencia, Rita Barberá, has reprimanded BMW Oracle, for failing in what she sees as a commitment to hold the next, America’s Cup 34, in Valencia.

Barberá says BMW Oracle is leaving its base in the specially built America’s Cup port at the end of the year and she expects the next cup to be staged in San Francisco.

There has, says the mayor, “not been a bidding selection process,” and notes that BMW Oracle, backed by Larry Ellison and headed by Russell Coutts, in its latest statements, has only mentioned Rome as the other possible location.

As the challenger of record, Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone is challenging out of Rome, and BMW Oracle needs to keep up the pressure on the city of San Francisco as, in dire financial circumstances for California, it seeks political support for a major financial outlay, this is not surprising.

Six teams are on parade in Dubai, with three of them already in the 2013 fray. They are Oracle as defender, Mascalzone, and the Swedish team. Three more would-be challengers are the locally-sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand, the hard-bargaining Russians, and the Franco-German All4One.

Neither Britain’s Team Origin or Italy’s Azzurra, who have both announced they will not compete in 2013, have turned up.

But, Origin navigator Iain Percy will be on duty for Artemis as some of the likely cup team are already training in multihulls, the weapon of choice for Oracle.

More entries for 2013 are predicted by America’s Cup Race Management in the near future. They could include a second defence syndicate, with multihull racer Cam Lewis said to be very active. The entry window closes, as things stand, on 31 March.