Syndicates plot path to America's Cup

A punishing schedule of races hammered out at the weekend by the 10 syndicates challenging for the America's Cup was tempered for Britain by the prospect of gaining additional funds from Japan, the country from which the GBR syndicate bought its present boats.

A punishing schedule of races hammered out at the weekend by the 10 syndicates challenging for the America's Cup was tempered for Britain by the prospect of gaining additional funds from Japan, the country from which the GBR syndicate bought its present boats.

Subject to minor tinkering, the Louis Vuitton Cup eliminations series to find the sole challenger to the defending New Zealanders will begin in Auckland on 1 October 2001.

There will be two rounds-robin, in which all race each other for one point per win, with a break of seven days between the two. The top eight scorers will go into two quarter-final leagues of the top and bottom four. Number one will choose their opponent, as will number five, for a best-of-seven races.

The top two from the First Division go through while the bottom two of the First Division meet the top two from the Second Division in a best-of-seven repêchage. The bottom two from the Second Division are eliminated. The top two from the First Division and the qualifying second pair then race in a best-of-seven semi-final, the loser of the top two meeting the winner of the bottom two in a best-of-seven repêchage.

The final two race in a best-of-nine in January to meet Team New Zealand for the Cup also in a best-of-nine starting on 15 February 2003.

The organisers also hope that attempts in Japan to charter back one of the boats sold to the GBR America's Cup syndicate will prove successful. It would keep Japan in the game and pay back Peter Harrison some of the £3 million he paid for the three boats and seven containers of equipment, including support craft.

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