Sailing: America's Cup: Gardini's plea for fair play

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The Independent Online
AN ULTIMATUM is to be delivered this week to the San Diego Yacht Club by Raul Gardini, the head of the Italian syndicate, Il Moro di Venezia, beaten 4-1 by Bill Koch's America3 in the 1992 America's Cup.

Gardini, now based in Paris, has warned that he will immediately withdraw his Europa Yacht Club challenge for 1995 if the defender, San Diego, does not agree to his demand that it selects its boat at the same time as the challenger.

Under the present system, the defender does not have to select the boat until just days before the best-of- seven final whereas challengers are forced to pick their boat three months earlier, at the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup elimination rounds.

Gardini has always said that he wanted the level playing field of a common declaration date for both challenging and defending yachts and, as the San Diego Yacht Club is highly unlikely to give away its advantage in this respect, this will give Gardini a perfect reason to withdraw.

Gardini is stuck with his French syndicate, which has backing from the meat company, Charal, though his dream is to mount a European-wide challenge.