Sailing: Conner claims America's Cup `damaged'

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The Independent Online
Dennis Conner yesterday accused New Zealand of damaging the America's Cup contest by waiting five years to defend the trophy.

The three-time America's Cup winner, who was the skipper on the two occasions the Auld Mug was taken outside the United States by Australia in 1983 and New Zealand in 1995, said he was battling to raise funds for his eighth consecutive America's Cup campaign. Conner will focus his attention to the America's Cup after the Whitbread round-the-world race. The challenger series for the America's Cup will be held in Auckland in late 1999, with the finals in early 2000. Conner says the timing is too long. "With five years between the events, the corporate world has lost interest in the America's Cup," he said. "Time will tell, but I think it's going to be very difficult for everyone to raise the money."

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