Byline: Associated Press/Bernie Wilson
SAN DIEGO (AP) — America’s Cup officials have dropped plans for a warm-up regatta on the Hudson River in New York this spring, so teams and organizers can focus on sailing’s marquee race this summer on San Francisco Bay.
That decision leaves one final America’s Cup World Series regatta in 45-foot, wing-sailed catamarans, in Naples, Italy, April 16-21. A regatta planned for Venice, Italy, was scrapped due to a contractual dispute that is currently headed for court.
A New York regatta would have run from May 28-June 2. It was never publicly announced, but a spot on the racing schedule was held open for those dates.
An America’s Cup World Series regatta on the Hudson River would have been the first America’s Cup sailing off New York in 93 years.
America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay said Jan. 8 that besides financial hurdles, a New York regatta would have been too close to the July 4 start of the Louis Vuitton Cup for foreign challengers. The Louis Vuitton Cup winner will face defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 34th America’s Cup beginning Sept. 7.
The Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup match will be sailed in 72-foot catamarans, which are proving to be difficult to handle. Oracle Team USA capsized its first 72-foot boat on San Francisco Bay on Oct. 16, destroying its 131-foot wing sail and damaging the hulls. A new wing sail arrived in Oakland Jan. 8 on a container ship from New Zealand, and Oracle Team USA is expected to be sailing again this month.
In another setback, Oracle Team USA was recently found guilty of spying on Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge while it trained in New Zealand. Besides a small fine, Oracle Team USA was docked the final five days of the second testing period in late April.
With the focus shifting to the 72-foot cats, Barclay said some syndicates were considering not sending their top crews to any remaining America’s Cup World Series regattas, and teams that have entered two boats in past regattas planned to enter only one.
Artemis, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge are the only teams expected to make the starting line of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Team Korea paid the entry fee, but Barclay said he has not been able to confirm whether it has started building a 72-foot cat.