America's Cup challengers Team Australia withdraw

Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:01am EDT
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(Reuters) - The next America's Cup in 2017 has been thrown into turmoil with the official Challengers of Record, Team Australia, withdrawing from the regatta because of the mounting costs.

Organisers said on Saturday that Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club had withdrawn its challenge for the 35th America's Cup event, which is to be sailed in 2017 in either San Diego or Bermuda.

"The America's Cup organisers have received notification from the principals of Hamilton Island Yacht Club of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America's Cup," America's Cup Event Authority chief executive Russell Coutts said in a statement.

"We are very disappointed to be receiving this news. We were excited to have Australia as a challenger and we were also looking forward to the prospect of holding America's Cup World Series events in Australia."

Wine tycoon Bob Oatley, who owns the Hamilton Yacht Club, said it had been a financial decision.

"The challenge was initiated with a view to negotiating a format for the 35th America's Cup that was affordable and put the emphasis back on sailing skills," he said.

"Ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing were well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up.

"We are bitterly disappointed that this emerging team of fine young Australian sailors will not be able to compete at the next America's Cup under our banner."

Hamilton Island were named as Challengers of Record, who represent all of the challenging teams in negotiations with the holders of sport's oldest sporting trophy, after software billionaire Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA retained the Cup last year.   Continued...

The America's Cup is shown prior to a news conference in San Francisco, California April 27, 2012.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith