European challengers commit to America's Cup

Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:42am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Four European teams promised on Friday to compete for the next America's Cup, ensuring the event would be viable after official challenger Team Australia pulled out because of rising costs.

The European rivals from Italy, Sweden, Britain and France said they would cooperate with Oracle Team USA, the holders, to ensure the 35th America's Cup in 2017 was a sporting and commercial success.

"The teams Luna Rossa Challenge, Artemis Racing, Ben Ainslie Racing and Team France – jointly with the yacht clubs they represent – confirm their full support to the event, regardless of the host venue that will be selected," they said in a joint statement.

Planning for the 2017 Cup was thrown into turmoil last week when the Australians, the Challenger of Record, withdrew from the event.

The next America's Cup will be sailed in either San Diego or Bermuda, with the venue to be confirmed in October.

The Challenger of Record is tasked with negotiating the details of the next event with the holders of the trophy.

A series of regattas is usually held in the run-up to the America's Cup and the winner of those goes forward to take on the defending champion.

The 2013 America's Cup captured the imagination of the sporting world when the U.S. team backed by software billionaire Larry Ellison roared back from an 8-1 deficit to beat New Zealand 9-8 in San Francisco.

Four-times Olympic champion Ainslie was part of the winning Oracle team but is now aiming to claim sport's oldest trophy for Britain for the first time since the event started in 1851.   Continued...

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