Luna Rossa withdraw from America's Cup

Thu Apr 2, 2015 3:59pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Italian challenger Luna Rossa angrily pulled out of the 35th America's Cup on Thursday in protest at a vote to reduce the size of the catamarans to be raced in the 2017 event.

"Following a careful evaluation of the serious implications of this unprecedented intiative, Team Luna Rossa confirms that it will withdraw from the 35th America's Cup," the team said in a statement.

Luna Rossa, backed by Italian luxury goods group Prada, were one of four European teams hoping to take the cup from holders Oracle Team USA in Bermuda.

Team New Zealand, led by Grant Dalton, and Luna Rossa had protested the decision to reduce the size of the boats without unanimous agreement, with the Italian challenger warning it would have to withdraw if the change was made.

The change was then passed by a majority vote of the six teams currently entered.

The Italian syndicate said it considered the procedure adopted to be "illegitimate...and founded on an evident abuse of process."

"This is an attempt to introduce boats that are substantially monotypes and in total contrast with the ultra-centennial tradition of the America's Cup," it added.

It said the change, from 62 foot to 48 foot boats, was a "waste of important resources already invested based on the rules that were sanctioned last June".

The 34th America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013 saw 72-foot boats competing.   Continued...

Crew members from Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge talk after being defeated by Emirates Team New Zealand in the sixth race of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series yacht race in San Francisco, California August 23, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith