No decision on final America's Cup venue yet, say Team New Zealand

Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:43pm EST
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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Organizers of the next America's Cup regatta will announce their decision on its venue on Dec. 2, challengers Team New Zealand said on Friday, shooting down media reports the holders had decided on Bermuda for the 2017 event.

Local media had earlier reported Bermuda had been given the nod ahead of San Diego as the venue for the 35th regatta.

"We have been invited to a press conference to be held at New York on Dec. 2 when the announcement will be made," Team New Zealand syndicate head Grant Dalton said in a statement. "Until then it is only media speculation.

"San Diego and Bermuda are the only potential venues left in the race so the media has a 50/50 chance of being right.

"The team awaits the official announcement and will then assess the situation and closely examine the funding model."

New Zealand, who were beaten by software billionaire Larry Ellison's holders Oracle Team USA in the last America's Cup, are joined by syndicates from Britain, Sweden, France and Italy as challengers for sport's oldest trophy.

The format has changed from previous years where syndicates gathered in one venue to race each other before the winner of that regatta went on to face the holders.

Instead the next event will consist of races in an America's Cup World Series in venues around the world, before it narrows to the 2017 America's Cup when the top challenger will meet Oracle.

Smaller AC62 yachts will be used in the next regatta instead of the massive AC72 foiling catamarans used for last year's event, where Oracle produced a remarkable comeback on San Francisco Bay to storm back from an 8-1 deficit to beat Team New Zealand 9-8 in a winner-takes-all final race.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)