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America's Cup scheduled for 2013 on catamarans

Oracle
BMW Oracle won the America's Cup earlier this year

The 34th edition of the America's Cup will be held in 2013 using wingsail catamarans, the Golden Gate Yacht Club of the United States has confirmed.

Other innovations have been introduced to attract sponsors put off by legal wrangling prior to this year's event.

These include a shorter race format and a series of cost-cutting measures.

"This new format and boat will put the America's Cup back at the pinnacle of our sport," said Russell Coutts, chief executive of 2010 winner BMW Oracle.

Another significant change for 2013 will be the use of an independent race management with an international jury.

"These changes will give equal opportunity to competitors and long-term economic stability to all teams and all commercial partners," added Coutt's at a press conference in Valencia.

"We promised fairness and innovation and this is what we've delivered."

606: DEBATE

British America's Cup entry Team Origin have given the news a cautious welcome. Team principal Sir Keith Mills said: "Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison [head of BMW Oracle] promised Challengers a level playing field - giving teams a fair chance of winning; neutral event management and cost containment.

"We now need to study the new Protocol document and determine whether it matches these promises. Team Origin will only challenge if the 34 America's Cup is fair and neutrally managed."

The 33rd Cup was overshadowed by more than two years of legal battles between software mogul Larry Ellison, head of BMW Oracle, and biotechnology billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, owner of Swiss team Alinghi.

The dispute over the hosting rights and race rules resulted in a rare two-boat match in February - won 2-0 by Oracle - without the usual challengers series that had helped increase interest in previous editions, costing the event millions of dollars in potential sponsorship and broadcasting rights.

The America's Cup traditionally uses monohulls but February's edition was a multihull duel.

In June, organisers carried out tests off the coast of Valencia involving multihulls and the traditional monohulls to see what works best on television.

The switch from monohulls to catamarans should make for faster, more exciting racing.

Team Origin skipper Ben Ainslie welcomed the announcement, though the scheduling could yet interfere with his plans to win a fourth Olympic gold medal at London 2012.

"It's great to finally have an idea of the future for the America's Cup," he said. "Challenging in multihulls will be an interesting proposition for all of the teams. The game starts here."

Catamarans and trimarans have been used in the America's Cup before - but only because of a lack of mutual consent for a class rule.

Early indications had been that the event would take place in 2014 but organisers decided on a year earlier.

The venue for the 2013 America's Cup won't be announced until the end of the year, with San Francisco, Valencia and a port near Rome the leading contenders.



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see also
More teams in next America's Cup
15 Feb 10 |  Sailing
Oracle secure America's Cup win
14 Feb 10 |  Sailing
Oracle wins America's Cup opener
12 Feb 10 |  Sailing


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