VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) - The 34th edition of the America’s Cup will be held in 2013 and will be competed in high-tech wingsail catamarans, organizers Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) of the United States said Monday.
San Francisco-based GGYC said sailing’s most prestigious event would be reorganized to attract sponsors put off by the bitter legal wrangling that clouded this year’s America’s Cup, won by GGYC’s team BMW Oracle Racing in Valencia in February.
Innovations included the new class of boat, a shorter race format, independent race management with an international jury and cost-cutting measures such as limits on the number of boats, sails, equipment and support vessels, GGYC said.
“We believe this new format and new boat will put the America’s Cup back at the pinnacle of our sport,” Russell Coutts, chief executive of BMW Oracle, said at a news conference in Valencia.
“These changes will give equal opportunity to competitors and long-term economic stability to all teams and all commercial partners,” added the New Zealander.
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 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.
BMW Oracle, racing in a giant trimaran, featuring a towering wing-shaped sail, beat Alinghi 2-0 in a stunning triumph of superior design and technology.
GGYC has said it will announce the race venue later this year. Ellison’s native San Francisco would be a natural choice if sufficient space and infrastructure are available but there are other possibilities, including a return to Valencia.
Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Justin Palmer