Challenger Series would allow Swedes to arrive fashionably late

Published on June 4th, 2013

With just a month before the America’s Cup races are set to begin, concerns are rising that Sweden’s Artemis Racing team, which is still recovering from a tragic capsize, won’t be ready to compete when events begin in early July.

And if it doesn’t, the world-renowned America’s Cup, that in past years has hosted roughly a dozen teams in the Louis Vuitton Cup series that starts the America’s Cup regatta, may be dwindling from three competitors in the early part of the racing down to two. The winner will face Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA boat in September for the America’s Cup.

Race organizers are meeting this week to look at options on the race calendar that for months has been billed as 50 days of racing. An announcement about any changes is expected later this week.

“I remain confident we’ll start as scheduled with the opening ceremonies and opening weekend on July Fourth,” said Tom Ehman, vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which is hosting the regatta. “How the reduced schedule in July shakes out I don’t know. Obviously the teams and event organizers have to work on the scheduling and do what’s best for all concerned.”

Speculation is rampant, however — including among other challenger teams — that Artemis will skip the early round robin series of the Louis Vuitton Cup in July and sail directly into the semifinals in August. That means that only two teams would face each other in July: Emirates Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa. The winner of that series would then race against the winner of the semifinals to determine which team will take on defender Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup finals beginning Sept. 7.

Grant Dalton, managing director of the New Zealand team, told Sail Racing Magazine that he doesn’t see how Artemis can be ready to race in the early weeks of the regatta. “I expect them to turn up for a race by the end of July” or early August. – San Jose Mercury News, read on

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