Alinghi exits the 34th America's Cup but stays with catamaran circuit

Alinghi’s two Extreme 40 catamarans sailing in the upwind leg of one of the races.

Alinghi, two times winner of the America’s Cup, has today announced that it will not enter a team in the 34th edition of the prestigious sailing trophy and instead has launched a new programme that will see the Swiss team participating in the Extreme Sailing Series.

Day 2, iShares Cup at Skandia Cowes Week : Alinghi Extreme 40 - iShares Cup - Skandia Cowes Week. Photo: Matt Dickens
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In a statement issued today, the Swiss based America's Cup team owned by Ernesto Bertarelli advised that 'after a careful evaluation of the protocol and other initiatives taken by the American Defender and its Challenger of Record, Alinghi considers that the existing conditions make it impossible for the team to participate in the 34th America’s Cup.'

The release does not specifically what points make it impossible to contest the trophy they won in 2003 and defended in 2007 both times against Emirates Team New Zealand, as Defender and then Challenger.

Several other existing teams have also announced that they will not be competing, others are awaiting the announcement of the venue for the 34th America's Cup and details of the new America's Cup World Series which will be held in 13 editions before the actual America's Cup itself.

So far there are two named challengers for the 34th America's Cup - original challenger Mascalzone Latino and Artemis Racing plus another yet unnamed challenger.

Alinghi training in their Extreme 40 multihulls

However the now former America's Cup team will not be vanishing from the world's sailing circuits.

'Alinghi remains interested in the America’s Cup and will be closely following its developments in the coming months but for the immediate future it will concentrate its efforts in other world class challenges,' the team says.

'The Extreme Sailing Series, a championship raced with 40-feet catamarans that is expanding geographically and commercially in 2011 whilst maintaining a truly level playfield and exciting competition, provides the perfect ground for Alinghi to develop its international sailing activity. In parallel, the team will continue to participate in the D35 series on Lake Geneva.'

The Extreme 40 series has been restructured and upgraded for the coming year and it is expected that Alinghi will compete against several other current America's Cup teams as they try and get all the catamaran experience possible as they try to catch up to the current America's cup Defender, BMW Oracle Racing.