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Newport to update on America's Cup venue status

by Richard Gladwell on 20 Dec 2010
America’s Cup winning skipper, James Spithill (AUS) and Glenn Ashby (AUS racing off Newport in the Little America’s Cup, sailed in 26ft wingsailed Int. C class catamarans. This image is of Dan Cunningham (helm) and Rob Paterson (Sheet), sailing the C Cat "Orion" George Bekris © http://www.georgebekris.com

Rhode Island's Economic and Development Corp has announced via a media alert that their Executive Director will present an update on the State's bid to become the Venue for the 34th America's Cup after San Francisco had the status of its bid reduced.

BMW Oracle Racing's Tom Ehman, head of external affairs for the America's Cup Defender will also be present.

A letter was also given the the State on Friday to re-kindle venue negotiations, after San Francisco, originally the front-runner for the venue hosting rights, signed an agreement which was different from that in which BMW Oracle Racing had spent four month negotiating.

Sources close to BMW Oracle Racing told Sail-World that the letter given to RIEDC on Friday, was not a commitment to hold the Cup in Rhode Island, nor an offer to negotiate exclusively, but an commitment to negotiate to see if the parties could get to a final serious expression of interest which can be considered alongside other bids from Rome and San Francisco.

The letter's contents is expected to be believed to be publicly released tomorrow by RIEDC

Negotiations were re-opened with Newport, RI after some terse correspondence was released, last week, attributed to BMW Oracle COO, Stephen Barclay, expressing dissatisfaction with an agreement submitted by the City and County of San Francisco which BMW Oracle claimed had been significantly rejigged by City Hall to the point where it would not be accepted by the Defender who are the rights holder for the Venue decision.

Previously negotiations with Newport RI and an Italian venue near Rome were put on ice after San Francisco had submitted what BMW Oracle Racing described as a 'winning bid'. However the change in agreement by San Franciscon's City Hall triggered 11th hour negotiations with the venue which had hosted the America's Cup for over 120 years.

A final decision on the America's Cup venue is required by 31 December 2010, under the terms of the Protocol which governs the conduct of the 34th America's Cup, to be contested by 72ft wingsailed catamarans.

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