The seven hills of Rome were due to roar today but instead could muster little more than the squeak of a mouse when the first major announcement about the next America's Cup was proclaimed in the majestic forum of the Musei Capitolini on the imperious Piazza del Campidoglio.
What the fans wanted, but those in the know did not expect, was a combined blueprint from the San Francisco-based holder, the Golden Gate Yacht Club and the official challenger, the Club Nautico di Roma. On the stage were Russell Coutts, who, in addition to a knighthood and an Olympic gold medal, has won the America's Cup four times for three different countries, and shipping magnate Vincenzo Onorato, owner of the Mascalzone Latino team.
No venue for the next event was announced – bids are still being considered from both the United States and Europe – nor even a date, though both 2013 and 2014 were put in the frame. The boats to be used are a matter of discussion between the defender and various potential challengers, though design work is being done on both a monohull and a multihull by Bruce Nelson and Peter Melvin due to be released by 30 September.
That is a month after the protocol for the next Cup is to be published with both the regatta format and rules, plus a decision on the venue being announced on 31 December.
The challenge period will have opened in October, but closes on 31 January 2011, leaving some of the potential teams which have yet to put their funding together dismayed at how little time will be available.
They will also need to make decisions on where they establish their training bases. Also missing was any concrete structure for the event organisation group, though Coutts reaffirmed that the racing will be controlled 'by an independent, neutral and professional authority.'
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