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America's Cup: Dalton excuses Sardinia from AC40 regatta consideration as deadline looms

by Richard Gladwell/ 20 Apr 2023 05:09 PDT
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Day 33 - February 23, 2023 - Cagliari © Ivo Rovira / America'sCup

America's Cup Event Ltd has not been able to reach a suitable commercial arrangement with the Region of Sardinia (RAS) over the hosting of a second Preliminary Regatta. The CEO of America's Cup Event Ltd, Grant Dalton has formally excused RAS from further consideration.

According to a report from Italian America's Cup correspondent, Fabio Pozzo, writing in La Stampa, Dalton has written to "the regional councilor for tourism Gianni Chessa telling him that the Cagliari event is "no longer in consideration"."

Negotiations broke down over a week ago with ACE being unable to reach an agreement with RAS, despite the Sardinians having contracted to stage a previous America's Cup Preliminary Regatta in April 2020 - and event which was called off as the shadow of the Covid 19 pandemic advanced across Europe.

After the initial breakdown became publicly revealed in a previous story in La Stampa, Chessa came in for political opprobrium, and acted to revive the discussions via Zoom calls. However RAS did not shift from their original position on several key points, and required media information which was not able to be released due to commercial reasons.

RAS also wanted ACE to carry the financial burden of the proposed event with "installments for the payment of the organization of the event cannot be paid before 30 June and that 30-40% of the amount would be paid only after the event itself, and explains to the commissioner that this is not possible. “We are unable to accept this offer,” writes Dalton, because a small organization such as theirs cannot operate with negative cash flows and expect after the event to receive what was agreed."

"It is with deep regret I have to conclude that the Cagliari event is no longer in consideration", Dalton wrote - breaking off the discussions in a letter to Chessa, in his capacity as Minister for Tourism for Sardinia.

Now the focus shifts to picking up the discussion with Brindisi, who declared an interest last weekend with a consortium of marine and industry groups being involved. ACE are up against a published deadline of announcing the dates for both Preliminary Regattas by April 30.

The first Preliminary Regatta has been announced for Vilanova in the Catalonian region of Spain, which will be sailed in October 2023. That negotiation was concluded in four weeks on the basis of the same information that was provided to RAS six months ago.

The Preliminary Regattas will be sailed between the six teams entered in the 2024 America's Cup. They will sail one design AC-40's, a 39ft foiling keelboat - with four crew, they will be the first hit-out for the crews since the 2021 America's Cup in Auckland, and are the only permitted racing between teams ahead of the 2024 America's Cup.

From July 1 to October 31, 2023 the America's Cup teams are permitted only to sail at the America's Cup venue in Barcelona. A third Preliminary Regatta is required to be held ahead of the 2024 America's Cup. That event will be sailed in the AC75 America's Cup Class.

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