Auckland diary


Nigel Cherrie looks at the line up for the CORM Race Committee trials that start tomorrow
After a long season, it is almost the end of term for the America's Cup community. Just before some teams return to the northern hemisphere for a short break, to launch their new yachts or continue training in their national waters, there are a few opportunities for assessment of form. Tomorrow (Saturday) the CORM Race Committee trails - an unofficial week long regatta for the challengers - gets underway. Five of the six teams currently sailing in Auckland will use courses laid on by the Challenger of Record Management Group to line up against their neighbours. But nothing is ever simple in the America's Cup. Even this is running into controversy and the mud has started flying. Sweden's Victory Challenge will be the only active challenger not taking part and they seem disgruntled that another syndicate seem to have denied them the opportunity. It appears that the other challengers, one European team in particular, felt their 1995-generation yacht, the old NZL-38, would be too slow, defeating any value in racing them. "We do not want to sail with Orn (SWE-68), as every challenger has agreed to sail their old boats. Our wish was to be loyal to that decision. We are confident that NZL-38, would have been a competitive boat in the regatta," explained Mats Johansson, Victory's project manager and skipper. As a new team on a steep learning curve, the Swedes seemed happy evaluating their performance against the defenders during the international regatta. Surely the benefits of match racing Orn against the major league challengers would outweigh what information they could give away, bearing in mind they have already been on display to the world once? The Victory team will stay in the City of Sails until early June before returning to the Nordic countries for six weeks. During that time their second 2003 boat

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