Five pay deposit for the America's Cup

Five syndicates have paid up as Watch Out drops out

Monday November 20th 2000, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
The first five challengers for the 2002/2003 America's Cup have now paid their $US150,000 deposit to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron which enables them formerly to enter the competition. At the same time, the Swiss Watch Out campaign has pulled the plug on its effort.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the five syndicates who have paid are the Italian Prada team, the Swiss Challenge - that's the other Swiss syndicate which includes Russell Coutts, Craig McCaw's Seattle's One World team, the German Illbruck Challenge and the New York Yacht Club team led by Dennis Conner.

Although the RNZYS has received a cheque from Coutts's outfit, it has yet to be banked pending a decision by an arbitration panel on whether the challenge is legitimate. The panel must decide whether the syndicate meets the Cup protocol and a decision is expected soon. The key area is the requirement under the protocol that a challenging yacht club must hold an annual regatta on an arm of the sea.

Peter Taylor, the commodore of the RNZYS, believes there will be nine syndicates on the startline for the Louis Vuitton Cup in October 2002. However he has yet to see an entry cheque from Larry Ellison's San Francisco-based Team Oracle led by Chris Dickson which is already training on the Hauraki Gulf.

Another syndicate which is likely to enter is the Swedish Victory Challenge and there remains talk of a return to the America's Cup by Britain along with another go from the French and a second Italian team. The Watch Out syndicate dissolved after failing to reach the $US30 million budget target they set themselves.

Taylor said he was disappointed that Watch Out had withdrawn. "But that disappointment has been offset by encouraging news from Europe and other potential challengers," he said. Watch Out had not paid their entry fee to the Squadron, but they had booked a base in the Cup Village.

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