Gulf chosen as America's Cup venue

Switzerland's Alinghi, two-time defending champion of sailing's America's Cup, say the next race will take place in the Gulf in February 2010.

This content was published on August 5, 2009 - 10:21

Alinghi officials and its supporting yacht club, Société Nautique de Geneve, said Ras al-Khaimah on the northern tip of the United Arab Emirates was chosen because of its sailing conditions and support.

The best-of-three showdown between Alinghi and its bitter American rival, BMW Oracle Racing competition, is to begin on February 8.

In a statement, Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth said Ras al-Khaimah "has a great, building sea breeze during the day, similar to Mediterranean conditions in the summer, making it good for these boats and safe for all concerned".

Oracle's supporting Golden Gate Yacht Club said on Wednesday it was considering challenging the choice of venue, as the decision had been made without their mutual consent and was contrary to the race rules.

Alinghi will sail a catamaran while their challengers have chosen a trimaran. The boats are 90-feet long and can sail at two to 2.5 times the speed of the wind.

The size and power of the boats makes the consequences of accidents more grave, and both sides have been cautious in bringing them up to speed. Alinghi eliminated Valencia - where it won the 2007 America's Cup - as a venue because of concerns about rough weather in February.

The rare one-on-one match between Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing is the result of a two-year legal battle between billionaire syndicate heads Ernesto Bertarelli of Alinghi and American software tycoon Larry Ellison.

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