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AC36: Italy a better than even option for Cup defense venue?

AUCKLAND – The most surprising aspect of this morning's Media Conference to announce the Protocol for the 36th America's Cup was the comment, contained in the Protocol, was that if Auckland were not ready to host the America's Cup, then it would be staged in Italy. While it is intended that the regatta will be held in Auckland, this is dependent on the required infrastructure being in place, and a final announcement as to whether the 36th America's Cup will be staged in Auckland or Italy will be made in August next year. The move is a wake-up call for Auckland and New Zealand, given that it was noted that there is no suitable infrastructure in place.Richard Gladwell, New Zealand editor of Sail-World.com, in an article posted after Thursday's press conference at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron at which the AC36 Protocol was announced. Full story.

As I told the lively crowd at California Yacht Club in LA's Marina del Rey last evening where I gave a multimedia Cupdate presentation, your Ed. thinks the chances of the event being held outside New Zealand are next to zero, notwithstanding the headline of our good friend Richard's article saying it's a better than even chance (of AC36 being held in Italy). This looks like a well-coordinated push by ETNZ, and Sail-World, to put pressure on Auckland and New Zealand to get moving on developing a suitable venue for the event which, experience shows (in Auckland where the 2000 and 2003 Cups were held) brings direct economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars.

AC36 venue to be in Italy instead of Auckland, NZL (above)?

Luna Rossa, a.k.a. Team Prada, is based in Cagliari in southern Sardinia, where there is plenty of room for team bases, according to Luna Rossa President (and CEO of Prada) Patrizio Bertelli at yesterday's press conference.