Coutts 'disappointed' by Aussie withdrawal

The America's Cup organisers today confirmed Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club has withdrawn as the Challenger of Record in the America's Cup.

The move comes six days after competitors met in Los Angeles to air their concerns. Among them are costs, not knowing the venue before the first installment of the NZ$2.3 million entry fee is due and unhappiness that San Francisco was eliminated as host city.

"We are very disappointed to be receiving this news," said Russell Coutts, director of the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

"We were excited to have Australia as a challenger and we were also looking forward to the prospect of holding America's Cup World Series events in Australia."

Most challengers are reportedly unhappy that Bermuda is under consideration to host the challenger semifinals and finals, and the America's Cup match in 2017.

They feel it will be a logistical nightmare to take the competition to the British territory in the Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda is competing with San Diego to host the racing.

Hamilton Island was the first foreign yacht club to challenge Oracle Team USA after the American team successfully defended the America's Cup in September. Its sailing team, Team Australia, is now out of the Cup.

It wasn't immediately clear which syndicate will replace Hamilton Island as Challenger of Record, which represents all foreign syndicates in dealing with Oracle Team USA.

"Our focus going forward is with the teams that have already submitted challenges and the teams that have told us of their intent to do so before the entry deadline on August 8."

An announcement on the final venue is expected in October.

Russell Coutts


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