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Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa 'well apart' on America's Cup race rules

Team New Zealand are at risk of missing out on vital racing ahead of next year's America's Cup if they can not settle their differences with Italian challenger Luna Rossa.

Team New Zealand training with Rangitoto Island in the background. Source: America's Cup

Four weeks out from the scheduled start date of the America's Cup World Series in Auckland, the defender and challenger of record are at odds over how the regatta will be run.

The four-day event, which starts on December 17, is Team New Zealand's first and last chance to test their second AC75 against the three challengers - Luna Rossa, American Magic and Team UK - ahead of the America's Cup in March.

"We are still in negotiation with COR about the race day format for the two regattas (ACWS and Christmas Race) which we are well apart on at present," Team New Zealand said in a statement.

"No Notices of Race have been issued for either event yet."

The World Series and Christmas Race is a warm-up ahead of the Prada Challenger Selection Series in which the three international syndicates will compete and is an opportunity for the boats to go head-to-head on the same racecourses which will be used in the America's Cup.

Two earlier World Series events scheduled for April in Italy and June in England were cancelled due to Covid-19, leaving all teams short of racing.

Claims by Luna Rossa that Team New Zealand have not paid an entry fee for the World Series and Christmas Race regatta on the Waitematā Harbour have been dismissed by the defenders.

However, if the off-the-water battle between the two teams continues Team New Zealand could be the biggest loser.

A disagreement between Luna Rossa - with backing from the other challengers - and Team New Zealand, about the courses available for racing on has already been to the America's Cup Arbitration Panel and required the intervention of the Ports of Auckland to restore the spectator-friendly inner harbour courses.

If Luna Rossa are able to prevent Team New Zealand competing in the final World Series and Christmas Race regatta, Team New Zealand will miss out on the racing data that the challengers will gain.

rnz.co.nz