Byline: Bill Center
Credit: Staff Writer
Column: AMERICA'S CUP CONTROVERSY
SO The San Diego Union and Tribune (SDU)
LP The next America's Cup promises to be different from its 27 predecessors. The boats will be different, and many of the players will be different. Twelve-meter sloops, and catamarans, will be missing from the Coronado Roads off Point Loma if the challenger and defender fleets assemble as scheduled in January 1992. The Soviets might be on hand. But colorful Australian Alan Bond probably will sit out the next America's Cup. Another whose participation is questionable is controversial Briton Peter de Savary. Officially, the America's Cup Organizing Committee still has 24 entries from 11 nations. But only half that many challengers and as few as three defenders probably will sail here.
TX Rival syndicates in Italy and France already have merged. Even if the Soviet Union participates, it will not send four boats. Spain and Sweden have not finalized their preliminary entries. As for New Zealand, Michael Fay would not discuss any plans as a challenger. Fay is convinced that the New York Court of Appeals will overturn yesterday's decision by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court that reversed the Kiwis' forfeit victory. But expect the New Zealanders to challenge here if the Court of Appeals agrees that New York Supreme Court Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrongfully penalized San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) for its use of Dennis Conner's catamaran defender last year. Here is a look at the 1992 America's Cup: The Series -- Australia's Royal Perth Yacht Club, the challenger of record, probably will have three round-robins before the top four boats meet in best-of-seven semifinal and final series. The round-robins likely will begin about Feb. 1. SDYC will set the format for the defender trials, which probably will begin about Feb. 10. The best-of-seven America's Cup will begin approximately May 1. The Boats -- The 12-meter design, 76 years old, has been replaced by the high-performance America's Cup Class (ACC) sloop. The 12-meter was a heavy, slow sloop, measuring 65 feet in overall length and 45 feet in waterline length, with an 86-foot mast and 2,000 square feet of sail against a 66,000-pound displacement. The ACC will be 75 feet long overall with a 57-foot waterline and a 110-foot mast supporting 3,000 square feet of sail against a 37,000-pound displacement. The switch was agreed to by defenders and challengers here last September. Preliminaries -- SDYC wants to invite skippers from defenders and challengers to compete next May in a one-design, match-racing series paralleling Long Beach's annual Congressional Cup. The event would be called the America's Cup Rally. A look at the possible participants: The Defenders Best Prospects Dennis Conner -- The San Diegan will be going for an unprecedented fourth Cup victory as a skipper. Peter Isler -- Conner's navigator in his 1987 and '88 victories, Isler already has signed Bruce Nelson as a designer and has emerged as Conner's top defense opponent. Yankee Syndicate -- Chuck Inglefield of Cleveland Yachting Club has teamed with veteran Buddy Melges and Bill Shore to form a Great Lakes syndicate. Doubtful Dave Vietor -- Was interested mostly as a challenger in New Zealand. Had sold his effort as a way of bringing the 1995 America's Cup to Boston Harbor. That cannot happen with the defense in United States. West Coast -- The recent death of Tom Blackaller all but eliminates San Francisco. Portola Yacht Club of Santa Cruz has shown interest, and remnants of the Eagle Syndicate of 1986 have talked to designer Brit Chance. The Challengers Italy (1 or 2 boats) -- With the help of former San Diegan Paul Cayard and Conner crew boss Robert Hopkins, Raul Gardini is off to a fast start. The first boat will be launched in December. Although * Costa Smeralda Yacht Club and the Aga Khan have lost interest, a group of Italian industrialists called the Longo Bardo Syndicate may challenge with the help of Americans John Marshall and John Bertrand. France (1) -- Two challenges have merged with skipper Marc Pajot at the helm. The first boat will go in the water this month. Australia (2) -- With his lenders now calling the shots over his corporate empire, Bond, whose wing-keeled Australia II defeated Conner's Liberty in 1983 to end U.S. domination of the Cup, already has announced he will not participate in '92. But designer Iain Murray and skipper Peter Gilmour will find a home with Royal Sydney or Royal Perth yacht clubs. Japan (2) -- Nippon Ocean Racing Club and Bengal Bay Yacht Club are up and running in the Japanese America's Cup debut. New Zealand (1-2) -- Although there is no entry yet, Fay has skipper Rod Davis and designer Bruce Farr working, and 1986 skipper Chris Dickson may be putting a group together. West Germany (1) -- Uwe Leibor's syndicate is operational. Soviet Union (0-2) -- There are reports that four boats are being built in Estonia. It is notable that the Soviets were interested only if the America's Cup was being sailed in San Diego. Denmark (0-1) -- Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vlademar Bandolowski has been planning this for five years but still has questionable backing. Great Britain (1-2) -- Like Bond, de Savary has had business setbacks. Blue Arrow could merge with two rival groups.
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