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America's Cup Challenger-of-Record Withdraws from Event

 

Italian yacht racing team Mascalzone Latino announced it will not compete in the America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013 as previously planned.

In a statement posted to the team's website, Italian shipping magnate Vincenzo Onorato blamed financial difficulties for its withdrawal.

"With deep sorrow I have to announce my decision to withdraw my team from the 34th America’s Cup," Onorato said in the statement. "[T]he most difficult challenge that the next Cup must face: an international situation with big economic crisis and therefore huge difficulties to find sponsor. This is the only, true, real enemy of the next Cup."

The team was the event's official challenger-of-record, meaning it was responsible for representing other competitors in dealing with Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing team, which holds the cup and chose to race the regatta in San Francisco Bay in 72-foot catamarans. Latino had been a staunch supporter of Ellison's plans to revolutionize the regatta as a made-for-television event raced in fast, difficult-to-control catamarans.

The team's withdrawal means that 13 teams are now entered in the event, Sail World reported.

No replacement has been named for the challenger-of-record. In the past, when there was no designated challenger; a committee represented all of the challengers.

Oracle Racing plans to take to the bay in 45-foot catamarans next month for training, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

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