SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The America’s Cup qualification races may be significantly scaled back as the Swedish team may not be ready in time, officials said on Wednesday, which may financially impact host city San Francisco and the corporate sponsors.
Originally there were 21 races scheduled for the Louis Vuitton qualifying events in July and after the capsizing of the Team Artemis boat in which a crewmember was killed last May, the number of races was reduced to 15. But America’s Cup official Tom Ehman said that now there maybe only five races next month.
While there has been no official announcement, it’s been said that the Swedes will compete but need more practice time. That means they will not race until August leaving only Italy and New Zealand to compete in the first round.
“What happens then through the rest of July on what days, involving what teams is still up in the air,” Ehman said.
The implications of having so few races are significant to Cup organizers, the city of San Francisco and others. Tickets have been pre-sold, corporate sponsor events have been set and other business tied to the event will be affected.
Ehman didn’t speculate on details of such a race reduction.
“Don’t forget, America’s Cup is and always has been about the America’s Cup match—the finals, which is the big deal,” he said.
Team Artemis was not available for comment but if they skip next month’s races, they will still be eligible to compete in the semi-finals in August.
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