SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Team Artemis announced Friday it plans to sail in the America’s Cup yacht races this summer, even as racing officials indicated the preliminary rounds would be scaled back even further because of safety concerns raised after one of the Swedish’s competitors sailors was killed during a training run on San Francisco Bay.
Artemis has started building a second boat to participate in the races, but testing may not be finished in time for all of the Luis Vuitton Challenger Rounds scheduled in July, said America’s Cup CEO Stephen Barclay.
“Whilst we don’t envision them turning up in the first couple of rounds,” Barclay said, “we want to give them every opportunity to participate.”
Barclay said the Cup’s regatta director decided to reduce the number of challenger rounds from seven to five to eliminate back-to-back racing days and provide the teams more time to perform maintenance in between rounds.
That means 15 race days scheduled for July, down from 21 originally, with the possibility that some of the boats will sail even if their competitors cannot, since Cup rules do not allow a race to be cancelled.
“The other team scores the point, provided it sails the race course,” Barclay said, with teams who accumulate the most points advancing to the next stage.
“The structure’s still exactly the same. Whoever wins those preliminary rounds, has the most points, advances directly to the final. So that stays exactly as it is.”
And if Artemis does not sail at all in July, there could be just five days of racing that month.
Barclay said the America’s Cup Racing Authority is working with the San Francisco Giants, its ticketing partner for the event, on a plan for reimbursing ticketholders in the event that race days are canceled.
“We don’t expect people to pay if there’s no racing,” he said.
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