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26 January 2004, 03:49 pm
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XXXII America's Cup

With the signing of an amended Protocol and the publication of the Terms of Challenge, the Challenge Period for the 32nd America's Cup commences today and remains open until the end of 2004.
This major step brings on the challengers to the America's Cup and will make this competition a reality in Europe as early as September 2004, when the first Pre-Regattas will take place in southern European waters.

These two fundamental documents, which describe in detail the rules, terms and conditions for teams wishing to participate in the 32nd America's Cup, reflect the new dimension and the increased sophistication that this unique event is taking as it arrives in Europe for the first time in its 153-year history. The 2004-2007 America's Cup will benefit from significant changes in its racing format as well as from its integration into Valencia, Spain, the Host City for the 32nd America's Cup, gradually building up to the climax, the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Match, in 2007.

"These two documents are in line with the new dimension that the America's Cup is taking as it moves into Europe. On the one hand, we at AC Management are devoting our energy to organising an event that will perpetuate the legend and allow people to share the intensity and emotion that the America's Cup inspires, while, on the other, we are providing strong support to all teams in a number of significant areas," said Michel BONNEFOUS, CEO of AC Management.

"We had long and fruitful discussions with the Defender, Société Nautique de Genève, represented by Team Alinghi, and the Challenger of Record, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, represented by ORACLE BMW Racing. We are thankful to both of them for agreeing to the changes to the Protocol for the 32nd America's Cup necessary to create a great working platform," added Michel HODARA, Chief Operating Officer.

"The subsequent publication of the Terms of Challenge by AC Management allows for the implementation of this new vision for the America's Cup in the 21st century," he concluded.

Also contained in the Terms of Challenge document are many measures to aid teams wishing to participate in the 32nd America's Cup along with details and principles to govern a fair and balanced event for all concerned. These include:

- A Pre-Regatta programme that will deliver immediate exposure in a variety of geographic locations from September 2004.

The series of Pre-Regattas will yield more meaningful America's Cup racing, with at least three events being held in each year leading up to 2007. Fleet racing will be incorporated in some of these regattas, and the races are open to all, including the Defender and in 2004 for other teams who may not have registered as challengers yet.

- Significant infrastructural and logistical support, both in Valencia and during the Pre-Regattas. These include a consolidated weather programme for the Race Committee and teams, a dedicated race village where all team bases will be built and public access to allow fans close to all the action. Two racecourses will be set just a 15 minute tow from the bases, and racing may take place just tens of metres from the shoreline.

- Administrative support for all teams present in Valencia. This will include a One-Stop-Shop for members of the America's Cup community, facilitating schooling, housing and local administrative issues, etc. Much of this has been made possible because, for the first time ever, there is a single event authority - AC Management (ACM) - for the America's Cup. The 2004-2007 America's Cup now consists of Pre-Regattas, the Louis Vuitton Cup (the Challenger Selection Series) and the America's Cup Match.

Teams representing non-Swiss yacht clubs are eligible to challenge for the America's Cup in accordance with the terms and conditions spelled out in the Protocol and Terms of Challenge. The challenge deadline is 17th December 2004. Challengers will be accepted after that date until 29th April, 2005 if accompanied by a late fee.

AC Management is developing a day-to-day dialogue with a number of challenger teams, originating from all over the world, with which to offer them specific marketing support. Many of these are expected to enter the competition over the coming months.

About the 32nd America's Cup

The 32nd America's Cup consists of a four-year programme of Pre-Regattas leading up to the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Match in Valencia in 2007. The Pre-Regattas will be held in a number of venues in Europe and North America. The first Preregattas are scheduled to take place in Valencia in September 2004.

Over the past two months, AC Management has announced Valencia, Spain as the Host City for the 32nd America's Cup, Louis Vuitton as the principal partner of the America's Cup, and "Louis Vuitton Cup" as the title of the Challenger Selection Series. Endesa, the Spanish energy company, is an official partner.

Version Five of the America's Cup Class Rule, as mutually agreed between the Challenger of Record and Defender, was published in December 2003.

The Deed of Gift, the amended Protocol and the Terms of Challenge for the 32nd America's Cup, along with Version Five of the ACC Rule, can be downloaded from the official America's Cup website.
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