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Alinghi, BMW Oracle meeting flops

ALINGHI rejected a proposal from BMW Oracle Racing yesterday for a traditional America's Cup race in monohull boats, saying it was preparing to race the American challenger in multihulls as soon as May 2010.

The first meeting between the rival teams to negotiate the terms for a 33rd edition of sailing's classic ended in discord, with Alinghi saying the race should be held as soon as possible rather than in 2011. It also called on BMW Oracle to invite other teams to take part.

"It is time to just get out there and have the regatta and get on with it," Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth said after a first gathering since a long-running court battle ended this month.

But BMW Oracle and its backer, San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, said it had put forward a proposal for a traditional race with multiple challengers in monohull boats.

"GGYC is disappointed that (Alinghi's club Societe Nautique Geneve) categorically rejected our proposals for a conventional regatta," club spokesman Tom Ehman said in a statement.

BMW Oracle and Golden Gate won a ruling April 2 in New York which gave them the right to negotiate terms for the next America's Cup. If no agreement is reached on a multichallenger regatta, the Americans would have the right to face Alinghi in a best-of-three series in multihulls. BMW Oracle has built a multihull in readiness for such a duel, but came to Alinghi's home club in Geneva proposing a multi-challenger regatta in 2011.

The American side has asked for the Swiss defender to state its position in writing before a follow-up meeting is scheduled.

"(Golden Gate) will continue to negotiate in good faith as challenger of record to put the America's Cup back on the water as soon as possible," Ehman said.

Alinghi retained the America's Cup in July 2007 beating Team New Zealand 5-2 in Valencia.


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