America's defending Cup champion unveils new model

Swiss team Alinghi, defending champions of America's Cup, unveiled the AC33 model, establishing new design rules for the upcoming race. The new rules mean lighter and faster boats can take part in the Cup, seen by many as sailing's most prestigious.


AFP - Defending champions Alinghi on Friday unveiled the new design rules for the next America's Cup which will allow for the participation of lighter and faster boats in sailing's most prestigious race.

The AC33 model was designed in consultations between Alinghi, the Challenger of Record which it selected and the 17 other teans which have entered the race which is scheduled to be held off the Spanish port of Valencia in 2010.

The rules for the AC33 allow it to have a maximum length of 26 metres overall, with five metres of draft and a displacement of 17.5 tonnes, Alinghi said in a statement.

"We think it will be a boat which the America's Cup community will really enjoy, a worthy successor to all the wonderful boats that have gone before," said Tom Schnackenberg who headed the process to create the new rules.

The final date of the 33rd America's Cup, which was initially planned for 2009, depends on the outcome of the endless legal row between Swiss team Alinghi and their bitter US rivals Oracle.

A New York appeal court is to begin hearing final arguments in the case on February 10 and is expected to issue a ruling in late March.

Some teams, such as Team China, have expressed a preference for the next America's Cup to be held in 2011 in order to have more time to prepare.

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