Alinghi challengers set sail to do battle

Alinghi won the final preliminary "act" of the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia on April 8 Keystone

Alinghi, Switzerland's defending America's Cup yachting champion, came no closer to finding a challenger on Monday when the Louis Vuitton Cup was postponed.

This content was published on April 16, 2007 minutes

Eleven potential competitors were hoping to take part in a first round-robin stage, racing against each other twice, but a lack of wind in Valencia meant Monday's ten match races had to be rescheduled for Friday. Racing was expected to resume on Tuesday.

A challenger must first win the Louis Vuitton Cup before racing against Alinghi for the America's Cup.

In the present round, each victory earns two points, with all participants moving onto a second round-robin round from April 25 to May 6. This time, each team will race the other only once.

At that stage, a win is rewarded with two points and added to those garnered in the first round.

The top four teams then move onto the semi-finals, which involve a best-of-nine race in May. The winner then selects its opponent.

The best-of-nine final takes place at the beginning of June.

Cat and mouse

Alinghi itself will not race before the end of June but billionaire owner Ernesto Bertarelli said that the "game of cat and mouse" begins now.

"I think a few of the other teams would like to race against us," Bertarelli said.

Alinghi won the 13th and final preliminary "Act" or regatta of the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia on April 8.

These Acts are divided into seven regattas, spread over three years in order to hold the public's interest between America's Cup events.

The 13th Act confirmed that the favourites to win the world's most prestigious sailing trophy were Alinghi, the American BMW Oracle Racing, Italy's Luna Rossa and New Zealand's Emirates Team.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Alinghi raced to a 5-0 victory against Team New Zealand in Auckland on March 2, 2003 to win the America's Cup, considered the most prestigious yachting trophy.

The Swiss team entered the history books as it was the first to return the Auld Mug, the America's Cup trophy, back to Europe since the inaugural race and it was also the first team to win the cup on it's first try.

Three-time America's Cup winner Brad Butterworth leads the sailing team, which flies the colours of the Société Nautique de Genève (Geneva Nautical Society). The team is made up of individuals from 21 countries.

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The America's Cup

The inaugural race was held off the Isle of Wight in 1851. America dominated the race right up until 1983 when Australia won the trophy.

In 1995 New Zealand became only the third country to win the competition, successfully defending their title in 2000. Alinghi sailed to victory against Black Magic in 2003.

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