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Eleven Syndicates From Nine Countries Challenge New Zealand

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (May 14, 1996)—Eleven syndicates, from nine countries, have challenged to race New Zealand for the America's Cup in the year 2000.

Entries closed at 5:00 pm NZ time today. There is, however, a late entry deadline of 14 May, 1997 by when the Squadron anticipates that the challenger line-up will grow to at least 14.

Squadron commodore Peter Hay announced the provisional list of 11 entries at a press conference at Westhaven late this evening. He stressed that the list could not be confirmed until careful vetting of the validity of challenges was completed. This was expected to take another 14 days.

"We have to ensure that the entry criteria have been met by the 11 who have challenged to date," said Commodore Hay. "Much of this procedure has already been completed but there are still some points to be clarified before we can confirm the list. We don't anticipate any problems with that process."

Commodore Hay said the Squadron was thrilled with the initial challenger response.

"We are already assured of a highly competitive, fully international regatta," he observed. "There are still some major America's Cup players out there however -- like America's Dennis Conner, Australia's John Bertrand and the Italians. They have another 12 months in which to put campaigns together so we fully expect the final lineup of challengers to at least match the record 13 entries, from 6 countries, that challenged Australia in Fremantle in 1986-87."

New Zealand will defend the Cup in a best-of-nine match, starting 26 February, 2000. The racing will take place off Auckland's East Coast Bays, less than an hour's tow from the downtown Auckland waterfront where, it is planned, a new America's Cup harbour will accommodate all competitors in one village-style regatta venue.

The provisional list of challengers is:

England              Royal Dorset Yacht Club
France               Societe Nautique Grau-Du-Roi/Port Camargue
Hong Kong            Aberdeen Boat Club
Japan                Nippon Yacht Club
Russia               St. Petersburg Yacht Club
Spain                Monte Real Club de Yates de Bayona/Real Club 
                     Nautico de Valencia
United States        New York Yacht Club
                     St. Francis Yacht Club
                     St. Thomas Yacht Club
Two others, the details of which, at this stage, must remain confidential.

This is an official announcement from Team New Zealand.


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