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Swiss America's Cup Challenge Confirmed

MORGES, Switzerland (Feb. 17, 1997) — John Heise, commodore of America's Cup defender Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, confirmed today the acceptance of the Swiss challenge from the Club Nautique Morgien (CNM).

The Swiss challenge — headed by skipper Marc Pajot and Pierre Fehlmann, commodore of the FAST 2000 Challenge — was submitted Oct. 29, 1996. This brings to total number of official challengers to 11, representing eight countries.

"This is great news for all our club members," said Serge Oetiker, president of the CNM. "I am particularly delighted to see Jacques Faini's dream-child becoming more and more a reality with every passing day."

Serge Oetiker was elected president by the club's general assembly last November, in replacement of Jacques Faini, who had died in an airplane crash.

"We had no doubt about the CNM being accepted, given its importance on the Swiss nautical scene and its brilliant sporting credentials. The CNM's ability to organize a possible defense on an ocean water course certainly must be taken into consideration too," Pajot said.

Alliance formed
The sporting arm of the Yacht Club Hyères (COYCH) in France is becoming a partner of the CNM's Challenge. During a recent ceremony held in Hyères, Jean Diaz, president of the COYCH, and Serge Oetiker signed their collaboration agreement. If successful in it's challenge, the CNM will organize the defense on the ocean-water course in the bay of Hyères, the French Côte d'Azur. The CNM will organize an annual ocean regatta in Hyères, in addition to some activities it already has at the sea.

Residency established
On Thursday, February 20, a short ceremony will highlight the formal registration of Marc Pajot of France, Jochen Schümann of Germany and Enrico Chieffi of Italy in the books of the civil administration in Morges. Following federal and state approval, they will have Swiss residency authorizations for themselves and their families. The America's Cup protocol requires foreign nationals to establish residency three years in advance of the America's Cup match, which is set to begin on February 26, 2000.

Meanwhile, several key members of the FAST 2000 research and development team have also obtained their Swiss residency permits. These team members were not identified, but it was reported that work in several design areas has begun, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne.

For more details on America's Cup XXX, see the America's Cup Fact Sheet.


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