The Prada-backed sailing syndicate Luna Rossa withdraws from the America’s Cup after other teams voted to reduce the size of the racing catamarans.
Italian team Luna Rossa is withdrawing from the America’s Cup after teams voted to reduce the size of boats to be sailed in the 2017 regatta in Bermuda.
“Following a careful evaluation of the serious implications of this unprecedented initiative, Team Luna Rossa confirms that it will withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup,” a statement from the team said on Thursday.
On Tuesday night, America’s Cup organisers said a majority of teams favoured the move from 62-foot (19-metre) to 48-foot (14.65-metre) catamarans.
While the AC62 Class Rule could be changed only with unanimous consent, organisers led by two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA said last week that they had agreed with the other squads to amend the protocol to change the class rule with a majority vote.
“Team Luna Rossa indeed considers illegitimate the procedure adopted and founded on an evident abuse of process by surreptitious use of procedures to modify the protocol in order to overturn the class rule, which instead requires the unanimity of the teams entered,” said Luna Rossa, which is backed by the fashion house Prada.
The rule change was passed despite Luna Rossa saying last week it “will be obliged to withdraw” if the race boat was downsized. Team New Zealand supported the Italians.
While the downsizing was considered a cost-cutting move, Luna Rossa was believed to be at an advanced stage in its development of a larger boat.
“This radical change also implies a waste of important resources already invested based on the rules that were sanctioned in June last year,” Luna Rossa said. “Luna Rossa frequently advanced proposals aimed at containing costs that however would not have changed the nature of the boats, but these proposals have systematically been rejected by the defender.”
Luna Rossa said it would honour all of its contractual obligations to its team members.
Luna Rossa’s withdrawal could also put in jeopardy the opening event of this year’s America’s Cup World Series, scheduled for Cagliari, Sardinia, in June.
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