Sunday, October 14, 2007

Italians step up

The Italian Eolia syndicate has submitted “pre-registration” to America’s Cup Management and revealed some further details of its plans. The official entry will be made as soon as some of the funding is in place.

The aim is to make the team as Italian as possible. To that end, the syndicate hopes to acquire the boat that Luna Rossa used in the semi-finals, where it defeated BMW Oracle, and Italian will be the language spoken on the boat. It is believed that Francisco De Angelis will join the team, though perhaps not in a sailing role.

The new yacht will be constructed in the Cantiere Navali di Palermo shipyard, where Fincantieri operates the largest shipyard in the Mediterranean, building and repairing commercial vessels.

The initial budget for Operazione-Coppa America is €50 million. This will not, as previously reported, come from a single source in the shape of an industrial group from northern Italy. The funds are to be provided by a Milan company, a bank and a number of businessmen in the north, who have formed a group for this purpose. In addition, it is likely that Sicily will contribute €10 million, something that President Salvatore Cuffaro hinted at, about a month ago.