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America's Cup back on track: Coast Guard approves all race permits

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After weeks of questions and investigations following the capsize of the twin-hulled 72-foot America's Cup challenger Artemis and the death of crew-member Andrew Simpson, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued the required permits to hold the races on San Francisco bay. The opening ceremonies are expected to begin on July 4th, 2013, with the first qualifying races to be held on July 7th.

The actual America's Cup finals will be held in early September between Golden Gate Yacht Club's entry and America's Cup defender Oracle and the winner of the Louis Vuitton Challenger series, scheduled to be contested by the three official challengers, Sweden's Artemis, Italy's Prada Luna Rossa, and Team Emirates-New Zealand, all using AC72 catamarans.

The official America's Cup Event Authority press release follows:

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued the America’s Cup with the Marine Event Permit required to conduct America’s Cup racing on San Francisco Bay this summer.

“This is an important and necessary step for the America’s Cup,” said Iain Murray, independent Regatta Director for the America’s Cup.

“I’d like to thank the United States Coast Guard and all of the other organizations and agencies who have helped the America’s Cup get to this point where we are ready to conduct racing, starting with the fleet parade and time trials on July 5, and the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series, on July 7.”

The Marine Event Permit (“MEP”) requires the implementation of a Safety Plan that incorporates the 37 Safety Recommendations made by the Regatta Director following the fatal capsize of Artemis Racing last month.

After receiving the MEP on Friday, Murray issued a Regatta Notice to the Competitors advising them that the MEP had been issued, and giving effect to the 37 Safety Recommendations, which now rank as rules for the Regatta, and allowing the Regatta to commence on schedule.

“This Regatta Notice has not been made lightly, nor without due consideration of the impact on, and the possible consequences for, each Competitor and the organizer,” Murray writes in a comment to close the Regatta Notice.

“I have exercised my professional judgment to the best of my ability, and have weighed carefully the unfortunate circumstances thrust upon us including (as a paramount consideration) the need to increase the safety of our crews, the officials and other Bay users, as well as the investment made by Competitors and all other stakeholders in this event. Safety is not a multiple-choice selection from which Competitors pick and choose. I have issued this Regatta Notice as being in the best collective interests of the America’s Cup as a long-standing institution in and at the pinnacle of our sport.”

On Thursday, Emirates Team New Zealand filed a protest with the International Jury over three of the 37 Safety Recommendations. The protest is expected to be heard in San Francisco on Monday, July 8, after racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup starts, as scheduled, on July 7.

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