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America's Cup: Format announced for Louis Vuitton Cup

Iain Murray, the Regatta Director for the 34th America's Cup, has issued the dates and format for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series.

Taking place in 2013, in San Francisco, the objective of the challenger series is to both build and identify the strongest possible challenger to meet the defender in the America's Cup Finals.

The next Louis Vuitton Cup will consist of five stages, all of the challengers will participate in at least the first three, before eliminations begin. The first day of racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup will be July 4th, 2013 (changed from July 13th). The last possible day of racing will be September 1.

On current planning, the Louis Vuitton Cup will be held in San Francisco, which is also the venue for the 34th America's Cup.

With the changes in the latest Protocol, or conditions for the America's Cup and its forerunning series, the America's Cup World Series, numbers of entrants and the Louis Vuitton Cup format may change if a reduced number of teams on the ACWS circuit failed to progress, for financial reasons, to the Louis Vuitton Cup.

In the latest Protocol changes, while competitors were ostensibly entered for the 34th America's Cup, they now have the chance to compete only in the AC45 regattas, and may, or may not elect to step up to the bigger 72ft AC72 class, which will be sailed in the 34th America's Cup.

'There are nearly two full months of competition, and all of the challengers will be racing for at least the first five weeks,' said Iain Murray, the Regatta Director. 'As a group, the challengers wanted to introduce a format that would strike a good balance between allowing the potential of some of the new teams to develop over time, while still ensuring the top teams were constantly improving, so that the eventual winner will be prepared to take on the defender.'

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