America's Cup will not return to Portsmouth until at least 2019

AMERICA'S Cup racing will potentially not return to Portsmouth until 2019 at the earliest.

Racing along Southsea seafront was earmarked to return next summer as part of a new biannual deal between the competitors.

America's Cup racing will not return to Portsmouth until 2019 at the earliest

However, the move was opposed by Emirates Team New Zealand and following their victory in the 35th competition in Bermuda three months ago, the team - alongside challenger of record Luna Rossa - announced the protocol for the next global event early this morning.

It was confirmed that preliminary regattas - of which, two have previously been held in the city - will take place internationally in 2019 and 2020 before the final America's Cup Match in March 2021 at either Auckland, New Zealand or in Italy.

Portsmouth have bid for the chance to host one of the regattas on the seafront and it is not yet known if the bid was successful.

The next America's Cup will see a return to 75ft high monohulls, scrapping the catamarans that have been a common place in the sport for the last few competitions.

It is unclear how this will affect Sir Ben Ainslie's Portsmouth-based team who built and designed their headquarters on The Camber based around constructing the 50ft catamaran for racing action.

Sir Ben previously wrote in a column earlier this summer that it would have been a 'mistake' to go back to monohulls for the sailing competition.

Speaking after the announcement, he said: ‘We are comfortable with the transition, the key people in our sailing, design, engineering and support teams all have a great deal of relevant experience.

‘With the rule not coming out until March, we hope that it will be a collaborative approach to its development with all stakeholders included.’

Sir Ben added: ‘It’s good to see that the World Series will continue in 2019, and we look forward to returning to America’s Cup racing in the new class.

‘The cup has gained a lot of new fans and it was encouraging to hear both the defender and challenger of record’s commitment to delivering the same high standard of global, televisual racing to cement the interest in our sport.’

Grant Dalton, chief executive of Emirates Team New Zealand, said: 'The release of the protocol just three months after the last race of the America's Cup is the start line for all teams, existing or prospective, of the 36th America's Cup campaign.

'This was focused negotiation with the challenger of record but the common ground was to produce a protocol that was fair first and foremost with a basis of both tradition and technology.'

Luna Rossa originally pulled out of the last tournament due to a dispute over a change in the rules.

Patrizio Bertelli, president of Luna Rossa Challenge said: 'The situation has completely changed: the original values of the cup are being restored and the traditional prerogatives of each side preserved.'

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