SAN DIEGO (AP) — Port of San Diego officials want to host a Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta that could be part of the buildup to the next America's Cup.
Port commissioners plan to contact the World Sailing Teams Association and Louis Vuitton about starting negotiations as soon as possible, with the hope of hosting a regatta next March.
If the sides can agree to terms, a San Diego regatta would follow racing scheduled for La Maddalena, Italy, in May, Dubai in November and Hong Kong in January. Two more regattas could be held in 2011, on the Black Sea in Russia and in Greece.
A Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta was held recently in Auckland, New Zealand, with former America's Cup champion Team New Zealand beating Italy's Mascalzone, the new Challenger of Record, in the final.
San Diego hosted the America's Cup in 1988, 1992 and 1995.
BMW Oracle Racing, the syndicate owned by American software tycoon Larry Ellison, won the America's Cup for San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club with a two-race sweep of Alinghi of Switzerland in Valencia, Spain, in February.
GGYC and BMW Oracle Racing officials have been consulting with other teams about the venue, timing, format and class of boat for the next America's Cup. They expect to have specifics later this year.
"I think we have all the right ingredients for the Louis Vuitton Trophy to be held in San Diego," said Troy Sears, a member of the host committee who met with Louis Vuitton officials in Auckland.
"We would love to go to San Diego," said Bruno Trouble, a former skipper who is an official with Louis Vuitton. "They are very keen to have our event but I don't know more at the moment."
Trouble said that ideally, the Louis Vuitton Trophy would morph into the Louis Vuitton Cup, which for years was the elimination series that decided which challenger would face the defender in the America's Cup match.
"Until we know where it is, when it is, what boat, it's difficult to start negotiating," Trouble said. "For sure we will enter into negotiations soon and the WSTA might play a role. But again, nothing has been secured yet."
Unlike the bitter court fight between BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi that preceded the 33rd America's Cup, Trouble said early discussions about the future of the 34th America's Cup have been positive.
"It's just goodwill by everybody, which helps the negotiations, normally," he said.
It appears San Francisco will be given first shot at hosting the 34th America's Cup. If it can't, San Diego would like to host the regatta.
Ellison and Trouble helped found the WSTA in spring 2009, in part as a professional sailing circuit and also to give other America's Cup teams a chance to sail while the 33rd America's Cup was delayed by the long, convoluted court fight between BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.