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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sailing: Ellison a no-show at America's Cup press conference


PAUL LOGOTHETIS
AP Sports Writer

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) The hostility between America's Cup rivals was apparent Saturday after BMW Oracle president Larry Ellison refused to attend an owners' press conference with Alinghi counterpart Ernesto Bertarelli.

The two syndicates have been battling in the courtroom over the 33rd edition of the sailing classic since July 2007. Ellison said he did not appear because his chief executive Russell Coutts was excluded.

Consorcio Valencia, which runs the event, said no person was excluded and only the two team owners invited.

Bertarelli said he was "embarrassed" by Ellison's no-show.

"I guess today sums it up. I came here today determined to shake his hand," Bertarelli said. "Again, I am available and he is not. (But) if he wants to meet after the Cup, I'm more than happy to."

The relationship between Bertarelli and Ellison, once friendly rivals, deteriorated after Coutts joined BMW Oracle shortly after the courtroom saga began. Coutts, a three-time America's Cup champion, previously skippered Alinghi.

Bertarelli expects the high performance multihull boats which can sail three times the speed of wind to deliver a series to remember and said he expects BMW Oracle to be a "formidable" opponent.

The America's Cup is scheduled to begin Monday.