By Paul Lewis, NZ Herald:
Mark down August 8 in the diary. It's when the future of the 35th America's Cup and that of its principal architect, Sir Russell Coutts, could be altered.
August 8 is when the first of the US$2 million ($2.34m) entry fees are due. But with the Cup currently in limbo – with no venue and the Challenger of Record, Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club, withdrawing – there's a chance August 8 will come and go with few clinking noises in Oracle Team USA's money jar.
So far, they have just two challengers – Italy's Luna Rossa and Sweden's Artemis. Under Cup rules, Oracle cannot accept these until there is at least a third.
Yachting circles in New Zealand and abroad are awash with gossip other potential challengers could be about to turn the screw on Coutts by withholding entries until changes are made to the unpopular protocol Oracle released earlier this year and, more particularly, until a more favourable venue is chosen.
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