10.52pm Live news bulletin: Alinghi syndicate boss, Ernesto Bertarelli, has shocked the Swiss sailing fraternity by announcing the 33rd contest for the America’s Cup will be fought on New Zealand waters.

Speaking to BayBuzz via cellphone from his lear jet, Bertarelli says the decision to defend the cup in antipodean waters was for the betterment of the competition.

“The 2007 America’s Cup was somewhat overshadowed by allegations of commercialism,” he said. “Taking the game to New Zealand and defending it on its waters will benefit the cup, and hopefully give it the boost it needs.

“We also decided the moderate wind conditions in the south pacific were conducive to good racing, particularly compared to Valencia’s fickle wind shifts.”

Bertarelli wouldn’t expand on which yacht club will host the 33rd battle for the Auld Mug, except to say lead contenders were the Napier Sailing Club, and Southland’s Bluff Yacht Club.

As we speak, Bertarelli is flying to the winning club to personally congratulate the winning commodore. BayBuzz are expecting to hear the final decision within the hour. We’ll keep readers posted with live updates.

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