SAN FRANCISCO — America's Cup officials said Monday they are refunding grandstand tickets for races through the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals due to the uncertainty of when challenger Artemis Racing will be ready to compete following the deadly capsize of its first boat last month.
Artemis said last week it plans to launch a new boat in early July and hopes to be able to race by the end of the month.
That leaves only two challengers to race in the early round-robins, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa of Italy.
British sailor Andrew Simpson died May 9 when Artemis' 72-foot catamaran capsized on San Francisco Bay, trapping him under the wreckage of the 7-ton boat.
Depending on when Artemis returns, there could be only five days of racing between July 7-Aug. 1.
America's Cup CEO Stephen Barclay said it's the right thing to do to refund the tickets and take down the grandstands until Artemis returns.
The Louis Vuitton Cup final will begin Aug. 17, with the winner advancing to face defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 34th America's Cup beginning Sept. 7.
Also Monday, Oracle relaunched its first boat, which capsized on the bay in mid-October, destroying its high-tech wing sail. The boat was sidelined for four months while a new wing sail was shipped from New Zealand.
Oracle launched a second boat in late April and now will be able to do two-boat testing.