ROME — Italy's most prestigious luxury hotel chain has joined the ranks of 22 other big-money sponsors bankrolling the "Azzurra II" America's Cup yachting challenge.
Cigahotels will join such up-market corporate names as Alitalia, Cinzano drinks and Honeywell computers by chipping in with a sizeable contribution to the effort of taking the cup away from the Australians when challenge rounds begin next September off Perth, Australia, in the rough Indian Ocean.
Azzurra sports director Cino Ricci, the skipper in the initial Italian effort in 1983 at Newport Beach, R.I., also said that former Italia yachting syndicate rival Lorenzo Bortolotti will be the new Azzurra skipper.
Stefano Roberti was tapped as helmsman for the 12-meter yacht, which was launched last July in Venice.
Six American syndicates are among the 14 international groups scheduled to compete in the Cup.
The victory by Australia II in 1983 snapped the longest winning streak in sport. The United States had held the Cup continuously for 132 years.