American Magic skipper Dean Barker has labelled the upcoming America's Cup World Series event in Cagliari a "risky proposition", following the realities of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
Barker is hopeful a decision will be made on the future of the event in the next three weeks as syndicates continue their preparations.
The first stop on the World Series is scheduled to be held next month in Cagliari, on the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy, which will be a historic event as the four syndicates get out on the water to race their AC75s for the first time.
However, the event is in jeopardy due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen sporting events across Italy altered or cancelled.
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Speaking to Radio Sport Breakfast, Barker said they could only work with the information they had at the moment, which was that at this stage the event would go ahead as planned.
"I think you'd say with everything you read about in Italy, it sounds like it's certainly a risky proposition right now, but I'm sure the guys running the event there are talking with the Italian government and what have you to try and understand what's required," Barker said.
"You hear about football matches and things with no one in the stadiums and all the travel bans around Northern Italy. So, definitely, you do wonder how likely it is that it will happen."
Barker said he would hope to know the fate of the event within the next three weeks, as time is not a luxury syndicates have in preparing to be set for the main event in Auckland early next year.
While the crews have been out on the water in both scaled-down test boats and the first of their two AC75s, the World Series events give them the opportunity to get a feel for racing the vessels and where they stand in the design and development process.
While the World Series ultimately means nothing in terms of which challenger will compete for the America's Cup, getting time on the water in a race situation will teach them about how the vessels sail and respond to in-competition scenarios.
Should the Cagliari event be cancelled, the next chance the crews would get to race would be in Portsmouth in June, where the second World Series event is scheduled to be held.
"It would be really disappointing for everyone, I'm sure," Barker said. "We all want to race, we all want to understand where we are in the design and development phase. There's no better way to check in than by going racing, so it would be really disappointing."