SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, NOV. 28 -- America's Cup winner Dennis Conner said today that the next renewal of sailing's top event could be a two-boat race between representatives of New Zealand and the United States.

Conner, who will defend the cup for the San Diego Yacht club, said Wednesday's New York Supreme Court validation of a challenge from New Zealand was likely to result in the jettisoning of the elimination series under which the cup has been contested for 30 years.

"If they {New Zealand} want to play it by the rules, then we'll play it by the rules," said Conner, who stopped in Sydney on his way to Perth on personal business.

When asked if that meant the San Diego Yacht Club was likely to reject an Australian challenge, Conner said, "I would think so, and any other nation except New Zealand and the U.S., as well. That's the way {New Zealand syndicate head} Michael Fay wants it. He doesn't want competition; that's why he's done this. He wants to win the cup any way he can."

Conner said the ruling would almost certainly devalue the America's Cup as a competition.

"It's hard to get excited about a weekend event," Conner said, referring to the likelihood that any two-boat contest would last only a few days instead of the months it previously has under the 12-meter challenge format.

Conner said the San Diego Yacht Club almost was certain to appeal the ruling.

Fay, a New Zealand banker, said Friday in Auckland that the competition, which would be staged in 90-foot boats, would be more exciting.

"It will enhance the tradition of the America's Cup, not tarnish it," he said.