Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 728x90

America's Cup- Coutts on the last Cup and the next

by SportsPro on 11 Oct 2013
Now a five time winner of the America’s Cup winner and Olympic Gold medalist, Russell Coutts has some clear thoughts on the shape of the 35th America’s Cup Gilles Martin-Raget/Oracle Racing.com © http://www.oracleteamusamedia.com/

Oracle Team USA’s remarkable come-from-behind victory, against Emirates Team New Zealand, in the America’s Cup last week marked the fifth time New Zealander Russell Coutts has been part of a Cup winning team.

The 51-year old, a legendary name in Cup history even before his latest triumph, was chief executive of the US team in San Francisco this summer, but also one of the architects of the 34th Cup alongside Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison. Their full vision of a new generation Cup, with the giant, spectacularly rapid but controversial AC72 catamarans, came to life only during the dramatic finale to the competition.

'In many ways you couldn’t have scripted a better sports story,' Coutts told SportsPro. 'Obviously, being inside the team at that moment was challenging but I guess, on reflection, all the difficulties made the outcome even more rewarding, from a team perspective. When we were 8-1 down, whilst we absolutely never gave up, there were many of us – and I can certainly speak from a personal perspective – who thought it was unlikely we’d turn it around. But there was always the hope that we would and always the determination that we would. It was fantastic to be part of a team like that. It was great and from an event standpoint to see the way the race turned out was also very satisfying.'

The highpoint of the finale contrasted sharply with the darkest moment of the summer of racing in San Francisco, the death of British sailor Andrew Simpson in May when his team boat capsized. Safety concerns about the new generation AC72s were matched by question marks over the cost of competing. With a nine-figure budget required to compete, only three challengers made it through a build-up which, for the first time, included the America’s Cup World Series, an offshoot of the main event designed to add value to commercial partners in the long period between Cup matches.

'We obviously had our challenges throughout the series,' Coutts reflects, during a conversation in which he assesses the 34th Cup and the changes required for the next edition, notably his proposal for a permanent America’s Cup commissioner to be appointed to oversee the Cup’s commercial and sporting interest and how costs can be reduced. 'We’d have liked to have had more teams competing and we had difficulties earlier on with, obviously, the Artemis tragedy and other complications,' he notes, 'but at the end the final turned out to be a great series and was a snapshot of what it could be like in the future. It was a nice outcome.'



How much do you personally enjoy the negotiation, the debate over legalities and technicalities, element of the America’s Cup, or is that something you just have to live with?

It’s got to change. Right now, and I’ve said it a few times throughout this campaign, the legal people in these teams get way more press coverage than what they deserve – all the arguments over the rules and so forth. It’s, in many ways, an archaic process that the America’s Cup has been putting itself through over many, many years. I think we’ve got to move towards a mechanism other sports use where they, for example, have a commissioner that has the commercial interests of the sport in line, as well as the competitive interests of the teams and can balance that. For example, a lot of the rules issues this time became highly public debates and that’s what most of the press focused on. In a way, those are the sort of issues that should be dealt with swiftly and much more efficiently behind closed doors so that you keep the focus on the racing, on the athletes. The great thing about this America’s Cup is we’ve finally got personalities, like your Ben Ainslies, your Jimmy Spithills, Dean Barkers, that people can focus on and get it away from these lawyers who love to see their names in lights – because frankly it doesn’t add to the sporting values of the competition. There is a counter-argument that some of those controversies add to it and I’m all for that, but in the America’s Cup in the past we’ve been way too much in the category of having too much of that controversy.

Is your view shared by the wider America’s Cup community? Is there a mood for change?

Well it’s not a point of view shared by the lawyers, no doubt. I want to take the focus away from that. We made a lot of moves this time, such as setting up America’s Cup Race Management as an independent body that managed the sport side but we still need to address those fundamental problems of how we resolve disputes in the correct way, quietly, in such a way that it doesn’t damage the event commercially. We didn’t really sufficiently address that and it’s time to address that now.

For the full interview click here

InSunSport - NZZhik ZKG 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Changes proposed to control future Cup options
Changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing according to the Daily Telegraph (UK) News that changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing is being floated in the Daily Telegraph (UK) by the British Challenger, Land Rover BAR. According to the Telegraph, some of the teams in the 2017 America's Cup are keen to lock-in parameters which would bind successive holders of the a style and frequency for the next America's Cup Match.
Posted on 8 Jun
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
34th America's Cup - Oracle pumping claims are flawed - Update
Claims that Oracle Team USA broke the manual propulsion rules in the 34th America's Cup are seriously flawed Claims by an American journalist, Bruce Knecht that Oracle Team USA broke the manual propulsion rules in the 2013 America's Cup are seriously flawed. The allegations received considerable airplay in New Zealand on Friday and over the weekend.
Posted on 6 Mar
America's Cup - Another win for Oracle Team USA in California Courts
America's Cup Defender, Oracle Team USA has been successful in its legal effort to swat away another complaint America's Cup Defender, Oracle Team USA has been successful in its legal effort to swat away a complaint brought by former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell. Mitchell's complaint against his former team was dismissed by a San Francisco Court on Wednesday. The amount of damage/injury claimed was stated as $400,000.
Posted on 12 Feb
America's Cup - No action against Kiwi sailor, but rule changes made
The International Sailing Federation has changed the process for Rule 69 Hearings in line with CAS recommendations One of the Oracle Team USA crew members found by the International Jury to have been involved in boat tampering activities with the America's Cup World Series regattas ahead of the 34th America's Cup has not been further penalised by the International Sailing Federation.
Posted on 19 Nov 2015
America's Cup - ISAF and Cup Jury summonsed by California Court
Five members of the AC34 Int Jury and the Int Sailing Federation have been summonsed by a San Francisco Court The International Sailing Federation, the controlling body for world sailing, and the five individuals who made up the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup have been summonsed by a San Francisco Court, to answer a lawsuit.
Posted on 9 Sep 2015
Dean Barker's Blog - Back into the racing
Five times America's Cup helmsman Dean Barker gives his view on his split with Team New Zealand and life since Writing on his blog at Kiwi Yachting Consultants' websites, of which he is a substantial shareholder and director, five times America's Cup helmsman Dean Barker gives his view on life since Team NZ. This is my first blog for quite some time. In fact since September last year when I was still a part of Team NZ racing in Istanbul for the Extreme Sailing Series.
Posted on 20 Apr 2015
America's Cup- Mitchell fires new salvo at ISAF Jury Officials
Matthew Mitchellhas advised that he has filed complaints of Gross Misconduct against all five Americas Cup jury members Matthew Mitchell, previously a member of Oracle Team USA, has issued a media release advising that he has filed complaints of Gross Misconduct against all five Americas Cup jury members with the sport's International governing body (ISAF). This action follows on from his recent claims about the actions of another team member Simeon Tienpont, now with Challenger Luna Rossa.
Posted on 5 Feb 2015
America's Cup- Oracle crew mate lodges ISAF complaint against Tienpont
Last Friday, former OTUSA's Matthew Mitchell issued a media release stating that he has lodged a complaint with the ISAF Last Friday, former Oracle Team USA team member, Matthew Mitchell issued a media release stating that he has lodged a complaint with the International Sailing Federation over the actions of a fellow crew member, Simeon Tienpont, and inaction by the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup, in San Francisco.
Posted on 28 Jan 2015
America's Cup- Oracle crew mate lodges complaint against Tienpont
OTUSA's Matthew Mitchell has issued a media release stating that he has lodged a complaint with the ISAF Former Oracle Team USA team member, Matthew Mitchell has issued a media release stating that he has lodged a complaint with the International Sailing Federation over the actions of a fellow crew member, Simeon Tienpont, and inaction by the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup, in San Francisco.
Posted on 23 Jan 2015