Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

America's Cup- World Yacht Racing Forum talks to Russell Coutts

by Bernard Schopfer on 28 Jun 2010
(L to R) Russell Coutts, CEO and Skipper, BMW Oracle Racing shaking hands with Brad Butterworth, Skipper and vice president, Team Alinghi after the America`s Cup debate at the 2009 World Yacht Racing Forum onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com

The America's Cup debate has traditionally been one of the World Yacht Racing Forum's highlights. Last December's session saw the first – and only – public meeting between the then Defender Alinghi and Challenger of record BMW ORACLE Racing during their two and a half years of bitter rivalry.

The new Defender issued, last week, the long awaited draft Protocol for the 34th America's Cup. The team’s CEO Russell Coutts speaks exclusively to the World Yacht Racing Forum and answers some of the questions that many have been asking…

WYRF: What are the key changes you are introducing for the next America's Cup?

Russell Coutts: We are obviously working in a lot of different directions. I think by now everybody has understood that we want fair rules; one of our priorities is also massively improved media output, particularly on screens whether that's television or other devices. We are doing a lot of research on technology and formats, and will do some tests in July. For example, some people pretend that you can't do match race with multihulls, or that you need slow boats; this needs to be confirmed. It is very important for Larry and I to make sailing more TV friendly and understandable by a large public; otherwise the sport simply won't move forward.

WYRF: How do you respond to those that are saying you are taking a long time to announce the format of the next Cup?

Russell Coutts: It is true. We are just trying to do things well and to take the right decisions: it's a heavy responsibility and a major task. The choice of the venue is obviously key, and a lot of things depend on it, including the boat. We also want to bring the costs down and need to be very careful with the decisions we take. The number of crew is one element: typically personnel accounts for 60 % of the budget of a campaign. Other elements include sensible restrictions on material and technology.


WYRF: Will you develop a circuit of pre-regattas?

Russell Coutts: Yes, absolutely. This concept started in 1997 and was perpetuated in 2000 and 2007 with the Acts, which were good. We need to move up from this, particularly with regards to the logistics, which will play a huge role. We also need a format that really has a meaning. Our objective is to increase the value of the America's Cup for all teams and investors and we therefore need more events.

WYRF: Do you have a target number of teams?

Russell Coutts: We clearly prefer eight top level teams to fifteen and half of them disappearing half way through. Considering the current state of the economy, eight teams is a realistic number. Our goal is to build commercial value for the teams and partners; if this leads to more strong teams in the future, then great!

WYRF: How can you guarantee that the process for the next Cup will be democratic and that you won't have an edge over your competitors?

Russell Coutts: We have hired some people who are not part of our team or defence organization and are working on the rules for a new boat and the ‘on the water' race organization. We will announce the rules a long time ahead of the event and this will guarantee its fairness. We want the rules to be in place before people start joining, so that teams and partners know what they sign-up for. We have already circulated a draft Protocol to a small group of people and soon a bigger group will receive it. When the rules come out it will be clear to everyone that they are fair.

WYRF: How do you concretely consult the other teams considering that the registrations are not open?

Russell Coutts: At this initial stage we consult people who have a lot of experience. Nobody is excluded; there's just a natural selection as we speak to teams and people who have already participated in the America's Cup. In the next two months we will identify potential new teams and speak to them. Basically what we want is to consult the event's stakeholders. Then we will take the decisions. We can't use a system of votes, because we need to consider all the aspects of the organization, TV, logistics etc…


WYRF: Do you have a preference between monohulls and multihulls?

Russell Coutts: I honestly don't, and as a team we don't either; what we want is the best event.

WYRF: There are many rumors concerning the venue. How open is the selection process and what are the criteria?

Russell Coutts: Well, San Francisco is an appealing venue to Larry as everyone knows. But the selection process remains open, and it is not restrained to the US. The first criteria will be the sailing conditions, as we want to create a great event. Delays kill the sport and we must avoid this. I must say that I am gratified to see how motivated the potential venues are: the interest is huge.

For more on the World Yacht Racing Forum see www.worldyachtracingforum.com and www.worldyachtracingforum.com/92__register_details.html!click_here to register for the next Forum at Estoril Congress Centre, Portugal from 14 - 15 December 2010

Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Zhik Yachting 660x82Protector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

Spain’s Xabi Fernández to skipper MAPFRE in Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18
Xabi will return to the Volvo Ocean Race after finishing his work for Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup campaign. The 40-year-old Xabi, who has taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race four times, won Olympic gold in Athens 2004, and followed that up with a silver in 2008 – both times alongside his long-term sailing partner Iker Martínez.
Posted on 17 Feb
Volvo Ocean Race - MAPFRE name Xabi Fernández as skipper
The Basque sailor Xabi Fernández will be once again skipper of the VO65 MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 The Basque sailor Xabi Fernández will be once again skipper of the VO65 MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, a responsibility that he undertook in the last edition of the race, alongside Iker Martínez. Xabi, born in Ibarra (Basque Country, Spain) in 1976, has a lengthy professional career as an elite sportsman, and an outstanding list of achievements in all the major world sailing events.
Posted on 17 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ christen AC50 100 days from Cup
Emirates Team NZ christened their AC50 in a rain-marred ceremony at the team's Beaumont Street base Just 100 days out from the first race of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, Emirates Team New Zealand accomplishes the most significant milestone of its challenge for the 35th Americas Cup by christening their America’s Cup Class catamaran that will begin racing in Bermuda in May.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Images from Oracle Team USA AC50 launch + Video
After unveiling their AC50 yesterday, Oracle Team USA launched their Defender today in Bermuda. After unveiling their AC50 yesterday, Oracle Team USA launched their Defender today in Bermuda. Top international photographer Carlo Borlenghi was on hand to capture the moment. Catch the moment on video, too
Posted on 15 Feb
Just 100 days to the start of the 35th America's Cup
Right across the beautiful island of Bermuda, preparations continue apace for the incredible events. Right across the beautiful island of Bermuda, preparations continue apace for the incredible events that will unfold, with racing taking place on the Great Sound.
Posted on 15 Feb
America's Cup - Images from Oracle Team USA AC50 unveiling in Bermuda
.Top international photographer Carlo Borlenghi was present in Bermuda at the Oracle Team USA unveiling of their AC50 Top international photographer Carlo Borlenghi was present in Bermuda at the Oracle Team USA unveiling of their AC50 and provided this gallery of images of the occasion. The AC50 was revealed for the first time, but was not launched or sailed.
Posted on 15 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
Oracle Team USA celebrate completion of new America’s Cup Class boat
Oracle Team USA held a ceremony at its team base to reveal its new America’s Cup Class boat, “17” On Tuesday evening, Oracle Team USA held a ceremony at its team base to reveal its new America’s Cup Class boat, “17”, the foiling catamaran the team will race this summer in Bermuda.
Posted on 15 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team New Zealand reveal big AC50 breakthrough
Emirates Team New Zealand have splashed their new AC50 in Auckland this morning and revealed another break-though. Emirates Team New Zealand have splashed their new AC50 in Auckland this morning and have revealed another break-though. In the 2013 America's Cup the team designed the first foiling catamaran even though that concept was not contemplated in the rules. It was widely reckoned that they revealed their secret too early and other teams were able to copy in the time available.
Posted on 14 Feb