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America's Cup- Coutts moves up, second Australian helmsman comes in

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World on 12 Sep 2011
Darren Bundock (left) and Glenn Ashby return to the ramp in Qingdao, China after winning the Silver medal in the Tornado class at the 2008 Olympic Regatta © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

Oracle Racing have announced that multiple World Champion and Australian double Olympic silver medalist Darren Bundock will be given the helm of their second boat, Oracle Racing Coutts.

Bundock will com aboard for the third round of the America's Cup World Series in San Diego. Current helmsman Russell Coutts will stay onboard. It has not been announced who will move off the boat to make way for Bundock, or whether the move will be permanent.

Oracle Racing claims that the driver for the the decision is the chance to start rotating members of the sailing team so that more experience AC45 racing and because Coutts is sure Bundock will sail the boat faster.

'Whenever Darren is aboard the boat, you can see the difference,' says Coutts, who combines his sailing roles with that of CEO.

The move means that Oracle Racing will now have two Australian helmsmen driving their two boats in the America's Cup World Series, yet ironically Australia, has been unable to successfully enter a team.

The other irony in the move lies in the fact that it will pit the 2008 Olympic combination of Bundock and Glenn Ashby against each other.

Ashby was coach of then BMW Oracle Racing in the 33rd America's Cup, but parted ways with the US Defender and joined Emirates Team NZ. He now sails as wingman and is widely credited with the consistent performance of the New Zealand boat which is leading the points table in Plymouth, and won three out of four events in Cascais, Portugal.

Bundock is part of Oracle Racing's sailing team’s coaching and performance group, after having sailed with Emirates Team NZ in an Extreme 40 series, but no continuing with the team

The ACWS San Diego event will be staged in San Diego Bay in mid-November 2011.
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