America’s Cup dream put to bed by Coutts
Five- time winner says event needs fresh blood as he throws himself into projects New York challenger great news for Cup A20 Coutts changes tack
Sir Russell Coutts has confirmed he’s unlikely to be involved with future America’s Cups following Oracle’s defeat to Emirates Team New Zealand in Bermuda earlier this year.
The America’s Cup winner — three as helmsman and two as Oracle chief executive — is back in New Zealand but has no plans to be involved in future editions, including the 2021 event likely to be in Auckland.
“I don’t really have any ambitions to continue with the America’s Cup at this point,” Coutts told yachtingnz. org. nz. “I have had quite a few years involved with it — loved it, fantastic event — but there are other things to do in life.
“In some ways, you need fresh people to come in and they have obviously given it a quite a different treatment of it this time and I say good for them. I certainly hope it’s a huge success in terms of the impact it could have on junior sailing in this country.”
Coutts has thrown himself into a number of projects, including taking over as commodore of the Manly Sailing Club on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula where he lives.
He has big plans to grow the small club and his presence has helped them win the hosting rights for the 2019 O’pen Bic world championships, a class of boats Coutts is a big supporter of. His 11- year- old son Mattias won the under- 13 division of this year’s O’pen Bic world championships in Italy.
Many describe Coutts as Mr America’s Cup, picking up the mantle from four- time winner Dennis Conner. Conner last week suggested Team New Zealand should extend an olive branch to Coutts and bring him on board to help with their defence.
“Who i s smarter about the America’s Cup than Russell Coutts? No one. He won more events, he knows more about it, he knows how to win, so why wouldn’t you want the best guy in your country involved?
“If he is not involved, they are giving a break to the foreigners. I’d make amends with Russell. If there are any hard feelings, just get over it.”
That’s unlikely to happen and Team New Zealand last week confirmed a move away from the foiling catamarans introduced by Coutts to a 75ft foiling monohull for the next Cup.
“I will be watching with interest,” Coutts said. “It should be a great event. Because I’m not involved, I don’t really have any comment [ to make about the decision to race monohulls]. I haven’t sailed monohulls like that before.
“People made all sorts of presumptions and judgments about the catamarans in the America’s Cup but quite a few of those people have never sailed in a boat like that.
“All these presumptions about, ‘ oh, they’re not tactical or they can’t do that’, well, they were shown to be wrong . . . The fact Pete Burling was able to win that many starts, do you think that was just a fluke? Of course it was tactical.
“When I look at the people making those comments, they are generally older people who are, dare I say it, stuck in their old ways. I think you need to be careful about viewing life like that. At some point you need to look at it through a young person’s eyes.”
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