The prodigal son

Ed Gorman spoke to Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts about favouritism, building a team from scratch and his return to Auckland
madfor sailing : Russell, a lot people have got Alinghi down as favourites. Russell Coutts: Have they? mfs: Yes, they seem to... RC: It's flattering but I wouldn't necessarily say it's justified right now. mfs: People also think the challenger is going to win this time around. That means a lot of people are backing you guys to go the whole way. What do you think about that? RC: Well I hope they're right, but it's a little presumptious. We are a new team and we're trying to do things well so outwardly, perhaps, we have the image of being professional and that's certainly what we're trying to do. I'm very, very happy with what we've done so far but there are a lot of other good teams and I actually think this will be the most competitive Cup yet. It's so difficult to judge who the favourite is right now - all that you really have to go on is how much funding each team has, how much full-sized sailing they have done on the water and what kind of people they have on the programme. You don't have any real idea of what the technology developments are which has always been a critical part of this event. So I'm certainly conservative when I'm rating the opposition. I usually rate them high and I expect them to be very, very good and that's the case here. The reality is that most of the teams - with a fair bit of justification - have a fair chance of winning. mfs: If there is an overall question mark about how far Alinghi can go, it could be that even if you have all the money you need and all the right people, bringing it all together and making it happen from nothing is still a big ask.