The America's Cup Revolution part 2

Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing
Russell Coutts on improving the spectacle, shedding multihull racing myths and the America's Cup brand
This article follows on from part 1 here The spectacle We started this article by stating that Coutts has effectively started out from a blank piece of paper with his vision for the 34th America’s Cup and while teams wrestle with the design of their AC72s, one of the hardest tasks for Iain Murray to establish is the best race format that on the one hand satisfies that reasonably vague concept sailors term ‘fair racing’ and maximising the spectacle and excitement of the competition, as if racing boats capable of 40+ knots weren’t enough. “To make a difference it is going to have to be a lot more exciting than what it’s been,” states Coutts. “When experts look at the audience figures from AC32 and work out what they actually mean, they are much lower than what we need to achieve to make this viable. I think we have got to look at what we have to do to engage the non-sailing public. We have to get away from some of the complicated rules and terminology and processes that we have had in the past for years and years that I think have stymied the whole understanding for people watching it.” So we can expect more understandable methods for the race committee to communicate with competitors (ie no flags) and almost certainly a simplification of the match racing rules and terminology wherever possible. As to the ‘fair racing’ issue that requires competition to be three miles out to sea, away from land effects, Coutts says: “To my way of thinking the people that are looking at that are really saying that ‘what we want are absolutely steady conditions so that the fastest boat will win.’ But wind shifts are part of the game and maybe that is a good thing to have