Russell Coutts' Cupdate

Mark Lloyd /
The Oracle Racing CEO on Ben, AC34 challengers, the World Series, AC35 consensus and TV developments
Russell Coutts, Oracle Racing CEO and one of the principle architects of the new format America’s Cup, was in London last week to welcome new recruit Ben Ainslie into the fold of Larry Ellison's defending team. One often forgets, thanks to his monumental America’s Cup record, that Coutts himself has a Finn Gold medal from the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and this is perhaps additional reason why he holds Ainslie in the utmost regard: “Ben is a proven winner and we like partnering with winners at Oracle Racing. He is obviously a very determined sailor. He has a track record second to none. He is very determined and very talented. I think even though these boats [the AC cats] are different I have no doubt he will adapt to this new format well. It suits very good sailors at the height of their skills. “Ben is the top of the top. It was pretty clear as soon as he jumped on board the boat [the AC45] he has a great feel. He is a great sailor, but the fact that he is four Olympic medals doesn’t guarantee anything. There are times when you could end up with a bit of egg on your face. These boats are pretty challenging to sail. Things happen faster, so, for an old sea dog like myself, you have to react faster. That is why they are ideally suited to these younger more athletic Olympic sailors. To be honest British sailing is in a fantastic position in the future to mount a very very competitive America’s Cup challenge.” It is now 23 months since the American team’s giant wingsail trimaran USA 17 dispatched Alinghi 5 off Valencia to win the 33rd America’s Cup. 16 months ago the AC72 rule was first unveiled and a year ago the