Russell Coutts talks to Swiss newspaper Punkt
Our friends from the Swiss match race blog matchrace.ch sent us earlier today this interesting interview Russell Coutts gave Punkt, one of the largest Swiss newspapers.
Punkt: How realistic do you see the chance that there will be an agreement with Alinghi to run the 33rd Cup as previously planned in 2009?
Russell Coutts: We think it is realistic, but we need to move quickly. The challengers and ourselves all want to race in Valencia in 2009. But to get started we need certainty, and that’s why it will be important to complete a mutual consent challenge as soon as possible.
Punkt: In case of no agreement this means no challenger series, what would this mean for the sport of sailing?
Russell Coutts: That is up to Alinghi. We want a multiple challenger event, but as defender they are within their rights to reject a mutual consent challenge. If that happens a two-boat race is inevitable under the rules. It is however not our preference as we want to race a conventional America's Cup in Valencia in 2009, with as many challengers as possible.
Punkt: In this case the cup will be sailed on catamarans? If yes who would benefit?
Russell Coutts: We will see when - if - we get there. This would certainly not be good for the challengers.
Punkt: Earlier you were on board of Alinghi. What do you say about the behavior of Ernesto Bertarelli/ Alinghi since he won the cup the second time?
Russell Coutts: It is not about people but it is about the America's Cup. And we have said clearly what we think is best for the event.
Punkt: Ernesto Bertarelli is described as an arrogant rich Swiss, is he compromising the image of Switzerland?
Russell Coutts: Again, what interests me is the future of the Cup.
Punkt: Some of the sponsors already left the cup. Some of Alinghi's main sponsors are considering to leave due to the conflicts. How big is the financial damage due to the behavior of Alinghi?
Russell Coutts: It is too early to say but the current situation is certainly not good for our sport.
Punkt:BMW-Oracle and Alinghi are not short on budget, are only the smaller teams suffering from this conflict?
Russell Coutts: I think the entire event suffers from the current situation. It's not good for anybody. It's really time to move on and seriously discuss the future of the event.