Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Russell Coutts: We are getting ready to race in March 2009

Here are the first comments from the BMW Oracle press conference, held in the German manufacturer's headquarters in Munich.

As it was expected, the main announcement came from BMW. The German auto group will continue sponsoring the American America's Cup challenger. There was the usual talk about technology transfer between Formula 1 cars and America's Cup sailing. Despite the failure of BMW Oracle in the 32nd edition in Valencia, the presence of Russell Coutts was the main factor that made the Germans stick to Larry Ellison's team.

The only news that was of interest was Coutts' view of the legal process. The kiwi CEO of the American team thinks that the appellate division of the NY court will uphold Justice Cahn's order that the 33rd America's Cup match be raced in March 2009 in Valencia or any other place Alinghi might choose. This seems to be in contradiction with the Deed of Gift that prohibits a race in March in the northern hemisphere. Nevertheless, according to what he has been told by their lawyers, a judge can issue such a decision. As a result, Coutts and company are getting ready for a race in March 2009, expecting Alinghi to reveal the location in September, as ordered by Justice Cahn.

Coutts stated that he will certainly not helm the yacht in the 33rd America's Cup and hopes he could at least be onboard. He left the question open, mentioning that both James Spithill and Franck Cammas are excellent, each in his own field. Still, one could get a hint in Coutts' voice that he didn't seem so convinced about Spithill.

There wasn't anything new revealed about the yacht or yachts BMW Oracle is building or has built in order to challenge Alinghi. The only promise is that they are fast, impressive and we will get to see them "soon".

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