Sunday, May 10, 2009

PJ Montgomery interviews Russell Coutts

Related audioRussell Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle, talks to PJ Montgomery on Radio Sport NZ
Russell Coutts, BMW Oracle CEO and skipper, was interviewed by PJ Montgomery on Sunday morning on Radio Sport and, mainly, offered his view on the America's Cup current situation.

It doesn't come as a surprise to hear Coutts putting the blame on Alinghi for the lack of any settlement on the America's Cup dispute so far. According to the legendary kiwi sailor, he still hasn't received any good answer on why his team's proposals wouldn't work or a good reason why they were considered as unacceptable by Alinghi. In fact, they have sent many proposals but still haven't received any response in written by Alinghi.

Not only that, they haven't even had the chance to really sit down and talk the issues. The only time he was involved in any talk was through a teleconference. Even worse, when, according to Team Origin principal Sir Keith Mills, the two parts were a whisker away from a deal, Lucien Masmejan, Alinghi's counsel, cut off negotiations. According to Coutts, there were a couple of very simple points that could be very easily resolved but Masmejan was categorical in stating that "Alinghi wasn't going to resolve this". If one is to believe Coutts, Alinghi never had the intention to settle with his team.

Still, if one checks Alinghi's backgrounder on the same subject, to be found here there is a different version on why Masmejan canceled negotiations: November 12: During settlement discussions, BMW Oracle unexpectedly announces five new demands that directly affect fundamental arrangements that were recently agreed by all entered competitors in the 33rd America's Cup. The message came through Melinda Erkelens, attorney for BMW Oracle, who, after discussions with Russell Coutts, called Lucien Masmejan to say: “(…) he now has five additional points which were not on the list.”

Alinghi loses confidence in BMW Oracle having any intention of negotiating a settlement in good faith. (See interview with Lucien Masmejan here)

When asked why his team wouldn't consider as legitimate the agreements the rest of challengers reached with Alinghi, Coutts replied that although some changes were made by Alinghi, the fundamental and important aspects of the rules hadn't changed and compromising on these issues would mean "changing the sport in a bad way". Contestants wouldn't simply have a real competition. According to Coutts, "some teams if not quite a few", in their eagerness to move ahead, were willing to accept anything in order to get the situation settled.

As far as the monster trimarans are concerned, one of the words Coutts used frequently to describe was "incredible". They are incredible sailing machines and according to him, we will probably not see them again in the future. The technology behind them is incredible as well but it's open to debate whether this is the right format for the America's Cup, always according to Coutts.

Coutts laughed at the question whether they did 32 knots in 8 knots of wind. They have done more than 30 knots many times because it doesn't take much wind to go over that. Still, no matter how fast his yacht sails, he will not be onboard.

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At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't they let tv cameras into the next meeting - like the court case was webcast live ? It would get good ratings and tell the truth of what goes on in those meetings ?

At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:12PM - SNG will not let 3rd parties sit at the table to listen or mediate.

GGYC has offered & suggested several times to have mediators & SNG refuses. Seems SNG would rather decide things in court.

On the 5 addditonal points from GGYC, negotiations are fuild. SNG didn't want mediators so how do they expect middle ground to be found between the North & South Poles. What SNG wanted from GGYC was "to enter the competition and drop their law suit" which was unaccpetible.

Presently SNG MO has been the same as RC believed that Alinghi/SNG didn't want to change the advantage the poodles had given them. The continued number of motions SNG puts before the courts shows that SNG even though wrong from the being is not willing to give up on total control of The Cup. SNG's MO & not willing to understand the Trust is going to be it's downfall.

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no way anyone can trust what either side says, they each have too much to lose. Interviews like this one with Coutts is worthless, he is so heavily biased on the subject, as is anyone from Alinghi.

Not sure why Montgomery even bothered. off all of the morons in this saga, Coutts is the worst.

At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure he won't be on the trimaran. Sailing the beast is dangerous and COutts is a coward!

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be fantastic if the Alinghis' friends stop saying lies on Coutts: they don't think the same thing when he win in 2003...

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rousel Coutts is a Has-Been .... old news, hasn't won anything lately .... just like Larry Ellison.


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