Friday, October 02, 2009

Russell Coutts talks to Valencia Sailing about the latest America's Cup developments

Related PDF Documents- Affidavit of Graeme Gibbon Brooks on possible security threats in Ras Al-Khaimah, dated 1 October 2009

- Affidavit of Tom Ehman on possible agreement between Alinghi and the Ras Al-Khaimah government, dated 1 October 2009

Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle, is currently in Slovenia taking part in the Bank Sarasin RC44 Portoroz Cup but is, obviously, keeping a very close eye on the America's Cup between races. We talked to him about the latest developments in the world's oldest sports competition.

Valencia Sailing: Your team has just made public a copy of your yacht’s Certificate of Documentation. Brad Butterworth stated right here in Valencia Sailing that the yacht "doesn't measure" and that you "don't seem to be very sure about that" yourselves. Does it measure?

Russel Coutts: That's just Brad being a little mischievous! Seriously though, this entire measurement question has got to be explained. For too long, Alinghi have avoided the issues. There is a very simple reason for this. They know they are on weak ground when it comes to the facts, so they just try and stick to generalities, like GGYC doesn’t want to race. This is just ridiculous. Look at our team and tell me they are not racers.

Here’s how I see it.

Point 1. Alinghi have been claiming that we were late or somehow wrong with our CHR document. They even tried to disqualify us in Court. Well, Justice Kornreich threw that out. She even said that we had up until two weeks before the match to supply it. Not only that, she said that America’s Cup is a design competition where the challenger can develop its yacht and have revised documentation.

Point 2. Alinghi’s attorney, Barry Ostrager, was asked by Justice Kornreich during that hearing last July if SNG would use the rules to disqualify the challenger. "Oh, that’s not going to happen," he said. It’s in the transcript. You probably posted it on Valencia Sailing, Pierre.

Well, let’s look at what happened next. Within days, Alinghi published a measurement procedure that disqualifies our boat. How can we tell this was deliberate? For a start they use two different methods to measure the length and beam dimension. The only possible reason for this is make the rules to fit their desire – which is to disqualify us or not race. Or both, who knows? Alinghi knows the dimensions our boat to an accuracy of, say, a hand-width. They have been monitoring closely our boat ever since it was launched. Their tactic was to throw out the normal ISAF Equipment Rules of Sailing and other normal procedures and use a method which just ‘happens’ to make life difficult for us. The America’s Cup is meant to be hard. But it’s not meant to be impossible for the challenger to win though.

That was a long answer! But it’s important that sailors see what’s been going on.

Valencia Sailing: Why is it so crucial that rudders are not included in the measurement of the yacht?

Russel Coutts: This is not just an academic argument about LWL, this is just another blatant attempt to disqualify our boat without racing. I urge people to read the recent affidavits we submitted to the court. There’s one from Halsey Herreshoff, grand-son of the legendary Capt. Nat. the builder of eight Cup defenders. Halsey's sailed in quite a few Cups himself and what he doesn’t know about this competition isn’t worth knowing. Alinghi has no answer to Halsey’s testimony. There’s another affidavit from Ken McAlpine, a Cup measurer for three decades, who says that Alinghi are wrong on this. To prove just what nonsense Alinghi’s position is, the only class that Tom Schnackenberg offers as evidence of the normal practice of including rudders in LWL, is a radio-controlled model yacht.

Valencia Sailing: Two days ago GGYC stated that the fight continues for "fair rules". Hasn’t this always been the prerogative of the America's Cup Defender, to set the rules?

Russel Coutts: Simple to answer this one, Pierre. The Deed says that if the defender and the challenger can’t agree – our old friend mutual consent – the defender shall use "its rules". Those rules are the ISAF rules.

People are now beginning to understand how badly ISAF abrogated its responsibilities to be the custodian of sailing's good name when it gave Alinghi a free hand to doctor the ISAF rules to suit its own needs. How ISAF believes it was justified giving away many of its own powers to one competitor in a two boat race mystifies me completely.

Valencia Sailing: What is your position on the venue?

Russel Coutts: As you have seen, we have asked the Court to restore Valencia as the venue for the 33rd Cup. This is something that Alinghi and us do agree on. At least I thought we did. Both sides told Justice Cahn in April that we thought Valencia was the best option.

Once again Alinghi has some explaining to do. Valencia was a huge success. Ernesto Bertarelli said it himself many, many times. But he’s walked away to a little known country and says uncompleted resort development that’s not even near the only town in RAK is right for the America’s Cup.

This is quite apart from the Deed of Gift question which says if you want a location that doesn’t fit the summer months' rules in each hemisphere both sides have to agree. Which we did, in April.

I think anyone who looks at the front page of their newspapers or follows the TV news, knows that tensions are rising in the region. RAK is sandwiched between the hotspots of Iran and Somalia and yet somehow Alinghi thinks it is of so little consequence for us to race our American yacht in one sport’s biggest events that they didn’t even feel a need to speak to us about it. That’s a shocking lack of responsibility.

Valencia Sailing: Do you think that your appeal of September 2nd might delay the date of the match?

Russel Coutts: No we don’t think so. Our lawyers believe things can be settled by the court this year. We want to bring this race on as soon as we can. We have been ready for some time, unlike the other side.

Valencia Sailing: Will your team contest the result of the match in the New York Courts if you lose in RAK?

Russel Coutts: What we will do is continue to fight for a contest where one side, Alinghi, hasn't fixed things so that it can't lose. This is sport and certainly isn’t what the donors of the America’s Cup understood as "friendly competition". To be frank, I really don't know why Ernesto Bertarelli feels he has to do this. Alinghi is a team full of good people. Brad and I appointed most of them. I don't imagine they like some of the stuff that's been going on.

Valencia Sailing: Putting the legal issues aside, are you continuing the development of your challenging yacht? At what stage are you?

Russel Coutts: The boat's in the shed under going further modifications and we will be sailing again later this month. Stay tuned Pierre!

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At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop lying, Russell. You know that Alinghi doesn't want to dsq you. That's why they're giving you plenty time to make you boat measure. If YOU want to be disqualified just show up in Feb with a yacht that doesn't measure. Alinghi is giving you all the chances to make your boat match your notice of challenge in time.
DO NOT try to make people forget that it was Oracle that pushed full throttle to have a race in October 2008, before Alinghi could finnish his defending yacht and simply win without the defender racing.

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

Go RC!

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

9:14PM you don't understand that at the time of the challenge was made BOR measured. Now it doesn't so go figure that out.

Seems BOR was able to build their boat in 10 months but now that has been prolonged by Alinghi into 2 years as Alinghi couldn't get their act together. Btw it was EB choice to take a holiday on building the boat so cast the blame where the decision was made.

BUT don't forget that EB could have decided to go do a AC 33 like the 32nd but he didn't want to. EB chose to go DoG & look where we are now. Everyone could have been sailing but someone wants to be Bernie of the AC screws us all.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger WetHog said...

"That's why they're giving you plenty time to make you boat measure."

By Alinghi's rules the only boat BMWO can show up in that would measure is a radio controlled model yacht. Probably the only thing Alinghi would allow Cheezilla to race against.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

manipulative game playing c*%t's still at it then

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coutts, please shut up. Whatever you say is discrediting you as a sailor. You are a fantastic sailor. Full stop. Do not try anything else. ANd reading affidavits attached is a real laugh.

Calling the venue off because of the danger is just a non sense and pure bad faith. Your specialty ba the way.

Ehman, the man who did everything in the Cup who fails at most of it claims there is an agreement between RAK and Alinghi. No kidding? Who could have believed so? But under which rule should they share such agreement with BOR.

BOR go home!

At 1:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great sailor, but such a faux-cul, it is dramatic to have both into the same person, he starts looking and speaking like TE with this slanted look, burk.....

At 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russell, you have lost the respect of so many. Those of us who know you, have sailed with you, now think nothing of you. You know it, and don't care, because of your desire to win regardless of what is right and the bank deposit Larry gives you. This team is fleeting, what will you do when this is over? You could argue nothing, but that's not your nature. But you have spat the dummy so many times for so many teams you are running out of choices.

Was BMW so important it was worth throwing your reputation away for?

At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

russel you are sounding like a spoilt child. Where in the deed does it say the venue must be in a beautiful city with complete infrastructure?you hated valencia in the beginning but look how well valencia has become. You and the 5 or 6 americans in your team should just get there and front up.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger folkenbolt said...

If SNG was a real yacht club and EB was a real sailing team manager, all of those quarrels and legal fights would have been "put on the water" since months.
Real sailors prefer to use sails and winches, instead of goniometers and rulers.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just check in the ORACLE website their contacts in the Gulf region.

You will find out that Oracle has offices in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and of course TWO ofices in the UAE.
There's a picture of the Oracle building in Dubai and it doesn't seem to have been object of terrorist attacks nor lack of infrastructure.

So? UAE is safe enough and has enough infrastructures for L Ellison making money but no good for L Ellison losing a yacht race?...

At 2:10 PM, Blogger chocoa said...

great job, Pierre!
Looks as if you can stay at home in Valencia to report from the next cup.
Looking forward to your photographs too.

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:43 pm Very good point. This is the most realistic comment yet. How on eatrh can the Oracle team argue on the grounds of safety when both Larry and Coutts have business interests in the UAE.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger folkenbolt said...

Dear anonymous
Have you ever noticed the difference between a bank, a building with offices or an hotel and a Yacht Club base, that has to house a 90x90 feet large boat for the 33th America's Cup?

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russel you hero!! You are so credible by racing in UAE, building ships in UAE, getting sponsoring from UAE - but this is all not enough when it comes to the AC????
Have a look at you old home team - they take a lot of UAE money and are not afraid. Pussy go HOME to you tiny island - or contzinue sailing on old boats with teams that will never make it to the satring line (LVWS) loosers stay with looseres

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russel is strongli influences by his Boss Ellison... However, Alinghis will beat BOR in RAK or Valencia, it dosn't really matter. Even on the moon, if there were water ;-)

At 6:55 PM, Blogger WetHog said...

Ah I see. Office buildings sometimes miles from shore are comparable to a 90x90 boat named "USA" that has an American flag 185 feet in the air at the top of the mainsail that will be racing for the America's Cup in close proximity to territorial waters that are in dispute between the UAE and a country named Iran that has a not so nice opinion of the USA.

Yup BMWO has no reason to be concerned. Hell BMWO should even ignore the U.S. State Department. What do they know?

All joking aside, doesn't anyone see what is really going on here? SNG/Alinghi came out with mearsurement rules that will DQ "USA" even though SNG/Alinghi told the Judge days before hand that they wouldn't use measurement rules that would DQ BMWO's boat. So what does BMWO do? File a motion asking for the RAK to be deemed illegal under the Deed right after Cheezilla is off loaded from a boat in RAK. Seems like an attempt to me by BMWO to encourage mutual consent in regards to measurement rules and such. Imagine that!

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You gotta laugh at the timing of the venue statement.
What a game!

February is still ages away! haha

At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alinghi-lites you guys are too funny. Any of you take time to read GGYC latest letter??? Didn't think so. Short form is RAK is not Deed legal.

All you state is a twisted uninformed opinion that follow the BS line from Alinghi. Why don't you guys get educated by reading the documents otherwise keep on trolling and giving VS a bad rap.

Btw the business with the NY AG is about to get started on this next round so fasten your seat belts boys and girls.

At 3:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent - Looking forward to visiting Valencia again. This race will be excellent!

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck you Russel !

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear 5:17 PM anonymous

How pathetic! I didn't know that rednecks are interested in the AC


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