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14 Dec 2017 17:06
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Sailing

    Coutts unsure of America's Cup monohulls

    Sir Russell Coutts leaps to the defence of catamarans in the America's Cup after they are ditched by new holders Team NZ.

    Sir Russell Coutts predicts the 2021 America's Cup will be a success but is reserving judgement on Team New Zealand's return to monohull racing.

    In an interview on the Yachting NZ website, Kiwi sailing great Coutts confirmed recent reports he has probably ended a long and successful involvement with the America's Cup.

    However, the five-time winner says he will keep close tabs on the next event in Auckland, saying: "It should be a great event here."

    He was less forthcoming about substantial changes to the regatta protocol for 2021, most notably the ditching of the multihull boats he had championed.

    Then chief executive of holders Team USA, Coutts introduced a catamaran class at San Francisco in 2013 in a bid for high speed racing to attract a bigger global audience.

    Smaller, faster catamarans were used this year in Bermuda, when a resourceful Team NZ lifted the Auld Mug and then vowed to restore tradition to the event.

    Coutts is unsure if 75-foot monohulls will prove to be a winner with sailors and the public in Auckland.

    Having not sailed in such a boat, he was reluctant to comment.

    However, he leapt to the defence of catamarans, believing criticism was misplaced.

    "All these presumptions about, 'oh, they're not tactical or they can't do that', well, they were shown to be wrong. They can try to deny it now and say they're not as tactical as this boat over here but of course they were tactical," Coutts said.

    "The fact (Team NZ helmsman) Pete Burling was able to win that many starts, do you think that was just a fluke? Of course it was tactical."

    Coutts says there is still a place for traditional thinking in sailing but believes the clock is ticking.

    "I think you need to be careful about viewing life like that.

    "At some point you need to look at it through a young person's eyes and try to imagine what they would have been like when they were 20, or even younger."

    Coutts, 55, is now Commodore of Auckland's Manly Sailing Club and throwing his efforts into junior development.

    "I have had quite a few years involved with it (America's Cup). Loved it, fantastic event, but there are other things to do in life," he said.


    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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