America’s Cup PR Wars in Valencia. Coutts Fights Back.


Alinghi invited the press inside the walls yesterday in Valencia while BMW ORACLE Skipper Russell Coutts finally responded to what he characterises as personal attacks from the ‘other side’.

[cleeng_content id=”419377293″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]Alinghi’s official statement after the press day restated the position that it was the other side that is to blame. No change there then. The statement did include dates for racing though, so those who are still wondering if it is worth going to Valencia should have the 8th, 10th and 12th of February in mind. Nice fan friendly dates – a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Ernesto Bertarelli said about the latest court case:

“I am in it for the sailing; I am not in it for the legal fight – way back in 2000 when we launched the team, the objective was to go sailing and it remains so. Now we are on BMW Oracle’s ninth lawsuit: their partial interpretation of ‘constructed in country’. Our boat is Deed compliant, but if BMW Oracle continues to contest our sails, they should consider their own issues, beginning with the fact that ‘USA’ is a French boat. On top of that this morning they asked for redress before the Jury. Obviously Ellison and his team’s strategy is to try and gain as much advantage as they can through the New York courts and they have done this quite well so far but, regardless. What matters is who wins on the 8, 10, 12 February.”

The who’s right, who’s wrong assignment of blame and absence of mutual consent had finally got to Russell Coutts. Yesterday, after the media had visited the Alinghi base, the BMW ORACLE Skipper ‘lost his cool’ with the Swiss team and admitted that niggling personal attacks via statements and cartoons were getting to him. There is also a sense that both sides still believe their own versions of history.

Coutts says that the Defender’s advantage under the Deed of Gift is to be able to choose the venue and therefore they shouldn’t be able to dictate rules about wind conditions. But such a statement seems to ignore the the fact that Alinghi were ‘forced’ to choose Valencia by the outcome of a court case. Of course Alinghi didn’t do themselves any favours by choosing an illegal venue in RAK, but it’s yet another example of polarised views of almost every single aspect of the cup.

The question and answer session adds more interesting listening than the soundbite below. Coutts invites the media to ‘check the facts’ to solve the who’s right and who’s wrong arguments. The full session including Questions and answers can be found here…

When asked to comment on whether or not the fight was hurting the sport of sailing as a whole, Coutts said “Absolutely”.

Here’s Russel Coutts in his own words:

Russell Coutts, Valencia, 20th Jan, 2010[/cleeng_content]