Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Coutts unhappy with new rules

Team Germany confirmed yesterday they will launch another bid for the America's Cup, taking the number of challengers in the next regatta to five.
But Oracle Racing's new skipper, New Zealander Russell Coutts, continued the American syndicate's attack on the conditions for the 2009 event, saying defenders Alinghi should scrap rule changes.
Team Germany's intention to return to Valencia means they will join a fleet that so far also includes Team New Zealand, Spain's Desafio Espanol, South Africa's Shosholoza and Britain's new Team Origin.
The Germans, in their cup debut, came second-last among the 11 challengers in this year's regatta, and syndicate boss Michael Scheeren said it was important to build on the experience gained. The announcement comes after two significant developments involving Italian teams at the weekend. Luna Rossa, one of the cup heavyweights, decided to call it quits after three campaigns.
Mascalzone Latino suggested amendments to the protocol, or conditions, that Alinghi unveiled for their next defence. Mascalzone head Vincenzo Onorato urged Alinghi to consider retaining the existing class of boat, given the shorter than usual time frame of just two years.
He said Alinghi's proposed new, bigger 27.5m yacht could instead be introduced in the following America's Cup. Onorato also called for the protocol to repeat that of the just-completed regatta.
He said any changes should be negotiated between Alinghi and the commission representing the challengers. That would solve many of the areas of concern over the amount of control the new protocol gave the Swiss defenders. Oracle have taken court action over the protocol and Coutts yesterday also argued for the previous document.
"The solution is very simple: go back to a protocol that made the last edition so successful," he said. "Nobody really gave a justification for this new unacceptable protocol."
Coutts cited one concern as being the disadvantage the challengers were under in not knowing the class rule for the new yacht until October 31.