Monday, March 8, 2010

Sir Russell Coutts has hinted at retirement...

By Dylan Cleaver -
Sailing legend Sir Russell Coutts has hinted at retirement from America's Cup racing.

The four-time winner of yachting's top trophy yesterday said he was taking time in the next two months to decide his future.

Coutts, in New Zealand to talk to the teams in the Louis Vuitton Trophy that starts today on the Waitemata Harbour, was reluctant to commit to the 34th America's Cup.

"I'm still deciding what to do in the future. I don't want to rush things on that," Coutts said. "I've got a young family now and that's definitely a consideration."

When pressed as to whether that might mean leaving Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing team before defending the trophy won in Valencia, Coutts said: "Honestly, I'm really not sure.

"Right now I'm just doing the best job I can for Oracle and trying to speak to some of the other teams to create some good processes [for the next America's Cup], but I haven't made a decision on my future yet."

The 33rd America's Cup was among the most bitter in history, and Oracle and Alinghi spent more time in court than on the water.

Coutts was the victim of personal attacks, and took offence at cartoons posted on the Alinghi website.

But his friendship with Alinghi skipper-tactician Brad Butterworth has survived.

"We had a beer after the racing. We've got a long friendship and I've got a pretty solid friendship with some of the other people on Alinghi, too," Coutts said. "Since the regatta I've spent a bit of time with some of them. At the end of the day we're all trying our best to win yacht races.

"It was unfortunate we kept battling it out in court, but as far as we were concerned there was no alternative. Frankly, I think everybody is ready to turn the page and move on."

Coutts was last night catching up with son Grayson, who was a star of the reality cooking show, New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker.