Coutts confident of AC success

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Bermudian spirit will overcome negativity to make Bermuda’s hosting of the 35th America’s Cup a success, according to Sir Russell Coutts.

Asked about threats to the America’s Cup by the Bermuda Industrial Union and the possibility of industrial action during the event, Sir Russell said he remained confident that Bermuda would come together to highlight the island on the international stage.

“Bermudians, from what I have seen, are very, very proud to have the America’s Cup and very proud to showcase the island in the best possible way,” Sir Russell said.

“Everything I have seen to date would indicate that Bermudians are going to step up and showcase this country. I have full confidence that this America’s Cup will be the best America’s Cup yet. I don’t say that flippantly. I really do believe that.

“I think that sort of sentiment will win out over any negativity.”

Speaking yesterday, 100 days before the launch of the 35th America’s Cup, Sir Russell said he was thrilled to see the pieces coming together for the international sailing event. “It is really exciting,” he said. “We were just looking at some broadcast figures and compared to previous America’s Cups. We are 240 per cent up on those figures. Everything is tracking in the right direction right now.”

While construction continues at the Event Village in Dockyard, Sir Russell said the work was progressing nicely and he expected the finished product to be one of the most memorable in the event’s history.

“I was at the America’s Cup Event Village last week over in Dockyard and it’s progressing really well. It’s going to be a fantastic event site,” he said. “You can see that it’s now nearing its final stages. You can really now start to visualise what it’s going to be like.

“This is a unique village in a way because the event village that houses all the teams is actually overlooking the racecourse. I think that’s unprecedented. It’s a really great feature.

“The October event highlighted some examples of the challenges. We had an event village in Hamilton, but you couldn’t really see the racing.”

Asked if there was any particular team to keep an eye on in this year’s event, the sailing veteran said that this year’s competition would be hard fought with no single team a clear favourite.

“There has been some informal racing among the teams here, and that racing has been close. All of the teams have a few wins. The teams are going to be very evenly matched.

“Of course, with 100 days to go there’s still a lot of development that will happen with the teams. Some will be launching their AC boats in the next few days. Land Rover has already launched theirs, but the others will be following suit soon.

“That’s the next stage of development. It’s going to be exciting to see how the teams progress over the next few months. Technology will now start to play a greater role because each of the teams can build their own boats.

“It’s pretty hard to predict who is going to win.”

And he said the weather conditions on the course could be a critical factor in determining who takes home the Auld Mug.

“Weather will play a role, and that’s one of the exciting things about this venue,” he said. “There will be variable conditions in terms of weak or strong winds and these conditions will favour different teams.”

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Published Feb 15, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 15, 2017 at 6:02 am)

Coutts confident of AC success

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